Sunday, February 17, 2013

Riverside Exercise and Art

An artist's mock-up of how the area in question might be used. This was taken from Carroll's Powerpoint presentation.
Things seem to be moving along in the effort to extend the Schuylkill River Trail out of Pottstown's Riverfront Park and through the downtown.

This is the site design for the exercise and art park Carroll wants to create.
A crucial step in this effort was outlined during the Feb. 6 council meeting by Tom Carroll who, in addition to being the new chairman of the Pottstown Borough Authority, is also  heading up this effort as well.

Carroll outlined a proposal to use the triangle of property between College Drive and South Street and turn it into an art and exercise park, call the Pottstown Art and Fitness Trail.

In addition to featuring a system of simple exercise equipment by Energi, the park would also feature platform on which sculptures would be placed.

The estimated cost is about $150,000, none of which would come out of borough coffers, but rather would be funded by grants and donations, he said.

However, the borough would have to cover the site under its liability insurance, Carroll said.

This is how the intersection of South Street and College Drive
looked immediately after the road was closed off. The area Carroll
wants to develop is on the right.
"All the little pocket parks we have in Pottstown are dedicated to small children and families," Carroll told council.

The property is part of a growing "central hub" that includes the trail, the Schuylkill River Heritage Area Welcome Center and the west campus of Montgomery County Community College.

With more adults using these facilities, and not just families, Carroll said the idea is that the park, which also includes picnic tables, would be a place for college students to meet and study in the warmer months, for trail users to take a rest amid some art, for artists to give their work exposure, and for Pottstown residents to have a place to get fit that does not cost any money.

"It all kind of fits together," Carroll said.

Some improvements have already been made.
The only skepticism was offered by Councilman Travis Gery, who said "the concept is cool, but I have seen about 20 of these things around the country and, with the exception of the one outside the Pentagon, I've never seen anyone use these things."

Carroll replied that "our hope is that with a combination of a garden, sculpture and exercise equipment, it will work."

"This project would be phased, so that as we get funding, we can move forward with one phase," Carroll said.

All he asked of council was for council to officially adopt the Heritage Action Plan, which was released in July, 2011 and to approve the concept on the property, which belongs to PECO.

At the Feb. 11 council meeting, both those requests were supported by a 5-0 vote of council.

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