LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

Residents of Lower Macungie can expect significant improvements to their parks and recreation offerings in years and decades to come and they'll likely have a say in how to pay for it all.

Representatives from KMS Design Group, LCC of Phoenixville, Chester County, hosted a public session Monday night introducing their recommendations from a draft of the Lower Macungie Township Comprehensive Recreation Parks and Open Space Plan.

The draft illustrated planned recreational goodies for township residents including a dog park, a spray park, a skate park, indoor recreation space, lighted athletic fields and an additional swimming pool, according to Adam Supplee, a landscape architect and KMS partner who gave a workshop presentation to 10 local residents.
But just how to pay for such ambitious projects could come down to private donations and public referendums.

The draft report said polls taken by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission in addition to informal polls on the Lower Macungie Township web site stated township residents may support a voter referendum that would increase property taxes to pay for parks and recreation improvements.

The report also stated that the Township Manager's office recommended a 0.33 mill tax increase earlier this year that would generate a little more than $1 million for capital improvements to the township's 26 parks and land acquisition.

Another way to generate funding is through the establishment of a publicly-supported non-profit where 50 percent or more of the money comes from public donors.

Residents also saw plans that would complete the township's greenway project. The greenway projects, announced in 2012, is a network of trails that when completed, will connect the 22 1/2 square-mile township's trails with parks, schools and other municipalities.

The KMS report illustrated the need for additional parks and recreation space, given the growing population of the township.

Lower Macungie's population, according to the 2010 Census, stood at 30,633 with projected increases to 33,749 in 2020 and 37,011 in 2030.

Supplee pointed out that 10.16 percent of Lower Macungie Township is utilized for parks and recreation purposes and that resident participation in local programs soared from about 600 people in 2007 to 1,800 in 2011.

The entire draft of the Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan is available on the township web site. Hard copies are available at the township building and the library.