Calling it a "keystone of the community," members of a consulting firm hired by South Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., presented their findings and sought public input on the Covered Bridge Park master plan during Monday night's parks and recreation board meeting.

A central component of the discussion centered around the future of 36.6 acres of developmental land within the 113 acre park, a detailed site analysis, the prospects of connecting the park to the proposed Jordan Creek Greenway and establishing a timeline for the design process.

Yost, Strodoski, Mears Landscape Architects first presented their initial findings from interviews they conducted with various stakeholders Monday night, and the consensus of the responders indicated things are already pretty good at the park, with only "tweaks" needed to improve it.

Those "tweaks" included more parking, restrooms and concessions, which are all curtailed somewhat by a 100-year flood plain in the park, along with increased fishing opportunities.

YSM then turned to the members of the audience for their input, and received it from some township residents, including Commissioner David Bond who brought forth suggestions from various constituents. Designing volleyball courts, better access to the pavilion, bike trails, a walking or running path on a loop and additional athletic fields were all mentioned by Bond.

Another issue that was mentioned were additional restroom facilities. Currently YSM officials noted that two restroom facilities are located just outside the flood plain.

Board member Mark Ackerman commented that he would like to see a dog park where man's best friends can roam free between River Road and the creek.

YSM officials said the next step will be to conclude public input and then complete the design process. The consulting firm was awarded the nearly $56,000 contract by the board of commissioners in June. The master site plan is expected to be completed by December.