The long-proposed Krupp Park in Quakertown moved closer to reality when borough council approved its final design plans Wednesday night.
The park will be created along Mill Street at N. 4th Street, next to the community’s library. Hundreds of people go to that now-vacant property to watch the borough’s July 4th fireworks every year.
"This is a big step forward,” said council president James Roberts just before the vote.
“It’s a long time coming,” added council member Edward Scholl.
The park, which covers about 12 acres, will feature trees, meadows, walking paths, a pond with a fountain, an amphitheater stage and outdoor “open lawn” seating area, a gazebo, a concession stand with adjoining restrooms and a parking lot.
Although the entire property is owned by Quakertown, more than half the park is actually in neighboring Richland Township.
Quakertown’s council also authorized borough manager Scott McElree to agree to conditions set by Richland Township as part of that township’s July 9 preliminary/final approval of the park’s land development plan .
“We are nearing not only the start of construction but also beginning a very aggressive fund-raising campaign,” McElree advised council before Wednesday’s meeting.
That construction may take place in phases, depending on the success of fund raising, explained Roberts.
"McElree hopes work will begin next year and that the park can be completed in a couple of years. He added: “It’s been talked about for six years.”
Council member Douglas Propst said almost $100,000 has been spent designing the park, but no work has been done on the actual site yet. “Everything’s been approved,” said Propst. “This was the final step. We had to get Richland’s Township’s approval.”
The park’s estimated cost is $1.5 million. McElree said the borough already has about $400,000 in committed funds for the project. It hopes to land a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant for another $425,000, but that might not happen until next year. “We’re actively pursuing fund raising for the remainder.”
Propst said that fund raising will include seeking sponsors to help finance development of the park, including those interested in purchasing naming rights.
Probst said the final name for the park is not yet determined. He said some residents prefer it remain Krupp Park, in tribute to the Krupp Foundry that once stood on the site and the many Quakertown residents it employed. “It’s a piece of Quakertown history.”
But he explained the name could change if someone contributes enough money to rename the entire park. He indicated a donor also could name the amphitheater.
“You could have the WFMZ amphitheater in Krupp Park.” He said residents also will be able to donate park benches, which will bear plaques naming the donors.
Also during Wednesday’s council meeting, the seven male council members unanimously approved appointing 17-year-old Katie Heft as a junior council member.
The Quakertown High School senior will serve as a non-voting member of council through next June. She is the third teen to serve since Quakertown adopted the Junior Council Person program in 2007. She said being on council is her senior project.
Her parents, Teresa and Jason Heft, and younger sister Leah were in the audience for her first meeting.
Katie told council she not sure where she will attend college, but wants to go to University of Miami. She intends to major in early childhood education and minor in dance.
McElree said Katie previously was employed as an assistant head counselor in the borough’s Kids Program, its summer camp. He told council she is extremely focused, very pleasant and described as a great young lady.
Council approved street closings for the annual Halloween Parade, which will be 2-6 p.m. Oct. 21, with an Oct. 28 rain date. The popular annual parade is sponsored by Quakertown Lions Club.
Council also authorized purchasing an 18-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree with LED lights for downtown from Rileighs Decorations of Allentown for $5,695. Because the tree will be obtained in November but the bill isn’t due until January, Scholl joked: “We get one free Christmas out of it.”