At its voting meeting next week, the Ellwood City Borough Council is poised to approve an application process for a state grant for upgrades to Ewing and Stiefel Park. The grants could total more than $100,000.
The Ellwood City Parks and Recreation Committee, chaired by council member David DeCaria, has been working on a parks master plan, and with this grant, the borough will have money to implement some of the ideas.
The grant would come from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Ellwood City qualifies because of its participation in Lawrence County’s recreation plan.
The state provides communities with a 50-50 match in funding. The borough’s contribution can be in cash or by material provided and work performed. According to council President Connie MacDonald, the borough has in excess of $100,000 to match the state but could possibly allocate more funds.
According to Doniele Russell, joint recreational planner for Beaver and Lawrence Counties, Ellwood City is on good terms with the state for funding because the borough has properly used previous grants.
Russell said that previously, grants tended to be capped around $250,000 but Governor Wolf’s administration has been willing to fund any project “as long as it’s a good project.” This recently included a $750,000 grant for a swimming pool in Zelienople.
In addition, the grant can be applied over at three-year period so that the borough’s Park and Recreation funds don’t take a sudden heavy hit. Russell said the most pressing issue is drainage at Ewing Park, which will cost $71,000. During crowded events, such as the Ellwood City Festival, the Ewing Park can quickly become a quagmire.
MacDonald said he wanted to give more attention to Stiefel. “We’ve been ignoring Steifel,” MacDonald said. “We need to do something. It’s a disgrace. We have the funds. Let’s use them.”
DeCaria said that there are several plans for Steifel, starting with drainage issues, but they are unfortunately pricey.
Borough Manager Bob Villella recommended that council make a decision at next week’s voting meeting so the grant application can be completed by the April 13 deadline.