Nov 27, 2018

Park revitalization brings a community together

Grandmother in gray striped shirt pushing her blonde toddler grandson on a swing

The shrieks from kids racing down the slide, the laughter of grandparents playing with their grandchildren, the crack of a bat connecting with a fastball as the crowd cheers.

These are the sounds that echo throughout Veterans Memorial Park in Newport, a small town nestled in the rolling hills of Perry County, Pennsylvania.

Just a couple of years ago, this park wasn’t so lively.

“This is an old park. It was established in 1948 as a tribute to our veterans,” said Frank Campbell, president of the Newport Revitalization and Preservation Society. “Over the years it had been neglected and most of the play equipment was not usable.”

Group of children varying in age from 4-8 pose in front of an orange playground on sunny day
Kids enjoying the playground at Newport Park stop for a photo.

At the urging of local residents, NRPS set out to revitalize the park that hosts many baseball and softball games throughout the season.

In partnership with the Newport Borough Council, NRPS completely overhauled the park. The work has been extensive including a more welcoming entrance to the park, upgraded restroom facilities and a snack stand, as well as a one-acre nature preserve.

In 2017, a grant from the PPL Foundation helped fund even more park improvements.

“The grant allowed us to install the batting cages, continue to upgrade the playground area, fix up the fences and install horseshoe pits and volleyball nets,” said Campbell.

As the only park in the community, the park revitalization has helped bring the community together and reconnect residents with nature and outdoor activities.

According to Campbell, the usage of the park has greatly increased with families celebrating birthdays in the pavilion, children playing on the playground and more residents coming out to enjoy the many different activities.

“The best part of the transformation is seeing people using and enjoying the park again,” Campbell said.

PPL Foundation is proud to support this park to provide a place for families to gather and children to play.

“We want to see the communities where we live and work remain vibrant, healthy and strong,” said Tracie Witter, regional affairs director at PPL Electric Utilities. “The PPL Foundation allows us to give back to the community in ways that improve the lives and well-being of residents.”