Former railyard to become community park


SUSQUEHANNA DEPOT, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – After more than a decade of planning, work on a much anticipated project in Susquehanna County is finally underway.

For the last few weeks, contractors have been clearing trees and brush from the site of an old rail yard behind the Susquehanna borough office building.

State officials are now working with local leaders to turn a rundown property into a 13-acre community park.

“I can’t explain it to you. I am amazed and I’m happy beyond belief! It’s something that the community needs,” councilman Roy Williams said.

Councilman Roy Williams and borough secretary/treasurer Margaret Biegert have been spearheading the project since at least 2005.

Besides green space, they want to put a pavilion, pedestrian trails, a volleyball court and even a year-round ice skating rink on the site.

“I think it’s very positive and progressive,” Joseph White of Oakland Township said.

In the community, there is a lot of support for the project.

Dennis Ballard has two grandkids.

With the land located right along the Susquehanna River, he would often take them there anyway.

“We walk down to the river. I let them throw stones and stuff, sticks in the river. They’ve been wanting to walk down there but they’re working on it so we can’t go down there now!” Ballard said.

The old Erie rail yard was abandoned in the mid-1970s.

While there is soil contamination at the site, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is working with the borough to make sure everything is safe.

The total cost of doing all that work is expected to be roughly $2 million.

The work with the DEP could be finished in the fall and then it would be up to the borough to make all the necessary park improvements. They are hoping to have the entire project finished by the middle of 2019.

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