To the Shippensburg Area School Board:
The purpose of this letter is to introduce the Shippensburg Area School Board (SASD) to the mission of Shippensburg Community Parks and Recreation Authority (SCPRA), to clarify SCPRA's relationship with our partners, and to address issues related to Veteran's Stadium.
SCPRA was created for the purpose of providing positive, meaningful, and quality recreation facilities and programs that will encourage and promote a healthy and growing community.
SCPRA was organized in June 2015. Currently, Shippensburg Borough and Southampton Township, Franklin County are our two partners. This means that SCPRA manages all of the parks and other recreational resources of both municipalities. The Board of SCPRA consists of five members. Two members were appointed by the Borough and two members by the Township. The fifth member was selected by the four appointed members.
SCPRA has entered into lease agreements with the partners for a duration of 25 years. This includes any real property dedicated to recreational purposes, including buildings, sports fields, trails, pavilions, and playgrounds. If SCPRA decides to make changes/improvements to any leased real property, there are procedures to be followed. A significant alteration or improvement costing $15,000 or more or a demolition of any structure with an appraised value of $5,000 or more requires SCPRA to obtain approval from the partner.
The partners have agreed to a five year funding commitment. Additional short-term funding is provided through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
SCPRA has obtained a Circuit Rider grant from DCNR. This grant includes significant guidance from representatives of DCNR. During the orientation provided to SCPRA Board members from DCNR representatives, the benefits of a Park and Recreation Board were outlined. Some of the benefits are:
provides for citizen representation and ongoing public input and support
is composed of conscientious volunteers who want to make a difference
relieves elected officials of day-to-day operations and concerns
encourages proactivity and forces forward thinking
Another point that was stressed by DCNR was to develop working relationships with community organizations and school districts. This letter is SCPRA's attempt to initiate that relationship.
SCPRA's mission is to serve the community. It is SCPRA's mission to provide recreational activities to the community in accordance with the needs of the community. We are in the process of writing a comprehensive plan which will provide us with a guideline to follow to accomplish that mission. Presently, SCPRA maintains Veteran's Stadium with that purpose in mind. This is done at break even costs. SCPRA is completely neutral concerning the final decision about whether to build a new stadium or to continue using Veteran's Stadium.
If the decision is made to continue to use Veteran's Stadium indefinitely, SCPRA is very interested in developing a working relationship with SASD and the various Booster Clubs to develop a plan for needed capital improvements to the stadium, including a strategy for fund raising to make such improvements. SCPRA has access to grants to improve the existing facilities.
As Veteran's Stadium is presently maintained almost exclusively for the use of home athletic events, should SASD choose to build a new stadium, SCPRA will then reevaluate whether maintaining a stadium at Memorial Park is in the best interest of the community. SCPRA will then consider other uses for the Stadium. SCPRA will maintain the stadium for safety but we will have no choice but to pursue a different path. This will determine the direction of our comprehensive plan.
In summary, SCPRA is very much interested in forming a working relationship with SASD. This relationship would allow us to share facilities, ideas, and work together to benefit the entire community. Representatives of SCPRA would be happy to attend a SASD Board meeting to answer any questions that SASD Board members may have. The SCPRA Board also invites SASD Board members to attend any SCPRA meeting. SCPRA meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Southampton Township Building on Orrstown Road at 6 pm. We hope to hear from you soon.
Shippensburg Community Parks and Recreation Authority
Gerilee Davis, Chairperson
Ed Barrett, Vice President
Maria Misner, Secretary
Derek Bostick, Treasurer
Nathan Goates, Right to Know Officer