Pleasant Valley Park History
Property was purchased:
A recreation committee report in 1996 identified that additional land was necessary to satisfy Murrysville's growing recreational needs. Murrysville purchased the property for Pleasant Valley Park in 1999 at a cost of more than $600,000. Two additional parcels were added later, pushing the cost to more than $700,000.
Before the purchase, an opinion obtained from a civil engineering company indicated the property would be suitable for development as a central recreation area. Subsequently a conceptual design was developed by a professional park planner. The problem was that because of uneven topography, the cost of developing the park was impractical. An estimated $11 million to create a park, with earthwork alone estimated $1.8 million. The cutting and filling required to accommodate the desired number of flat playing fields would not have been environmentally desirable. Gas wells and transmission lines, wetlands and other site constraints increased costs and limited options.
That situation spurred the municipality to look elsewhere. In 2001, Murrysville purchased the Cline farm on Wiestertown Road for $1.35 million. The Municipality was fortunate to be able to acquire the Cline Farm. Considering topography and it's central location, there isn't a better property for Murrysville's Community Park. Phase I of developing the Cline Farm into a Community Park was well under way, with several ball fields expected to be placed in service in 2007.
A name for the property:
At a Murrysville Council meeting on August 7, 2002 the property on Pleasant Valley Road was officially named Pleasant Valley Park. The vote was taken at the same time the name Murrysville Community Park was given to the Cline property on Wiestertown Road.
Property not being used:
In 2003, Murrysville Council considered putting the Pleasant Valley property up for sale. The reasons given for selling the property were that it was not being used for the purpose it was purchased, and the funds from the sale would expedite development of the new Murrysville Community Park. Opposition to selling the property came from some Council members and citizens that wanted to keep the Pleasant Valley property as open space, for passive recreation, and possibly a few practice ball fields. After much consideration, the Council decided not to sell the property.
A Parking Lot was built:
In 2005, Council approved the PV Park Volunteer's plan to construct a parking lot for use by Park visitors. The Volunteers raised funds and provided labor necessary to complete the parking lot in October 2005. The parking lot was built without using any tax money. The parking lot was vital, since without a parking lot, the public couldn't access the Park.
The P.V. Park Volunteers prepared a design for creating an initial network of trails in the Park. The Administration reviewed the design, and Council approved the building of the trails. The first section of the trail, approximately a mile long was cleared, marked and open for public use in October 2006.
In October 2006 Council again discussed selling the property, Considerable public input that was given heavily favored keeping the property as open space. Several members of Council wanted to sell the property. Council voted to place a referendum item concerning the sale of the property on the November 2007 ballot to allow the voters of Murrysville to help decide the issue.
However it was later determined that Council was not able to place a referendum on the ballot. So instead they created an online survey and paper survey which they made available to the citizens of Murrysville. This Park Survey showed Murrysville Council that the citizens of Murrysville were in favor of keeping Pleasant Valley Park and allowing it to be developed for passive recreation, with hiking and biking trails.
During this time of uncertainty about the Park's future, the PV Park Volunteers continued to work on the multi-use trails that they had received approval to create. They cut the grass around the parking lot, trimmed the thorns from along the trails and raised money to install a Park sign.
The Park is adopted:
The 4-H Conservation Club is a Murrysville based 4-H Project club that does a lot of project book work out in Pleasant Valley Park. The kids are required to do community service and decided to adopt Pleasant Valley Park through PA CleanWays. They committed to clean up trash from Pleasant Valley Park at least twice a year as part of that adoption. Their petition to be allowed to adopt the park was approved by Murrysville Council on October 3, 2007.
The following spring, on April 13, 2008, the club did their first trash cleanup and picked up trash from around the parking lot and along a portion of Pleasant Valley Road on either side of the parking lot.
Promoting the Park:
Although use of PV Park had increased significantly during 2007, there were still a lot of Murrysville residents who are not aware of the park or what it has to offer. The PV Park Volunteers took an opportunity to publicize PV Park by having a booth at Murrysville Community Day on Saturday August 25, 2007.
The booth had photos of the park (both printed and in a slide show on a laptop computer), trail maps, and a video taken while walking the trail. The booth was well received, and raised awareness about the park. Thanks to the Belak family, 4-H members, and Scott Hollern who manned the booth in the 90 degree heat.
At community day, we found that 8x10 color photos (printed on 8-1/2x11 paper and laminated) were a very effective way to attract attention. The size allows them to be seen from a good distance, and the laminating shrugs off fingerprints and even a little rain.
More trails were approved:
In February of 2008, the PV Park Volunteers developed a Phase 2 Trail Proposal, which also included suggestions for Trail Names and a Tree Identification Sign Project.
Eighty percent of the trails they had originally received approval for, were already completed by the beginning of 2008, and they anticipated that the remainder would be finished by the end of 2008. So they requested approval for another phase of trails for construction.
The Murrysville Park Foreman requested that names be given to the trails, primarily so that locations can be communicated in the event of an emergency. Therefore, the proposal included the following name suggestions:
- Hank's Trail - see "In Memory of our Volunteers"
- Hemlock Trail
- Hornbeam Trail
- Chestnut Trail
- Red Maple Trail
- White Oak Trail
- Red Oak Trail
The 4-H Conservation Club and the PV Park Volunteers also proposed marking selected trees with Tree Identification Signs. The signs have a tan background with green print and include the common name, scientific name, a sketch of a typical leaf and a brief description of the tree as well as common uses of the wood. They anticipate identifying around 40 different trees, along the various trails.
National Public Lands Day:
The PV Park Volunteers and the 4-H Conservation Club participated for several years in the annual National Public Lands Day. It is always the last Saturday of September. Some years they did a large event - others it was small. More details about the National Public Lands Day and the events through the years will be added to this history page.
Trash Cleanups continue in 2012:
The 4-H Conservation Club was out at Pleasant Valley Park on Saturday, April 14, 2012 for their annual spring trash cleanup.
The club cleans up trash at least twice a year as part of their adoption of the park through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (formerly called PA CleanWays).
This time they picked up three bags of trash and several larger items, as you can see from this picture.
The next official trash cleanup for the year will be around the end of September, in honor of National Public Lands Day.
More history to come:
Working on digging up some other details - will add to this page once find what I am looking for.