Improvements to a popular park in Dickson City — including a brand-new, handicapped-accessible playground — are underway.
Planned improvements to Crystal Park, located on the corner of Shady Lane and Doloff Drive, will give the park a fresh look, according to borough manager Cesare Forconi.
To fund the improvements, Dickson City will use two grants they received from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Community Conservation Partnership Program. One grant, obtained in September of 2022, is for $249,700 and another, awarded in January, is for $310,000. With a grand total of $559,700, the borough now has enough funds to begin working on the project.
Although the park receives minor yearly repairs, the park had not been renovated in over 35 years, according to Dickson City Zoning Officer Jim Damski.
The old playground will be replaced with a new playground with a “natural theme representing local flora and fauna, such as bumble bees,” according to Jayson M. Wood of Woodland Design Associates Inc., the consultant and designer.
The new playground will have rubber surfacing required by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission Playground Safety Guidelines as well as features making the play area Americans with Disabilities Act-inclusive. These features include paved path access to the playground, an ADA-accessible seesaw the whole family can use together and a swing set with an ADA-accessible, roller-coaster style seat.
“The new surfaces will be less maintenance and be usable if it rains,” said Forconi. The current playground uses a fine mulch that needs to be replaced and weeded yearly.
The landscape of the park will be transformed with the help of the Boys Scouts working with the borough’s Department of Public Works. They’ll plant new trees to create a shaded area in the corner of the park and add a rain garden to handle storm water.
The Mid Valley Little League will see lots of improvements to the existing baseball field, including a new scoreboard, new dugouts and a new press box. Once the field is resurfaced with new turf, the 18 area Little League teams will be ready to play in even rainy weather conditions, according to Bianka Donovan, president of The Mid Valley Little League.
“We host the All Stars every year throughout the entire valley,” said Donovan. “It will look nice and welcoming to the community.”
One of the park’s drawbacks over the years is a lack of parking, Forconi said. Part of the grant money will be used to add an ADA-accessible parking lot on Shady Lane. Crews will also add paved, 10-foot-wide, multi-use paths to navigate through and around the park.
Other improvements to the park include repaving the basketball court that currently shows cracks and adding an adjustable, duel-sport court to play tennis and pickleball.
Pickleball is a sport combining elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. The game can be played as one on one or two on two. Equipment to play includes a paddle and plastic ball with holes.
“More people are capable of playing it than tennis,” said Forconi. “It is more adaptable and the ball moves slower.”
Upgrades to the park will also include new picnic table area near the playground and a composting restroom.
The upgrade project at Crystal Park is expected to be complete by the end of 2024. The borough is currently looking into bids for contractors to work on the project.
Projects for Dickson City’s other parks — Elm Street Park on Elm and Dewey Street, VFW Park on Jermyn and Walker Street and City Line Park on Johnson Avenue — are in the works, too. Future improvements to these parks include upgraded playgrounds, a dog park, walking trails, a boat launch and ADA-accessible elements in every park.
“We have a master plan to upgrade all our parks in Dickson City,” said Forconi.