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EDITORIAL: Spring Garden Township parks and recreation programs are worth preserving

York Dispatch
  • Spring Garden Township may not continue its parks and recreation programs.
  • A number of area residents approached the board to ask that the programs be continued.
  • The township manager said budgetary constraints could mean the programs won't continue after 2018.

The Honey Bees have made their voices heard.

Let’s hope that some folks in power were listening.

Members of the Honey Bees recently approached Spring Garden Township commissioners to encourage them to keep the basketball program going. (Submitted)

The members of the youth girls’ basketball team recently approached the Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners to encourage the board to keep the township’s basketball program going.

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that will happen.

The future of the township’s longstanding parks and recreation programs are very much in doubt. In fact, there’s no guarantee they’ll be around after 2018, township manager Greg Maust said.

“The future of recreation here at Spring Garden is an ongoing point of consideration for this board,” he said.

Fate of Spring Garden Twp. recreation programs in doubt

We get it. The township budget is stretched exceptionally tight, and every dollar must be squeezed, but shutting down the parks and recreation programs seems short-sighted.

Lots of supporters: Those programs, over the years, have provided real bang for the buck. Just ask Indian Rock Elementary School fourth-grader Olivia Diehl, who played her first year for the Honey Bees in 2017-2018.

She said if she tried out for the competing Suburban York Basketball Club, “I most likely wouldn’t have made it. Then what would I do? Quit basketball, even though I have a hidden talent?”

Diehl lauded the commissioners for giving her “great coaches” who taught her the proper way to play the game.

She was not the only one heaping praise on the rec programs.

Eli Gilbert, now a coach, praised the directors and coaches who, during his youth, visited him at his house each season to ask his mother if he was going to sign up again.

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He explained that, “as a child of a single mother,” the fact that he was sought after to make sure he was enrolled left a big impact on him.

Garth Ericson, a former Manchester Township rec director and basketball coach, told the commissioners that his autistic daughter, who is in kindergarten, relishes the program.

A program such as Spring Garden’s, which isn’t focused on the “best of the best,” gives her exposure to a sport she loves.

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"She doesn’t want to rebound; she doesn’t even really want to shoot," Ericson said. "She just wants to run back and forth. And without a program like this, I don’t really know how I’d be able to nurture that interest for her.”

Testimonials such as those should leave a lasting impact on the commissioners about the importance of the parks and recreation programs.

Not just on commissioners: Still, it shouldn’t be just on the commissioners to save recreation in Spring Garden Township. Residents and businesses need to step up, too.

Residents must be willing to devote their time and effort to the programs as coaches and volunteers, and also help with fundraising endeavors. Businesses must step up to the plate as sponsors.

Working together, the commissioners, the residents and businesses should be able to find a way to save recreation in Spring Garden Township.

After all, the Honey Bees are counting on them.