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ON EVE OF SECOND FIELD DAY IN LUTHER R. KELKER TRACT PROMINENT STEELTON MEN PLEAD FOR COMPREHENSIVE PARK SYSTEM WORKING IN THE WILDV^D TRAILS AFTER 3 HOURS WORK IN OUR OWN PARK "WE ALL 3MILE A PRETTY VISTA Municipal League, Civic Club and Prominent Steelton Citizens Unite in Urging Establishment of An Ade quate Playground System and More Parks; Want Comprehensive Plans With Luther R. Kelker Tract as Nucleus; Leading Residents Give Views on Subject FORMULATION of a comprehensive plan for the development of an ade quate system of parks and playgrounds for Steelton, is urged by promi nent men of the borough through Interviews with the Telegraph to-day. Ten years ago the tenth of May, last, Luther R. Kelker, a public-spirited •efOzen. presented ten acres of wooded land to the borough for park purposes. Until six months ago this tract stood idle. Rank weeds grew up, bram ble bushes flourished, stately trees lost their beauty through neglect and the whole place became a rank wilderness. Then after a campaign of publicity, the Municipal League, an organiza tion of prominent, public-spirited men of the borough, urged Council to have plans for the development of the tract drawn. The work was authorized and Warren H. Manning, the famous Boston landscape architect, who de signed Harrisburg's magnificent park system, was selected to do the work. League to the Resoue When the plans were completed it was found there was not sufficient funds in the borough treasury to pay for development of the tract. Again the Municipal League came to the front with the suggestion that a field day be held in the tract and that all the work be done by volunteers. This was done. And In this way the development of Kelker Park was started. Although the volunteers were many and although they toiled hard, one day was far too short a time in which to transform the briar-covered, neg lected tract into a pretty recreation spot. 80 to-morrow, under the auspices of the Municipal League another field day will be held. Again volunteers will grab briar bushes, Irlm trees and otherwise help get the tract in shape for park purposes. What wonderful things were accomplished by the volunteer workers at that time are shown by the photographs snapped for the Telegraph on that •first field day and reproduced on this page. Other Recreational Facilities Needed Development of the Kelker tract alone, however, will not fill all Steel ton's needs for recreation facilities. Adequate playgrounds nearer the heart of the rapidly-growing borough must be established so that the youth of the town may romp in peace and nafety away from, the speeding automobiles that make playing in streets dangerous. Additional park ground should now be obtained to care for the future growth of the borough. At this time ground is cheap and the opportunities are ripe for securing land for park purposes. Later on this ground may not be available except at exorbitant rates. That these opportunities may not be lost and that Steelton may obtain the adequate system of parks and playgrounds which her peculiar civic condi tions make necessary, the Telegraph has obtained the views of a number of prominent men of the borough on this subject. May Develop Park at Trivial Cost—Manning How Kelker Park may be trens <orm»d into one of the prettiest recreation spots in Central Pennsyl vania, at a trivial cost, was outlined by Warren H. Manning, the famous Boston landscape architect, who plan ned the place, in a recent interview lor the Telegraph. "The tract has all the natural requl *ft«s for a beautiful park." enthusias tically declared Mr. Manning. "It is' oxceilently situated on the slopes of | tiiat deep ravine, with plenty of shade | FRIDAY EVENING, HARRISBURG TELEGRAPH" OCTOBER 22, 1915. trees, and a winding stream of run ning water. "A few rows of low-growing ever green trees planted along the western boundary line of the park would add attractiveness. Some more trees should be planted around the music concourse," suggested Mr. Manning. Preserve the Trees He also urged that the beautiful dogwoods and red buds be preserved in their natural state. Kelker Park abounds In these trees which during certain seasons of the year are cov ered with beautiful flowers that make the park a show place of wondrous beauty. I The great numb-r of locust trees [ now growing in the park ehuultl be gradually reduced until they are eliminated, said the landscape artist. Use should be made of the pretty winding stream that flows down through the hollow, he urged, by the construction of a shallow wading pool. "This could be done at a trivial cost," It was pointed out by the expert, "by building a small mud dam across the stream near Mohn street. In this pool, so constructed, the smaller folks who are now forced to play in the bor ough streets while speeding automo biles are whizzing by, could wade and splash and play to their heart's con tent—and in safety. "Older folks could obtain pleasure from the park If a few tables and benches were added for picnic pur poses. Even as It is, however," said Mr. Manning, "the park is suitable for outings because there is plenty of rich green grass." Bandstand in Park Mr. Manning was informed of Coun cil's plan to build a bandstand on the lawn at Front and Angle streets and asked whether, in his estimation, it would not be more advisable to erect it on the publicly-owned park, instead of on this private plot. This suggestion he strongly en dorsed. "The natural ampitheater in which the stand could be built in Kelker Park would cut down the cost of benches" said he. "However," said Mr. Manning, 'lf Council would not care to erect the bandstand in Kelker Park, they might still make arrangements for band con certs there by building a concrete bandstand. "This," he explained, "could be done very cheaply by making a slightly raised concrete base upon the site already selected in the park. Steel or wooden posts could be placed on each corner to support an awning, which would protect the musicians from the elements. This awning could be removed at will. The musi cians could sit on chairs which might be stored beneath the bandstand floor." As a closing suggestion, the park expert said that several lavatories should be placed on the hill at the eastern side of the park where they could not contaminate any streams. "All these changes and improve ments," declared Mr. Manning, "could be made for a comparatively small sum of money." Urges Employment of Park Supervisor Looking toward the further develop ment and maintenance of a compre hensive syslein of parks, playgrounds and recreation places for Steelton, Charles R. Holton. secretary of the Municipal League, In an Interview to day, suggested that all facilities of this character, including the Cottage Hijl athletic field, the Luther R. Kelker Park and such playgrounds as are available, or could be made available, be put in charge of a superintendent who would devote his entire time to the work. Proud of Progress "I feel," said Mr. Holton, "that we have every reason to he proud of I what has been accomplished. The time of most of those who have been I active, however, is very much taken up with business affairs and until someone is put in the position where he can devote more than passing at | tention to the subject, we cannot hope | to make the best possible headway. | "My thought is that such a recrea- I tion supervisor should not only have ; charge of outdoor work but during ' the winter months would plan ankl carry out indoor entertainments, using I the school buildings and similar places ;as social centers. In order to achieve ' results, however, the interest and co | operation of more of our people is es- I sential. We have a good many boos [ ters, but need more. Let everyone i get busy." Develop Parks For Sake of Children—McGinnes In speaking of the value of a com prehensive park system to the chil dren of Steelton. Professor L. E. McGinnes, supei intendent of schools, | dwelt at length on the value of trees. • Said he: "Trees have much to do with the general welfare of all classes of peo ple. They have great value on ac count of their beauty and shade, their mechanical uses, and for their connec tion as forests in influencing the flow of streams. The first work of the early settler was to out down the trees to clear a space for his farm. To him a forest Are waj more of a blessing than a misfortune. Not so to-day. Conditions have changed and the vital importance of tree planting and tree I. reservation is forced upon the people all over the land. "This being true, as a means of pro tection alone, every child should be taught to love trees. Nothing would be better calculated to encourage that sentiment in Steelton than the further development of Kelker park. But there is another higher reason. By engaging the pupilß of our schools in a practical study of the trees by the actual observation and handling of them in their living state would be most wholesome to the children them selves. It would give scope and stimu lus to their observing faculties; it would heighten th£ sentiment in favor of both physical and moral cleanli ness, and it would cause a deeper I appreciation of the beauties and won j ders of nature." Will Donate Land If Tract Is Developed A hint that ground for the site of a formal entrance to Luther R. Kelker park may be donated to the borough, provided development of the tract is continued, wis given this morning in an interview with Hurry C. Wright^ of Brightblll & Wright, and president of the Municipal League. Mr. Wright was asked whether he thought the plans of Warren 11. Man ning, the landscape architect, for the development of Kelker park could be fully carried out. These plans, it must be remembered, include much land in the proposed park that does not now belong to the borough. "I see no reason why Mr. Manning's plans cannot be carried out to the let ter," said the Municipal League presi dent. "While the architect has been rather liberal in the use of land not owned by the borough, I believe that if the authorities can come to a full realiza tion of the real need in Steelton for a comprehensive system of parks and playgrounds and do their share toward obtaining then*, then I believe prop erty owners whose land has been in cluded in Mr. Manning's plans could see their way clear to donate this ground for recreation purposes." According to the plans drawn by Mr. Manning, a large slice of land now owned by Brlghtbill & Wright is in cluded in the proposed park. Site for Entrance This land extends from Sixth and Swatara streets 10 Kelker park. It cuts diagonally through a plot about j 700 feet sQuare and is intended to be used as the site for the formal en trance to the new park. In the plans the proposed read would be about fifty feet wide and would fake an easy grade from Sixth and Swatara streets to the park. It is this tract that it is thought Messrs. Wright and Brlghtbill would donate to the borough if Kelker park development is continued. That his rm would be willing to donate this tract to the borough pro vided the municipal authorities took seme action that showed they intended to carry out Mr. Manning's plans along other lines was Intimated rather strongly by Mr. Wright. Mr. Wright a Leader As president of the Municipal League Mr. Wright has been one of the lead- ! ers In the campaign to obtain a com- ' prehenslve system of parks and play- . grounds for Steelton. Time and again when Interest in the project lagged end folks forgot that there was such a place as Luther R. Kelker park await ing development Mr. Wright would ad vance some scheme that would again bring the matter before the public. When the suggestion that field day exercises be held was made by Warren H. Manning, since the municipal au thorities were unable tc provide the ! funds with which to undertake the development of the tract, Mr. Wright ' was one of the first men to see the value of the plan and urge Its adop tion. From the very outset of the campaign for the first, field day, which ' proved so successful, the Municipal j League president worked unceasingly for its success. Not only did he do 1 much toward perfecting the organ- 1 Izatlon of committees, but he lent val- 1 uable aid by undertaking much of the 1 executive work himself. Results Please Him Mr. Wright expressed himself as surprised and greatly pleased with theji first field day rpsults. He is now of the opinion that the opportunity should not be lost to complete development of the trai't. "The results of the field day exer cises," he declared. "show conclusively i that the people of Steelton want a park. It's now up to council, I believe, to complete the project. Of course, I konw that the borough does not have much money available at this time for park development purposes, but I think it would be a wise plan to look ahead and set aside a certain amount of money for park and playground' purposes each year in the annual budget." Wigfield Urges Early Action on Park Plans The necessity of at once completing the development of Luther R. Kelker park and formulating a comprehen sive plan for park and playground ex tension is pointed out by Fred Wig field, burgess of Steelton. Since his election to the office of chief executive of the borough. Bur gess Wigfiekl has been a staunch ad vocate of the development of Kelker park and has repeatedly called atten tion to Steelton's need for recreation places for the borough's youth. "The Municipal League cannot be commended too strongly," said he, "for its efforts towards obtaining the development of Kelker park. 1 was indeed surprised when I strolled out there a few days after the field day ex ercises. Just as it is, Kelker park is a picturesque spot. Really I can't think of any place hereabouts that is as ad mirably fitted by nature for a recreation place. I sincerely hope that some way can be found to complete the pro ject and shall certainly do everything in my power towards obtaining a com prehensive park and playgrounds sys tem." Civic Club Works For Additional Playgrounds One of the strongest backers of the movement to provide a comprehensive system of playgrounds and parks for Steelton is the Steelton Civic Cllib. For years this organization has urged the development of Kelker Park and the opening of several playgrounds. Until last year, when it was decided to abandon the plan on account of a lack of Interest on the part of the bor ough authorities, the Civic Club con ducted a playground in the West Side. Prior to that another play place had been maintained on Cottage Hill. An instructress was employed by the club at its owr. expense. When the West Side playground was closed the Civic Club did not abandon itc activities in behalf of the children. Instead, an active campaign was com menced with a view of getting the bor ough authorities to provide play grounds. Although as yet there has been no tangible results from this campaign the demand for recreation places for the borough's small folks is increasing and it will not be long un til Council will be heady to make some provision along these lines. Wants More Playgrounds Speaking of this need for play grounds and the development of Kcl- ker Park, recently, Mrs. J. M. Heagy, president of the Civic Club and one of the most ardent supporters of the park and playgrounds movement, said: "Our town is 100 big not to have some provision made for the children. We ought to have several playgrounds where the little ones can get off the street and play in safety. Then, too. on a regular playground we could have an instructor who would watch over the children and direct their play along systematic lines. "You know Steelton is woefully be hind the other places of its size as far as playgrounds go. And we have so many other good points that I think we should at once make some provi sion for playgrounds that would put tis in the rank of other cities and bor oughs. We should keep our children off the streets and we should allow them to play where they will not be menaced by speeding automobiles or trolley cars." Outlines Plans For Comprehensive System Charles S. Davis, chairman of the park committee of the Municipal League, principal of the Steelton High school and one of the most active boosters of the park development, in a statement to the Telegraph outlines his ideas about park plans. He says: "No time should be lost in working: out a satisfactory solution of Steel ton's park problem. Every wooded tract within easy reach of the borough should be acquired with sufficient ad ditional ground added and planted with trees to provide park facilities for the future needs of the town. Kelker Park First "The first work before us Is to beautify and make available the tract wo now have, the Luther R. Kelker park. Considerable work has been done, we hope to see more done on Saturday, but the large things remain to do. These include the new street from Swatara to Spruce and Park ave nue, a proper entrance at the latter place, a bridge across the stream, dann for wading pools, graded driveways, a bandstand, etc. Wliat Should Follow "The second step should he to a«- quire the wooded tract back of th«» present park and leading to the Reset* voir. Some additional land purchase* there and planted with trees wouU provide a beautiful hiU-top park. From the Reservoir a short stretch would bring us down through tha wooded ravine In Pine street. Again from the Reservoir a short stretch would lead to another partly wooded ravine running toward the County Home where conection could be made with the Harrisburg Parkway. "The Pine street ravine could be connected at Harrtsburg street with the wooded part of the Adams street ravine, which should also be develop ed. There are also possibilities of preserving wooded strips along Swat ara street. These are all within easy reach of the heart of the town. Other tracts lying farther east and west should also he acquired, thus workinsr out a comprehensive plan that will do much for the happiness and welfaro of our' people."