Growing Wayne Township recreation facilities beckon folks to great outdoors
'The place to be'
McELHATTAN — On these cold winter days and nights, it’s a modern-day ice skating rink with lights, music, a concession stand and even used ice skates and walkers for beginner ice skaters.
When the weather warms up this spring, the 50- by 100-foot concreted multi-purpose court will become a haven for basketball, pickleball and shuffleboard enthusiasts.
This court adjacent to the Wayne Township Little League Field and the township’s visitor’s center is the latest addition to the many outdoor recreation facilities offered by the township to not only its residents, but those from throughout the county and farther.
Wayne Township has become the place to go for outdoor recreation for young and old, thanks to the township supervisors and a very active Wayne Township Recreation Committee that works year-round to provide quality facilities for people to enjoy the outdoors while also keeping fit and healthy.
And the best part is all the facilities are free.
The new ice skating rink opened with a gala party earlier this month that saw about 75 adults and children turn out on a nice cold Saturday afternoon and enjoy ice skating, fun and fellowship of others and hot chocolate and donuts, compliments of the township.
“It’s like a dream come true,” said Supervisor Dave Calhoun of the multi-purpose court, which was completed in November, just in time for the cold winter weather.
The township had attempted to make its own skating rink behind the fire hall for years. It never worked out.
But the supervisors and recreation committee didn’t give up.
So, two years ago the committee — Doris Fritz, Jerry Powers and Jane White — with help from supervisors Jim Maguire, Brad Rote and Calhoun — decided to bite the bullet and build the $76,000 multi-purpose court, with its own draining system. Charles Construction was hired as the contractor, Karl Matz was the engineer and Greg Smith was the project manager.
And as has been the case with the multitude of other outdoor recreation facilities in the township, this project was funded with donations from local business and industry, residents and fundraisers conducted by the recreation committee and other groups throughout the year.
“It’s just amazing how our locals have supported these projects,” Calhoun said.
“And it wouldn’t have gotten done without this recreation committee,” he added, noting how hard the small group works year-round to give folks a great place to walk, run, ride bikes, play baseball, tennis and sand volleyball, have picnics and parties and this spring add basketball, pickle ball and shuffleboard to the mix.
And there’s some more really good news on the recreation front in the township.
“The fish will be back in the fishing pond in March,” Calhoun said.
The pond, which is handicapped accessible, was shut down last year for repairs, but it’s ready to reopen, much to the delight of young and old who cast their rods over the railing into the pond and pull out a nice catch.
The fishing pond is located near the Nature Park, which has been a hit since it opened a couple years ago, as the recreation committee decorates the trails for every holiday delighting children of all ages. It’s not unusual to see the parking area filled to capacity on any weekend day. Others use the trail to get their daily exercise, mornings and evenings.
There’s also a lighted walking path through the recreation area that will tie into the Bald Eagle Rails to Trails and offer bikers and hikers another spectacular view of the area.
“The only thing we don’t have yet is a soccer field,” Calhoun said, with a smile.
For those who aren’t into sports or exercise, the recreation area is just an attractive open space for folks to sit on the benches and enjoy each others’ company and Mother Nature, read a book, meet neighbors and make new friends in the great outdoors… all year round.
For now, the ice skating rink is getting a lot of attention.
“People are coming… older couples in the day time. It’s good to see them holding hands and skating,” Calhoun said.
And for the young people, it’s a great way to get them out of the house during these times when kids are so glued to their cell phones and other technology, he added.
“Some just come out to watch. They sit on the benches. We have the concession stand with hot chocolate. The visitors center is open for people to come in and warm up. There’s restrooms and a Job Johnny. There are used skates in totes for anyone to use and walkers for those who have never skated.
“As long as the skaters come, we’ll be here for them,” Calhoun said of the rink.
And as soon at the weather warms the ice will melt and all of the other activities will begin.
Wayne Township has truly become the place to be for outdoor recreation all year long.