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Harger secures $100,000 donation for Veterans Park

Bitner Bechdel Post 623 recently committed $100,000 toward the revamping and upgrade at Veterans Park in Lock Haven. From left, are, Bitner Bechdel Post 623 American Legion president Pat Gebsin, Dave Harger of Harger Utility Charities and treasurer Bill Bechdel. PHOTO PROVIDED

LOCK HAVEN — The donations are starting to roll in.

Bitner Bechdel Post 623 American Legion recently donated $100,000 toward the revamping and upgrade at Veterans Park in Lock Haven.

Earlier this week, the Beech Creek American Legion post voted and approved the $100,000 for the extensive improvements planned for the park, which is located along Water Street in Lock Haven. Legion president Pat Gensib and treasurer Bill Bechdel presented the first $20,000 installment at the Monday meeting. The American Legion post said that $20,000 will follow in each of the next four years toward the donation.

“I am a strong guy, but it brought a tear or two to my eye,” said Dave Harger of project developer Harger Utility Charities. He thanked the American Legion for its generous donation.

Late this summer, Harger unveiled plans for the park. Following the Hometown Heroes celebration in August, Harger proudly showed off plans for the park, including an artist’s rendering of what’s to come. At that point, $70,000 was committed. The original $70,000 came from the following groups — Terrapin (PA) has given $25,000, Jim and Carol Hanna have jumped on board with $25,000, a total of $15,000 came from an anonymous donor and $5,000 has come from “Mark the Shark” charity motorcycle rides.

However, the $70,000 has grown by leaps and bounds following the American Legion post contribution.

“We have secured an engineer for the project,” Harger said, “and will have actual site plans maybe in a month or so.”

Next up? Meeting with a foundry and an artist in Gettysburg on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

“Things are moving along,” Harger said.

Harger has help from the committee, of course. Thus far, the committee looks like this: Harger (construction/donor), Steve Getz (artist and concept designer), Jim Russo (construction, donor), Jim Hanna (electrical/donor), Jim Lovette (donor rep), Jen Hagaman (Veteran’s Affairs rep), Joby Topper (historian) and Troy Conzelman (donor rep).

Harger has sights set on a groundbreaking in the spring of 2022.

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