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‘Hunting and playing sports in the same area do not mix’

The Salisbury Township Recreation Advisory Committee met March 20 at the Salisbury Township municipal building to discuss the many events planned for township residents to enjoy as well as the progress being made to improve recreation areas throughout the township.

Members of the advisory committee in attendance included Mark Wilson, Patrick Jacoby and township Recreation Director Genny Baillie.

Advisers report that due to the warmer weather the parks have been in use earlier than in previous years and many park improvements have been completed.

Among the projects, Baillie reported the pickleball courts at Green Acres have been completed and are already being used by residents. The new courts should help alleviate the heavy use of the courts at Lindberg Park allowing more residents to enjoy playing this popular sport.

The tennis courts have been temporarily lined at Laubach Park due to the future improvements set to take place and the tennis courts at Devonshire have also been lined. New benches have been added as well.

In other park news, a 25-foot tree has been planted at Franko Park which will host a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season. Providing electricity to the tree is also in the works and dates for this community event will be announced as it gets closer to the holidays.

The committee has several community events in the offing.

Lindberg Park will be the site of the township sponsored egg hunt which will be held 10 a.m. April 1.

The band AM Radio will return to Franko Park Sept. 9 showcasing hits from the 60s and 70s. The concert will be held 4-6:30 p.m. A food truck will be present at the event and the committee is still searching for a dessert truck as well.

Details for a night out at the IronPigs are also being finalized.

Summer will soon be upon us and Salisbury Township is searching for applicants to supervise the 2023 Summer Playground Program which will take place weekdays 9 a.m. to noon mid-June to late July. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and have their own transportation. Clearances are also required. Applications are available at www.salisbury-townshippa.org or the Salisbury township municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave, Allentown, 18013. The deadline to apply is March 31.

During courtesy of the floor, Salisbury resident Jennifer Conrad, director of Salisbury Township Youth Association soccer program, brought two issues to the committee’s attention.

The first issue she raised was the lack of space for soccer games and practices in the township and the need to compete for space with other team sports. Unlike the SYA football and baseball programs which have seen numbers decrease substantially over the past few years, SYA soccer is seeing a surge.

There are currently 180 participants in the program this year and 160 of those are Salisbury residents.

Residents on the western side of the township have no soccer fields on which to practice which is difficult for parents who need to shuttle children to the eastern side of the township in order to participate.

In light of this, many western Salisbury residents opt to join soccer programs in Macungie or Parkland because it is closer. There is only one soccer field at Franko Park which they have found ways to divide into multiple fields but parking is limited. Dodson is also utilized but it is an even smaller area and parking is even more limited due to the use of the hiking and biking trails.

The committee suggested utilizing the fields at Salisbury Middle School and Western if they can work around the district’s sports schedule. They also suggested trying to use some of the nearby county fields.

The second issue Conrad brought to the committee’s attention is the presence of hunters in the areas where practices and games are held. Hunters have been seen walking across the playing field at Franko Park to access hunting blinds they have set up in close proximity to children actively playing in the field.

Arrows have been found on the trails, playing field and stuck in a tree near the batting cages. An arrow was also found at Dodson park where hunting is prohibited.

The issue with hunting at Franko Park is not new to the recreation committee as they heard the same concerns from resident Karin Holliday at the last meeting. Holliday suggested adding maps to hunting signs to keep hunters from hunting near the recreational field area of the park.

Baillie and the committee expressed their concern over this issue and agreed hunting and playing sports in the same area do not mix. She went on to say when they issue permits to SYA to play at the fields it is understood it is safe to play there but with the hunting in these areas that may not be the case.

They advised Conrad, as they had previously advised Holliday, to attend the commissioners meeting to report these instances. It may be necessary to get the Pennsylvania Game Commission involved to place limits on hunting areas at the park.

The next regular Recreation Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled 7:30 p.m. May 15 at the municipal building

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO A 25-foot tree has been planted at Franko Park which will host a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the holiday season.