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Board discusses Kohler Ridge Park project


Special to The Press

South Whitehall Township Manager Tom Petrucci introduced a discussion titled “America 250 PA Legacy Project” during the Aug. 2 commissioners’ meeting.

He asked to submit a preliminary scoping application to the America 250PA Committee in the amount of $3,543,287.22 for funding of the Kohler Ridge Project.

“The Pennsylvania Commission for the U.S. semiquincentennial (July 4, 2026) was established by the legislature and governor in 2018 to plan, encourage and coordinate commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States,” Petrucci explained.

“The committee is seeking legacy projects to be funded as part of this overall project that use history to encourage and inspire future leaders and celebrate the contribution of Pennsylvanians to the commonwealth history, as well as the nation’s history and those that leave a lasting impact on the next generation.”

Petrucci said after careful vetting and consideration of a multitude of project concepts, township staff expect the Kohler Ridge Park project may fit under the umbrella of the America 250 PA program.

The latest estimate for cost of Kohler Ridge Park, on a conceptual basis, is $3,543,008.

He urged commissioners to seek funding through the America 250 PA program.

“One thing the staff discussed was weaving historical elements into the aesthetic design language of the park, including signage to provide that direct nexus to the goals of the America 250 PA program ...”

There is also the possibility of calling it a heritage or cultural park.

Commissioner Monica Hodges asked about two of the historic homes on the property.

“Is there any way that home or any part of that could be saved and repurposed or are both in such disrepair?” Hodges asked.

Petrucci said they are in pretty bad shape but added everything is salvageable to some extent.

Resident Chris Peischl commented.

“Listening to your talk, and I don’t know what your answer is going to be but talking about the 250th of the history of South Whitehall, there are projects that you can start. We have all the historic homes along the Greenway,” Peischl said.

He also mentioned there was a WWI training camp in the Jordan Valley that can be viewed from Kohler Ridge Park.

He said soldiers marched out there from Camp Crane, located at the Allentown Fairgrounds.

The proposal was approved unanimously by the board.