If all goes as planned, Shickshinny officials could be breaking ground for a new $350,000 riverfront park in December.
Bids for improvements to Crary Park, which include a boat launch, a campsite, an access road, a lighted parking lot and a playground, are due to council by 10 a.m. Wednesday and council is expected to award a contract for the project at the 5 p.m. council meeting that night.
Groundbreaking won't happen until one of the bids is accepted, Mayor Beverly Moore said in a recent interview. We're really hoping that once a bid is accepted, we can shoot for a groundbreaking around Dec. 4. … We're hoping to have completion by the end of June.
Plans for the park began more then five years ago. In 2009, the borough was awarded grants from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the state Fish and Boat Commission to cover the project cost.
The project was held up because the state could not fulfill the total grant amount awarded. So the borough applied for a federal grant, which was funneled through the Fish & Boat Commission, although at 25 percent less than requested, Moore said.
Council received bids for the project earlier this year, but decided to advertise for new bids because those proposals received in the spring exceeded borough estimates.
With campsites to accommodate about 20 tents, a dock and boat launch, Moore said she is hopeful that the park will become a destination for canoeists, kayakers and anglers traveling on the Susquehanna River.
And with a new grocery store coming to town – Thomas' Markets – and a CVS and various other stores and restaurants, Moore said she's sure that Shickshinny will be able to meet the needs of campers and river travelers who would like to spend the night there or just stop for a break in their travels.
Like Wilkes-Barre and its River Common, Shickshinny is part of the North Branch Susquehanna Water Trail, which the federal government recently designated a few years ago as a National Recreational Trail. The Susquehanna Warrior Trail passes through the park as well, and officials expect improvements at the park will draw even more people to use the trail.
Officials have said the boat ramp also will provide much-needed river access for river rescue teams.
Contractors' bids for the Crary Park project will be opened Wednesday at Shickshinny Borough Building and council is expected to award a contract at the 5 p.m. council meeting.