Conemaugh Township supervisors approved a $33,650 grant for Whitewater Park enhancements from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. This grant money will be used for various design repairs to Whitewater Park in Tire Hill.
The total cost of the project is an estimated $274,000. The Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative is responsible for facilitating these enhancements.
Mike Quinn, initiative facilitator, said the project will cost the township nothing.
Quinn said $150,000 will come from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio will match that amount. The remainder of the money will be used to install public restrooms.
"The enhancements to the park include moving 3,000 cubic feet of cobble, or stones, to allow the manmade whitewater drops in the creek to function at maximum capacity. We're also going to add public restrooms," Quinn said.
Township Supervisor Steven Buncich said this park is used by various groups from around Somerset County.
"This park worked out much better than we thought," Buncich said. He said the park is used all summer by the community.
"There are community groups that have put together projects for the park. The Eagle Scouts put in a changing room and a memorial," Buncich said. A playground was donated to the park as well.
He said the only cost for the township is maintenance for the park.
Benjamin Faas, office manager at The EADS Group, said these enhancements will improve the design of the creek by making the whitewater drops more effective. The EADS Group is an engineering firm from Somerset.
"It was made for low-water flow. At the deepest point, it is about 10 feet. The waves are tame and I've seen kids playing on boogie boards," Faas said. He said the creek will still be safe for swimming.
Gov. Tom Corbett visited the park during a kayak tour to promote the state's recreational areas in July.
Corbett said he is proud of the effort the community has put into the restoration of Stonycreek River, which was named the 2012 River of the Year by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.