Planned improvements to the Montoursville Memorial Gardens | News, Sports, Jobs

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Montoursville Memorial Gardens, located on Broad Street, remember the 21 Borough Natives who died on Flight 800 in 1996.

After 22 years, the Montoursville Memorial Gardens at Flight 800 Memorial Park are starting to show their age.

Built in 1999 to honor the residents of Montoursville who lost their lives in the tragedy of Flight 800 on July 17, 1996, the site on Broad Street in the borough was a visual reminder of that loss. Members of the French high school club and their advisers were on their way to France when the plane crashed after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing everyone on board.

The memorial gardens were built with funds donated for the project and a three-member lifelong care committee was established to oversee the maintenance of the site. The property is jointly owned by the borough and the Montoursville region school district, each of which has a representative on the committee. The third member, currently Bob Weaver, is from the community.

“The site needs major improvements. The gangway rose considerably; it’s almost a risk of tripping “, Weaver recently told the borough council. “One of the most important things to do is walk. “

In a report on the proposed works, it was noted that the lawns are in need of restoration. Ettinger’s Landscaping volunteered to weed and feed the lawn at no cost. Hemlock trees along the eastern and western property lines are sick and dying. Many have already been deleted.

“Sir. Ettinger told us that 25 years ago they were a great choice – not today”, said the weaver.

Holly bushes along the northern and southern borders have died this year and have also been removed.

Scott Konkle, school district representative on the committee, and Mayor Steve Bagwell, borough representative, were also present at the council meeting.

Konkle presented the board with a perpetual care committee report detailing a plan for the proposed renovations, which had been compiled with a representative from Ettinger. Any improvement must be approved by the borough and the district.

They include: removing the brick sidewalk and building a new sidewalk of concrete pavers, which will be moved inward about 20 feet to eliminate the possibility of tree roots causing it to lift up. ‘to come up; removal of hemlocks to replace them with emerald green arbovitae; place a ground cover in river gravel; and removing mulch around maple trees to replace it with pachysandra ground cover.

“The trees will remain, the monument will remain, the promenade will be changed and the trees along the exterior will be changed”, said the weaver.

The committee’s goal is to raise a total of $ 121,900 for the project. An anonymous donor has committed $ 25,000 to the project with the understanding that all funds must be in place. While they haven’t worked out the details, the committee is planning some sort of fundraising campaign for the rest of the funds.

The campaign is expected to run over the next six months, with construction starting in 2022. Ettinger’s will be the contractor for the project.

While not all of the funds can be raised, Weaver explained that there is another plan to complete the most urgent renovations initially.

“If we cannot raise all the funds, we will have a phased project”, he said.

The report indicated that after the walk, the arbovitae screen would be next in the phased project and finally the vegetation cover of the maple trees.

“Walking is the highest priority at the moment, because it is a kind of danger as it exists today” said the weaver.

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