Park trustees raise $3.5 million for mprovements

The formal campaign ends in December. Improvement work starts this spring.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- When Frank and Julia Buhl gave the community its largest park in 1915, they also left a hefty $500,000 endowment funded by stocks and bonds to pay for park expenses.
That endowment has grown to $7.3 million. But even that large sum, trustees came to realize, won't cover the costs of some major park improvements and leave enough to continue park operations for future generations.
A nearly yearlong capital campaign is winding down and has reached about 85 percent of its goal to pay for some of those improvements. To date, about $3.5 million of the $4.1 million fund-raising goal has been raised.
"We have been very fortunate. The local community and businesses have been very supportive," said Judy Mindicino, campaign administrator.
Mindicino said the campaign hopes to raise the remaining $600,000 by December, when the active solicitation ends. But, Mindicino notes, the campaign likely won't ever end.
She said she hopes the campaign raised awareness in the community that the park needs continued outside financial support to maintain it and its services.
Preserving heritage
Buhl Farm Park was donated to the community in the early 1900s by Frank and Julia Buhl as a free recreation area for residents. It has more than 300 acres with many activities including swimming, golf and tennis.
Park officials plan to start using the capital campaign money in the spring when work is expected to begin on the Lake Julia Bridge and the pool house.
The bridge surface is deteriorating and will need to be resurfaced. The pool house was built before modern sanitation.
A new building will be constructed at the other end of the pool and will include two locker rooms with showers and changing areas. New restrooms will be open year-round.
Other work includes renovations to the Casino building and improvements to the shoreline of Lake Julia. The rest of the money will go to the endowment to ensure the park's future, Mindicino said.
Community members have been supportive of the campaign and the improvements, Mindicino said.
"It's great to know there are efforts being made to preserve the heritage that Frank Buhl left us," said Nick Baron of Sharon. Baron is chairman of Buhl Day, a one-day event in the park not affiliated with the capital campaign.

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