Warminster Takes First Steps Toward New WREC Facility

Township supervisors are looking at possible state funding to help construct a new building at Warminster Community Park.

As Warminster's Parks & Recreation Director Karen Whitney prepares for the closing of the WREC Center, the township supervisors have started rolling on the search for funding to construct a replacement facility at Warminster Community Park.

One possible source of money may come from Pennsylvania's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), a grant program that provides funds to regional projects that demonstrate potential for economic growth and the creation of jobs.

According to Valerie Piper, a project manager for Milligan & Company, the state has set aside $1.7 million for Warminster, and she can help the township jump through the hoops necessary to acquire the money.

"The township has to submit a business plan to the RACP committee that describes the project and how it will create and retain jobs," Piper told the Warminster Board of Supervisors last week.

If that plan is accepted, the township must fill out a more detailed application for the funds. If that application is approved, Warminster will then have 365 days to start construction. The supervisors gave Piper and her company the greenlight to get the process started with a 4-0 vote (Supervisor Tom Panzer was not in attendance).

While it may not get everything the Parks & Recreation department needs, the money will go a long way to help replace the WREC Center, Whitney said. With the loss of not only the former Hart Elementary, but also the closing and sale of Leary and Longstreth, one of the department's top priorities is a new gymnasium.

Otherwise, Whitney and township manager Rich Manfredi continue looking for replacement venues for the classes and meetings that occur nightly at the WREC. Some office and classroom space will be created next month by the arrival of four modular buildings totaling 2,000 sq.-ft., donated by Marriott Resorts in Absecon, N.J.

Contractors have been invited to bid on the pick-up, delivery and assembly of the modular units on the runway at Warminster Community Park. If and when a new WREC Center is constructed, those units will remain on the grounds and serve the department, Whitney said.

Jack Ellis September 27, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Finally, Pete, we agree -- at least in part. To be offering Zumba, karate, dance, etc. classes at the WREC is in fact competition with tax-paying (not tax-absorbing) private entities in our Township. I am curious as to the numbers of WARMINSTER RESIDENTS who actually use the WREC and P&R programs, and have been asking for them to no avail. My curiosity grows when I read in the P&R program book on the registration page that my enrollment may make or break whether a class is held or not. Sounds like many classes or programs are cancelled due to lack of interest? Many businesses do marketing research to ascertain the interest in their services -- has P&R done the same? Another thing to note: Honest Mom (above) says schools do not allow you to play basketball free. Neither does the WREC! It costs to rent the WREC. It costs to join the leagues or go to classes. Pete, I have another question for you. How does Warminster's P&R department stack up against nearby township's? I remember a year or two ago that WArrington canceled its Easter egg roll because of budget ... do you think they'd spring for a multi-million dollar gym? And if not, where do THEIR kids play? Yep, likely in Warminster.
Pete Krenshaw September 27, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I don't have that answer exactly Jack but would be interested to know as well. I do believe Northampton Township passed a referendum to build out their portion of the old airbase on Hatboro Road.
HONEST MOM September 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Mr. Ellis I live near Delmont too and that area in front of the Senior Center floods every time it rains heavily! Yes the kids play there sometimes UNTIL they are told once again that they can't play there at all! Mr. Ellis I grew up in the city too and we all know there were WREC centers. There were playgrounds for us to go to where we could get involved in a good pick up game or just hang out safely. Our neighborhood here doesn't have any place like that at all! Nowadays parents want their kids to stay involved...yes we do. A child who is well rounded becomes a better adult and God knows we need them. Parents I know do not want to send their kids out so they don't have to do their jobs....we do our own jobs raising our kids. We have tons of parents who volunteer for many programs so they will be available to the community. Mr. Ellis keep in mind...those kids...the ones we shouldn't do anything else for in Warminster...they are our future! They are the ones who will take of services for us as we age. They are the ones who will develop our futures and run our townships. They need to be well rounded. It's not about just playing...it's about the lessons they learn along the way.
HONEST MOM September 28, 2012 at 11:58 AM
It does cost to rent the WREC if you are using it for a PRIVATE function. The WREC offered free play in the gym several times a week and I believe Warminster Basketball uses the gym there free of charge. The league is offered at a reasonable price to all residents.
john fitzgerald December 20, 2012 at 08:40 PM
How much is it costing Warminster for Valerie Piper and Milligan & Company? Is it a sure thing that there will be any return on that investment, just a good marketing strategy on their part? Do they guarantee that Warminster will even see a dime of that $1.7 million from the state?


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