Willow Grove residents scrambling to save only walkable park in neighborhood

WILLOW GROVE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It would appear that North Willow Grove Park is living on borrowed time, and some local residents are beside themselves. A land swap deal may see the neighborhood park given to Jefferson Health Abington.

Residents said they're scrambling to find a way to save the only walkable park in the neighborhood after they were notified about a week ago that the majority of it could soon be gone.

Many residents said they moved into the neighborhood so that their children could play in the park.

"To be expecting our second, and realize this may not be here, is really upsetting," said resident, Nicole Ciarolo.

The park has been dwindling over the years, as surrounding businesses, including Jefferson Health Abington, have moved in around it. What's left of the park may significantly decrease, as residents fear they could lose the baseball field, and they will be left with a new playground built where the parking lot is located.

This is part of an agreement of a greater exchange of properties Upper Moreland Township has with the hospital.

"I think the township often times has to make decisions for a township wide benefit," said township manager, Matthew Candland,

"We should sacrifice our park for the benefit of the township, yeah it was a slap in the face," said resident, Krystal Paskus.

Candland met with residents at the park and said he understands residents found out that the majority of their park could soon be gone, without much notice.

"Shame on Upper Moreland, I really have to say I'm very disappointed in Upper Moreland Township," said resident, Beth Hoagland.

Abington-Jefferson Health sent this statement to Action News:

"Abington -Jefferson Health has an agreement under review with Upper Moreland Township to exchange properties-land adjacent to its Willow Grove campus and a comparable property in the township. As part of that agreement, Abington has agreed to provide township residents with continued access to the ballpark and playground until such time as development is determined. When the property is developed, the site will be subdivided to retain the playground for community use, and financial support will be provided for replacing the playground equipment. Any development of the property will require appropriate land development approvals."

On Monday night, a vote will be made during a special board of commissioners meeting.
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