Drive down Buchert Road in Lower Pottsgrove Township on a weekday morning and you might not even notice Gerald G. Richards Park, but come Saturday and Sunday mornings, the scene is very different. The Park, which spans over 30 acres, is home to the Pottsgrove Soccer Club and bustles with activity all weekend. Pop-up chairs line the fields; kids line up at the snack bar after their games; and you might have to circle the parking lot a few times before you find a spot.
The park itself is simple, with a nice walking path and stops for strength training. If you find yourself at soccer practice or a game at Gerald Richards, you could certainly get your walking or running time in by using the path that winds around the field. While the park isn’t full of interaction with nature, there are enough trees that you can find some shade when you need to take a break from sitting in the sun on the sidelines of one of the fields.
With six playing fields, several practice fields and even a baseball field tucked away in the back, the park accommodates young soccer players, ranging from the under-4 set just learning the game to the more competitive travel teams that include high school kids. Pottsgrove Soccer Club serves Upper, Lower and West Pottsgrove, as well as the borough of Pottstown, with over 600 kids playing this fall. Their mission is to “promote, foster and perpetuate non-profit, public, developmental soccer on the youth level and to provide competition for its teams to play the game in accordance with the high standards of good sportsmanship and fair play.”
One of the best features of the fields at Gerald Richards is their accessibility. With a paved walkway winding around all the fields, anyone can come and watch the games; something we haven’t found with other parks where our kids have played sports. The landscape is also relatively flat, which is unusual in this area and makes for greater accessibility if you’ve got family members with limited mobility or just want to keep your younger ones in the stroller to watch games.
Another spot you might drive right past is Schuylkill River Park. Marked only by a Township sign, this unpaved, natural landscape runs 12 acres along the Schuylkill River, the train tracks and close to the Limerick Generating Station. If you are feeling adventurous and are interested in a hike that will take you down along the riverbank, put on your hiking boots, grab some friends and check out this park.
You can find this undeveloped hiking area by turning onto Porter Road, which intersects High Street just east of Pottstown Hospital. As you drive along Porter Road you will pass the medical and office buildings and the road changes to Sanatoga Station Road as it rounds a corner. The park entrance is right at that turn, with just enough room to park a few cars. You will see a white concrete barrier that is probably there to keep out cars; hikers will have to climb over it.
GERALD G. RICHARDS PARK
Location: 2130 Buchert Road, Sanatoga, PA 19464, across from the Lower Pottsgrove Township Administration Building and close the the intersection with Pleasantview Rd.
Size: Gerald Richards is a large park, covering just over 30 acres.
Suitability: Soccer-oriented facility for any age.
Facilities: Soccer fields, walking path
Activities and Tips: Don’t discount this park because it’s soccer-oriented. Its convenient location makes it a great spot for a lunchtime walk or a quick game of soccer with the kids when the fields aren’t in use.
Hours: Dawn until dusk
SCHUYLKILL RIVER PARK
Location: 2116 Sanatoga Station Road, Sanatoga, PA 19464
Size: 12.3 acres
Suitability: Adults who like to hike might enjoy exploring this natural area with friends.
Facilities: Unpaved trails
Activities and tips: Get a group together and explore the northern bank of the Schuylkill River as it winds its way through Lower Pottsgrove.
Lower Pottsgrove Township
2199 Buchert Road
Pottstown, PA 19464
Ph: (610) 323-0436
Fax: (610) 323-3824
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F
PHOTO GALLERY (Photos by Rosemary Keane)