South Coventry Township has started what seems to be a fitting tradition: naming its parks and open space after individuals who cared for the land or were instrumental in the Township acquiring the land for generations to come. Every town needs these kinds of citizens.
Connie Batdorf Park is home to the Norchester Red Knights football program in the fall and the Coventry Youth Lacrosse Association in the spring. In addition to the large playing field, there is an excellent playground with new equipment and a pavilion with tables available for fans or for rent for special occasions.
The beautiful red sign that lets visitors know they’ve arrived at the park also lets them learn a bit about the park’s namesake, Conrad C. Batdorf. He was born in 1925 and was a “Roadmaster” for the Township from 1974-2003, the year he passed away. The sign says, “Connie was a gentle, hardworking man, deserving of all the good life offered him!” I get a little choked up whenever I read that. We can’t ask for much more than that – to be remembered well.
When I called the Township to get the scoop on the park, I asked Millie Donnell, a Supervisor and Secretary/Treasureer, about the term “roadmaster” because you don’t hear it very often. It refers to what most of us might call someone in “public works.” Apparently, Mr. Batdorf was in charge of South Coventry’s roads and parkland for all those years.
It was a good thing I had Ms. Donnell on the line or I might not have found out that they also have a 250+ acre tract called Woody’s Woods, which has hiking trails, unique flora and fauna, and is open for bow-hunting season. I’m not sure why Woody’s Woods wasn’t listed in the Penn State study because the Township has owned it for several decades. This wilderness area is named after a former Supervisor, W. Richard Whitlock, Jr., whose nickname was “Woody.” He was instrumental in starting the land acquisition process back in the 1970s.
According to Ms. Donnell, there are steep entrances to Woody’s Woods off of Coventryville Road and Harmonyville Road. The latter entrance is overgrown now, and the Township is going through a master site plan process now to reconfigure the entrance to make it more accessible. Because I didn’t know about this parcel, I didn’t visit it when I was in South Coventry last week, but I will get to it at the end of this week when I’m back in the area. I’ll be sure to let you know what I find and will upload some photos then.
This article was amended on October 29, 2010 with photos of Woody’s Woods and the following note:
Mrs. Peg Batdorf, wife of Conrad Batdorf, commented on October 28, 2010:
I was very excited to see the article written about the C.B.Park.
When the park was pre-dedicated at it’s incept, my husband was living at the time and was very humbled, and surprised to be honored in this way. As time passed and his illness progressed, we visited the Park several times. He would be very proud of the additions and improvements made that have made this Park a great asset to our Community. Thank You so much, Ms. Repko, for writing this article.
Thank you very much, Mrs. Batdorf, for sharing your story!
CONNIE BATDORF PARK
Location: 2350 Pottstown Pike, Pottstown, PA 19465 (across from the Plaid Pig and the Shoppes at Pughtown) Pottstown Pike is also known as Route 100.
Size: 2 acres
Suitability: All ages.
Facilities: Football/lacrosse field, pavilion, playground, port-o-potties, ample parking. The pavilion is available for rent; see contact details below.
Activities and tips: Children will enjoy the whirling contraption and seesaw.
Hours: Dawn to dusk.
Location: Main entrance: 3131 Coventryville Rd., Pottstown, PA 19465. There is another access point at 1560 Harmonyville Road.
Size: 250+ acres
Suitability: Hikers capable of making steep climb into wilderness area.
Facilities: Woods, trails, unique flora & fauna. Limited parking at both access points.
Activities and tips: Hunting is allowed. Hikers are not allowed in the park Monday-Saturday during bow-hunting season. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays, so hikers may enter the park then. Hunters & hikers alike should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Hours: Dawn to dusk.
For pavilion rentals at Batdorf Park, contact:
South Coventry Township
1371 New Philadelphia Road
Pottstown, PA 19465
(610) 469-0520 FAX
Hours: Mon.-Thurs.: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday by appointment.