Pottstown Parks Director Eileen Schlegel Remembered

Eileen Schlegel, the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Director since 2008, passed away suddenly last Saturday. Those wishing to pay respects and honor her life may do so at a viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at Warker-Troutman Funeral Home at  726 E. High St. The funeral will be at the funeral home on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.

According to Evan Brandt’s Mercury article, Eileen grew up on Queen Street and graduated from St. Pius X High School. She started working for the Parks Department in the early 1990s. I will always remember Eileen for being the go-to person for so many community activities and events. She oversaw a department that was responsible for all of the Borough’s parks, the spray park, Trilogy BMX park, Riverfront Park,  the Bark Park, and year-round recreational programming for all ages. She and her staff could be counted on to provide the chairs, sound equipment, power, games, hot dogs and hot chocolate at parades, 4th of July festivities, the Polar Bear Plunge, the Funky Santa 5K, the Volleyball Rumble and so much more.  Eileen Schlegel had a hand in all this, in the life of the community, and in the seasonal rituals that become traditions and make a town a home. She will be remembered for many years to come

Memorial contributions in her honor may be made to Helping Hands Inc., 415 Hoffmansville Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505. For more than 30 years Helping Hands has been serving individuals with developmental delays and mental and physical challenges.

Volunteers wanted on Saturday for Eagle Scout project in Coventry Woods; community bonfire to follow


Courtesy of Mauree Kai

This Saturday, October 20th from 10am-4 pm, Eagle Scout candidate Austin Tanay is running another work weekend at Coventry Woods in North Coventry Township. He is a Life Scout in Troop 95 and working on attaining the highest rank in scouting – that of Eagle. His project involves creating a rustic tent camping site at Coventry Woods, North Coventry Township, for group camping. A couple years ago I visited and wrote about Coventry Woods for a parks and recreation series for the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. This is an absolutely lovely part of our region!

The project is quite large in scope, including demolition of 5 old buildings in a specific area of Coventry Woods (1954 St. Peter’s Road, Pottstown), clearing out  a lot of overgrown brush, cutting down close to three dozen dead trees, opening up an eight foot wide trail into the campsite, removing large rocks out of the walking path, building a campfire ring, building benches to go around the campfire ring, and erecting a flag pole. The site will be available for non-profit groups like scouts and churches in the area.

Austin is recycling any materials that are recyclable, cutting up the wood from the structures to be used in a big bonfire at Coventry Woods this weekend, following the work day at around 4 pm. He is also cutting up the downed trees for firewood to be sold, salvaging reusable materials from the cabins, and properly disposing of all trash from the demolition that cannot be reused in any way.

Courtesy of Mauree Kai

He has already held three work weekends and accomplished a lot thanks to the support of volunteers, but he still has more work to be done. The work this weekend will include demolishing the fifth and last building, breaking down all the material for proper disposal or recycling, leveling off the site, cutting up and transporting the wood from the structure to the location of the bonfire. His goal is to get the last building completely demolished and disposed of so he can build the fire ring and benches Saturday afternoon.

The cost of the firewood is $75.00 per load/cord. The logs are cut into 3-4 foot lengths. They just need to be split. The proceeds will help fund the Eagle project. If you are interested in purchasing wood,  call Mauree Kai @ 610-970-0951 prior to coming for pick up.

The workday will start at 10:00 AM on Saturday. All are invited to participate and they can come later since the project will be going on into the afternoon, wrapping up around three o’clock.

*Volunteers need to bring their own tools. For this Saturday, crow bars, hammers, sledge hammers are needed. Work gloves are a must. A few wheelbarrows would come in handy also if people have a way to transport them.*

There is plenty of parking available. Anyone coming to help out can park at the lodge and look for the sign at the entrance of the trail head into the project (1954 St. Peter’s Road, Pottstown). This is what the entrance looks like.

Photo by Sue Repko

Pet Fair and MOSAIC Open Garden this Saturday!

There are two awesome outdoor events this weekend in Pottstown!

#1 The Pottstown Pet Fair 2012  in Smith Family Plaza (right in front of Borough Hall) is welcoming all kinds of pet-related businesses, services, and organizations for a pet- and family-friendly fair. It takes place from 9 am to 3 pm.


Evan Brandt’s blog post, “Something to Bark About”, gives all the details, including the fact that there will be ministers on hand from 10 am to 2 pm to bless all animals, although I’m not sure if that includes the 2-legged variety. There will also be a butterfly garden and food vendors.

To get to Smith Family Plaza, one of Pottstown’s premier public park spaces, plug 100 E. High Street into your GPS.

#2 MOSAIC Community Land Trust is holding an Open Garden from 12-2 pm at Pottstown’s first community garden at 423 Chestnut Street between Franklin & Washington Streets!

If you’d like to see the many plots that have produced hundreds of pounds of veggies this season, learn how to make salsa, and pick some fresh veggies to take home – depending on what’s available – plan to stop by the garden between 12-2 pm this Saturday, Sept. 22nd. See details here.

I am out of town (writing), so I will miss this event, but this was my labor of love this past winter/spring/summer, and I can’t wait to get back and experiment with growing a few crops into early winter.

And if you like what you see and hear and taste, you can get on a list for a plot for your family for next year!

Schuylkill River Heritage Area plans bike & history tours

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is offering a Rails and River Towns Ride on the Schuylkill River Trail on Saturday, September 22nd. Mark your calendars and register online or get your registration form in now if you want to take part.

Support the Schuylkill River Heritage Area with a round-trip bike ride along the Schuylkill River Trail from Pottstown to Birdsboro that includes a presentation about the railroad upon whose right-of-way the trail is built, with optional visits to three villages along the route.

This is the first ride in the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour Series, a new multi-year series being organized by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. Each event will feature a unique combination of biking and history. This year cyclists will learn about the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad. For more info. from the Heritage Area website, click here.

There are three ride options, so there’s something for every rider:

• 18-mile, round-trip ride from the Schuylkill River Heritage Area headquarters in Pottstown to Birdsboro, where participants will take a 45-minute guided walking tour of historic Birdsboro.
• 20-mile Pottstown to Birdsboro ride, with a loop trail in Union Township and no walking tour.
• 9-mile round-trip ride with guided tour of Historic Morlatton Village’s four 18th century buildings.


140 College Drive

DATE: September 22, 2012;check-in begins at 7:30am.Welcome and Pennsylvania Railroad presentation begin at 8:30, rides start at 9:00. Rain date Sunday September 23.

CHECK-IN LOCATION: 140 College Drive, Pottstown, PA 19464

COST: $25 per person (ages 16 and up), $20 members, $15 children 11-15, children 10 & under free. Refreshments included! Register by Sept. 5 to get free T-shirt!

4th annual Coventry Woods Festival to be held this Sunday, May 20

The Fourth annual Coventry Woods Festival will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 1 to 5 pm at the Fernbrook Entrance to the Coventry Woods, intersection of St. Peters Road and Fernbrook Lane in North Coventry. The festivities are sponsored by the Township Parks and Recreation Commission and will be held rain or shine. 

This annual event celebrates healthy lands and healthy communities, and will feature music, food, goat races, community displays, and a full slate of other activities.

Bring family and friends to experience the former Camp Fernbrook which, through the hard work of North Coventry’s Open Space Committee, has added such a wonderful gateway to the over 600 acres of the Coventry Preserve. The event is truly a family affair with food, music, games, and goat races for the children. Please join in for a ceremony at 2:30 pm.



Squeeze in a visit to a park before the sun goes down!

Monacacy Hill Rec Area

It is an absolutely gorgeous day! If you’re reading this, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to enjoy one of the area’s many fabulous parks, playgrounds and trails before the next hurricane or snowstorm hits!

Please visit our Parks & Rec page to see where all the parks are in Pottstown and the surrounding area.

Last fall, Rosemary Keane and I visited all of them and blogged about them for the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. We found so many gems, and trust that you and your family have, too. These pages have gotten lots of hits over the past year, and we encourage you to keep checking them out and discovering the great outdoor resources that our section of southeastern Pennsylvania has to offer.

Yoga in Manatawny Park on Sept. 17th – that’s this Saturday!

On Saturday, September 17, from 9:00am – 10:30am, High Street Yoga, in partnership with The Hill School, invites you to a free yoga session at Manatawny Park.

All levels are welcome, even those who have never tried yoga before. This yoga session will give participants a chance to gather together and share the experience of balance, exercise and quiet restfulness. “Yoga in the Park,” is an opportunity to connect with others and with the land under our feet.

See the “Yoga in the Park” Facebook page here.  Count me in!

U.S. Army Reserve’s 78th Army Band to play at Sanatoga Park this Wednesday night

This Wednesday, July 13th, at 7pm, the 78th Army Band out of Fort Dix, New Jersey will make an appearance at the band shell at Sanatoga Park. They are appearing as part of the Lower Pottsgrove’s summer concert series, sponsored by Exelon Nuclear. Check out Joe Zlomek’s story in the Sanatoga Post.

Joe also wrote via email: “To my knowledge, this is the first time in many years a military band unit has played an outdoor concert anywhere near Pottstown, and the first time in several years a unit has played in the greater Pottstown area at all.” They will be playing in much larger cities and towns this week, including Baltimore and Philadelphia, so this is a fantastic opportunity, so close to home, to hear our service men and women perform and to acknowledge their musical talent and commitment.

We featured Sanatoga Park in our Parks & Rec Series last fall for the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation; you can see photos here. The band shell and lawn overlooking the water provide a scenic setting for the community to come together and share a musical experience.  So, gather up the family, throw a blanket or some lawn chairs into the trunk, and head over to Sanatoga Park this Wednesday night!



Scenes from Kenilworth Park

Positively!Pottstown thanks Jim Lovely of Kenilworth for sending in these photos of wildlife in Kenilworth Park. We featured Kenilworth Park in last fall’s Parks & Recreation series for the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Rosemary Keane and I are steadily recording the blog series for WPAZ 1370 AM so they can re-broadcast the information whenever they get a chance; keep an ear open for “Paths, Parks & Playgrounds: Your Guide to Outdoor Recreation.”  We appreciate Jim’s contribution to keeping the area’s incredible outdoor resources in the spotlight!


Trilogy Park in Pottstown hosts national BMX event Memorial Day weekend

 Did you know that Pottstown is home to Trilogy Park, a BMX, inline, and skateboard park that hosts a national event each Memorial Day weekend?

Trilogy Park is in Memorial Park at the site of the former Gruber Pool. This year the Memorial Classic is expected to bring between 3,000-5,000 visitors, depending on weather, from as far away as Florida and the Midwest. Each year this event has grown because of the tireless efforts of Pottstown residents Cathy and Glen Knapper and other parent volunteers, and it has gained a reputation as one of the premier events on the National Bicycle League (NBL) circuit.

This is an awesome opportunity for Pottstown to showcase its incredible Parks and Recreation Department and the equally amazing Memorial Park.

I had seen the BMX track last year when I was investigating and writing the parks blog series for the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Even afterwards, though, I didn’t quite know what it was all about, never having gone to a race.

BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross Racing. It involves biking over a dirt course with jumps and turns. Riders wear a helmet, long pants, long-sleeved shirt and closed-toe shoes. Bikes are inspected before each race for safety. Competitors practice the course as much as they can before the race so they’re familiar with the starting gate, obstacles and the turns. Each track posts moto-sheets on a moto-board; this is where riders can find out their number and gate lane for a race. BMX is open to all ages, from toddlers to the over-55 crowd.

The schedule for the Memorial Classic can be found here.

In general, bike inspections and practices by age group begin at 1:30 pm on Friday. A pre-race for local riders who will not be competing in the national races will take place at 6:30 pm.

On Saturday, inspections and practices begin at 6:30 am; opening ceremonies take place at 10:45 and races begin at 11 am and will run until about 4 pm.

On Sunday, there will be NO bike inspections or registrations. There are a few practices scheduled by age group, beginning at 7:30 am. Then racing gets underway at 8:30 am and will run until about 1:30 pm. 

A really special part of this year’s event will be the arrival of the Warren family from Florida in Pottstown on Thursday, May 26th. Neva“The BMX Diva” and her parents, Tammy and Jay, are biking to all the National BMX events this year and blogging about it at www.ridethenation.org. They started their journey on April 20th inTampa and will keep going until they get to the Grand National Championship inLouisville, Kentucky on Labor Day weekend. We’ll be featuring them in an upcoming post and talking about BMX and the Memorial Classic for the rest of the week, so stay tuned! “Like” Trilogy Park on Facebookto keep up with all the latest news, or call the TRACK HOTLINE at 484.363.0592.

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