Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Harry Collins Courts

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend the dedication of the new tennis courts and basketball courts at Heritage Park in McDonald. The new courts, with their blue and green surfaces, have been built with design features to aid the physical needs of tennis and basketball players.

At our borough council meeting Monday evening, council voted unanimously to name the courts after Harry Collins, a life-long resident of Fourth Street and someone I've known for many years as a fellow parishioner at St. Alphonsus Church. Harry, a World War II veteran, was McDonald's postmaster for 28 years and helped to establish Heritage Park. But, that wasn't the only good reason to name the courts after Harry -- he once promoted tennis programs in the borough and is every bit the fitness enthusiast. Up until a few years ago, he was a common sight biking on the local roads.

In addition to naming the courts after him, McDonald Mayor Jim Frazier and Borough Council also named Tuesday, August 8, as "Harry Collins Day" in the borough. (Jim and Harry are pictured at right. Photos are courtesy of McDonald Councilwoman Patty Phillips.)

The dedication of the courts was the culmination of three years of fundraising to make the project a reality. The $93,000-plus-project was a joint effort of the McDonald Area Redevelopment Association (MARA), the McDonald Parks & Recreation Board and McDonald Borough.

The project was initiated by MARA Secretary and Parks and Recreation Board Member Alice Thomassy, who wrote the successful grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) that provided $40,000 for the project. Construction is also being funded by a $25,000 allocation from the borough; $25,000 donated by MARA; and grants totaling $3,000 from the U.S. Tennis Association. Municipal contributions to the construction project also came in the form of work by the borough and Robinson Township public works crews. Alex Paris Contracting Co. and several local residents also donated many hours of volunteer labor to the project.

The funds provided by MARA were donated by local residents and other supporters through various fundraisers. It is not too late to donate in support of the construction of the new courts! For details on how to contribute, call Alice or Tim Thomassy at (724) 926-4617.

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