Fox Township Community Park
By Kathy Dowie
Fox Township Treasurer
The Fox Township Community Park has often been referred to as the crown jewel of Elk County. Located in the small town of Kersey, this park offers a large variety of recreational opportunities and is certainly the pride of Fox Township, not only for the many amenities that it offers, but for the beautiful story of how it came to be.
The parcel of land where the park is located was acquired with support from Ken and Sue Huey, along with funds Fox Township received from the Stackpole-Hall Foundation. Mrs. Huey was involved in a tragic automobile accident in 1997 in which her six-year-old daughter, Angela, lost her life. Since Angela loved the game of soccer, the Huey family approached the township to financially aid in the acquisition of the parkland that would eventually be the site of Fox Township’s first soccer field, Angela Huey Memorial Field.
In 2000, Fox Township was awarded a $100,000 Keystone Fund grant for the development of the facility. The grant was earmarked for the purchase of the beautiful playground that is visited by thousands of children each year. But there was much work to do before the playground could be installed–the 69-acre parcel was nothing more than an abandoned farm field and woodlands when construction began. A plan had been designed by the engineering firm of Herbert, Rowland and Grubic prior to applying for the grant, with all intensions of hiring someone for construction. However, things took a bit of a different turn.
Knowing that the Highway Occupancy Permit would soon expire, a group of township employees, led by the board of supervisors, decided to volunteer their time to install the access road. It would only take a weekend, they said. But when the road was finished, the group decided that they could easily install Angela’s soccer field as well. So the volunteers continued to volunteer–every night and every weekend for an entire summer–to continue construction of the proposed park. They were soon joined by other volunteers and the project continued to grow into one of the greatest volunteer stories the county had ever seen. The group worked for two years, and when they were finished the initial footprint of the park was complete: two soccer fields, two baseball fields, a walking track, the access road, utilities, and parking lots. Even the playground was installed by volunteers. A sign recognizing the more than 100 volunteers that helped with the construction of the park still stands proudly at the entrance.
I was one of those volunteers. I was there that very first day, and every day thereafter. The camaraderie, the pride, and the joy of building this park is something I will never forget. Most people who visit this park see it for the beauty that it is today. When I look at it, I still see the old farm field that it was and remember the great times I had working with the great people who were dedicated to completing this project. At the time, we had no idea how much it would impact our small community.
Today, the park is constantly bustling with activity. The local Little League utilizes the regulation baseball and softball fields. The recreational soccer league and a local high school soccer team utilize the two soccer fields; Angela Huey Memorial Field now has lights for night games. The restroom facilities and concession stand were recently remodeled to better support the sometimes very large crowds at the park. A permanent stage has been host to Concerts in the Park, the annual community Independence Day celebration, and the Elk County Relay for Life, which is held at the park each year. A large pavilion is home to many private and school functions and is available for rent on a first-come basis. The facility also hosts a quarter-mile paved walking track, a basketball court, skatepark, and sand volleyball court. Initiated in the hearts of the Huey family, fueled by the enthusiasm and commitment of the community, and supported by the Keystone Fund and many sponsors, Fox Township Park has grown into a facility of unexpected proportion for our small community. It is truly a family park with something for everyone to do, and all are invited to visit us in Kersey.