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Shenandoah green space project moves forward

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JOHN E. USALIS/STAFF PHOTO From left, Downtown Shenandoah Inc. Executive Director Mary Luscavage listens to Joseph Anczarski and his son, Joseph “Joey” Anczarski Jr., about the work being done at the green space on South Main Street near the Burger King restaurant. Trees have been planted, a fence was built and grass has been planted. The empty area behind them will be planted with flowers. The Anczarskis donated the use of their portion of the land, the rest being owned by Shenandoah.

SUBMITTED PHOTO A concept image of the green space made by Joey Anczarski Jr. was shown at a meeting last year of Downtown Shenandoah Inc. Some small changes have been made from the concept to the existing project, but most has stayed the same.

SHENANDOAH — Progress continues on the green space being developed at the south side of the borough that will add beauty and a place to relax.

Downtown Shenandoah Inc. is sponsoring the project as part of its revitalization mission in the borough. The green space near the “Welcome to Shenandoah” sign on South Main Street is attracting the attention of passersby as the space is developed.

A new walkway that has been installed from Main Street to the steps that descend to South Market and East Poplar streets is being used by local residents. During a half-hour visit to the site, four people used the stone walkway where before only a dirt path existed.

Mary Luscavage, DSI executive director and Main Street manager, visited the site with Joseph “Joey” Anczarski Jr. and Joseph Anczarski Sr. to talk about the project. The estimated cost is between $3,000 and $4,000, which will be paid from a $100,000 donation made by the late John “Jack” Schwab to DSI’s capital campaign in 2013. When it was announced at that time, the donor was listed as anonymous, and was only identified as someone who was born and raised in Shenandoah, but had left the area.

“When he passed away, we were allowed to say who gave it to us, and it was Jack Schwab,” Luscavage said. “The park will be dedicated in his name.”

The idea of the green space was announced in March 2015 at a DSI meeting that included the showing of concept artwork by Joey Anczarski, who did the design using a photo of the empty lot north of the Burger King restaurant and adding graphics by computer. The graphics includes trees, flowers, a picnic table, a bench, a light post similar to those used along Main Street and a stone walkway.

Since then, the design concept is becoming a three-dimensional reality with a few tweaks here and there, but essentially remaining the same. Much of the property is owned by the borough, with a section owned by Joseph Anczarski Sr., owner of Mark’s Supply Co. in Shenandoah, who has donated its use for the community project. Both Anczarskis have done most of the work on a voluntary basis.

Luscavage said Joey Anczarski has done much of the labor and deciding on what types of plants to be placed at the site.

“He’s more of the ecology person, so he’s been working on planting trees and other plants,” Luscavage said. “The trees are planted to be able to bring nature back, make it more green. We’re going to put in a park bench. It’s going to be a place to just breath and relax.”

Joey Anczarski chose a variety of plants to beautify the area.

“We have redbuds, which is a dogwood, and we’re going to plant several other flowering plants and bushes,” he said. “It is going to be such a pretty area so people can just sit here. It’s also nice to look at as you drive into town. You see the Shenandoah sign, and this area will be beautiful next to it. There is finally a walking path here. However long the steps have been here, and they’ve been here my whole life, you’d have to walk through weeds to get to the steps.”

A wooden fence has been built on three sides of a now-empty area that will have flowering plants. Large stones bordering the front came from the old sidewalks that were replaced during a streetscape project.

“When they put the new sidewalks, we had put them off to the side for us, and we were using them for the landscaping here,” Joey Anczarski said.

“This is a green space that’s going to be very green,” Luscavage said.

“The garden will be a pollinator-friendly garden,” Joey Anczarski said. “It will attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds. If the flowers are here, they’ll come.”

According to the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners Program website, a pollinator garden is attractive to bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds and more, providing a variety of nectar and pollen sources, as well as host plants to support local pollinators throughout the seasons.

“We’re hoping to get a pollinator-friendly certification from Penn State,” Joey Anczarski said. “They have different requirements of flowers for different seasons so they bloom throughout the whole year. It will make this spot even more interesting for people to come and see.”

The green space may become the starting point for others in the borough.

“We were saying that maybe in the future other lots in town can be planted,” Joey Anczarski said.

Luscavage said that since much of the work is completed to date, the green space will be ready for dedication during the Shenandoah sesquicentennial week, which will be Aug. 20 to 27.

Joseph Anczarski Sr. said the plantings will make the area beautiful this year, but it should be even more so when plantings are done in the spring next year.

Joey Anczarski does landscaping as a hobby and he hopes people will enjoy his ideas.

“I hope that everyone is happy with it,” he said. “People who drive by say how nice it is.”

Article source: http://republicanherald.com/news/shenandoah-green-space-project-moves-forward-1.2060501