Wetlands continues to gain support, Evangelical Community Hospital first to name trail

Jan. 14—SUNBURY — Evangelical Community Hospital will be able to name one of the trails at the Sunbury Wetlands Ecological Education Park (SWEEP) thanks to the efforts of former Mayor Kurt Karlovich.

Karlovich continues his quest to raise funds for the project and recently told City Council the hospital donated $10,000 in order to name one of the trails.

"I am so happy to announce this," Karlovich told council members. "We are continuing to raise the funds we need."

Karlovich also announced the project received donations from the Sunbury Police Association in the amount of $500 and $200 from the Americus Hose Company.

Karlovich said the group of volunteers is done working for the winter months and will be picking back up next spring in their continued efforts to clean the area and prepare it for opening.

In September, city council members accepted a $129,600 grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program toward the program and the group has raised and received nearly $260,000.

The SWEEP project site sits between Line and Race streets and North 6th and North 8th streets.

Construction will include forming a trail along the wooded area for people to walk, sit on benches and read various educational signage that will be placed throughout the property.

The "wetland portion" is 0.87 acres within the 4.45-acre area and consists of six different city-owned parcels, Karlovich said.

Karlovich said he is thrilled to see so much progress in a short period of time.

"I am super excited to see the amount of community involvement and progress with the city," he said. "This project continues to progress and I am thrilled we are all working together."

Karlovich said phase two of construction will begin in early 2024.

There will be a pavilion in the middle of the property, an observation viewing area off of 8th Street and two remaining wellness trails.

"It's an exciting time and we are looking forward to our community program for the youth," he said. "I just want to thank Geisinger and Evangelical Community Hospital for donating to this project. We will still be looking for more donations to continue to fund for further improvements to the park."

Councilman Jim Eister said he was also pleased with Karlovich and the efforts he has put forward with the project.

"He (Karlovich) continues to do a wonderful job with this," Eister said. "We are all excited to get the park open and have another place in the city where people can go visit."