At their August 2 meeting, Cranberry’s Board of Supervisors officially endorsed an intensive community planning effort which had involved thousands of residents and hundreds of hours of work by Township staff, led by a passionate advisory group of volunteers. That effort reconfirmed a decision of our community leaders, made way back in 1976 when Cranberry Community Park was created, that recreation and open space make a major contribution to our quality of life and that they would be the foundation of our community’s continued health.
Today, Cranberry Township is recognized as one of the nation’s most desirable communities to live, work and play. Our new Recreation and Open Space Plan
confirms the central role of recreation in creating that desirability. But its importance goes beyond the fun factor. The Plan presents data from businesses, both small and large, showing that people’s perceptions of quality of life have an important influence on entrepreneurs’ decisions about choosing a business location. And for residents, when their homes are situated near high-quality public recreational areas, a high quality of life translates into enhanced property values and shorter resale times.
There are other economic benefits which derive from these community assets as well. Over the last two years, our three Township parks have seen a combined total of nearly a million visitors, plus 140,000 admissions to the Waterpark, as well as 100,000 golfers and guests at Cranberry Highlands Golf Course. Those visits have resulted in hundreds of new jobs, hotel room guests, and restaurant patrons. It’s why Dick’s Sporting Goods is building their flagship sporting goods store here in Cranberry and not in San Diego or Charlotte.
Beyond that, think about all the special community events, festivals and fund raisers that take place in our Parks. If we didn’t have those parks, where do you think those community gatherings would occur? The answer: they simply wouldn’t take place – at least not here. For example, this past weekend was the 13th annual Cranberry CUP (Community Uniting People), which was hosted in our community parks. Since 2000, the CUP’s golf and softball tournaments have raised more than $1.1 million dollars for needy families and other humanitarian causes in the Cranberry Area.
Just one weekend earlier, North Boundary Park hosted Relay for Life, one of the most successful American Cancer Society events of its type in the country, raising nearly $140,000. And the week before that, Community Park hosted Community Days, raising over $160,000 for a variety of charities and non-profits; it attracted more than 35,000 visitors.
So I am tremendously proud of our community’s commitment to quality of life and of our investing tax dollars to create unprecedented marketplace returns. Whenever I’m confronted by people who say we shouldn’t be spending tax dollars on recreation and open space, I tell them we can’t afford not to. I also invite them to spend a day, an evening, or a weekend enjoying Cranberry’s recreational assets. Maybe then they’d see for themselves why our community is considered one of the most desirable in the nation.
I would love to hear your thoughts about Cranberry's Recreation and Open Space Plan. You can email me at:Jerry Andree, Township Manager