Harrington Parks & Rec building blooms this spring

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Pictured above from left, in the newly renovated Harrington Parks & Rec Building are, City Manager Terry Tieman, Rep. Dave Wilson, USDA’s Bill McGowan, Rep. Bobby Outten, Rep. Harvey Kenton, USDA’s Lisa Fitzgerald, HPR Director Bill Falasco, HPR’s Faye Smith, Harrington Mayor Tony Moyer and Harrington Accountant Dean Gary. (The Journal/Logan B. Anderson)

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Pictured, from left, Councilwoman Amy Minner, Councilman Duane Bivans, Senator F. Gary Simpson, Harrington Parks and Recreation Director, Bill Falasco, during the Senator’s visit on Friday.

HARRINGTON — Like so many things this time of year, the City of Harrington’s Parks & Recreation (HPR) Department building has emerged from winter changed and looking a lot better.
With help from federal, state and local officials, the HPR building was able to get a new roof, bathrooms, an improved HVAC system, and most dramatic change of all a new gymnasium floor.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided a matching grant to the city of Harrington to pay for the parks and recreation building’s roof repair, new bathrooms, new gas heaters and new gas lines.
The state of Delaware contributed $74,000 to redo the gym floor. The total cost for the renovations was 144,917.60
At the end of winter the parks and recreation building closed for some much needed repairs and upgrades. Just in time for the start of the spring season, Bill Falasco, HPR director, invited some of the people that made the changes possible to walk through the facility.
Mr. Falasco welcomed Bill McGowan, USDA rural development director; Lisa Fitzgerald, business and community programs specialist at USDA rural development; State Representatives William R. “Bobby” Outten, Dave Wilson and Harvey Kenton, Harrington Mayor Tony Moyer; Councilwoman Cheryl Lehman; City Manager Terry Tieman; and other city officials to the newly renovated parks and recreation building on March 19, the day before spring.
“Can’t tell you how much it means to us here,” Mr. Falasco said.
The Harrington parks and recreation effort began in 1996 with an Easter egg hunt. In 2004, the effort became a department and made its first home in the Annex Building behind city hall. In 2007, the National Guard deeded its armory building to the city. The brick and block building on East Liberty Street allowed the department to expand its programs. Now the upgrades will allow it to do more. DSC_1703
The building is series of meeting, dance, workout and other rooms off of a large central room. The once uneven concrete floor that could only be safely used by rolling out soft mats. Now the large room has a level, safe, gymnasium floor.
The HPR’s current programs include soccer, ballet, Zumba, football, cheer and baseball. Now it can include indoor volleyball, basketball and more.
“It was only with the help of our Assemblymen, USDA, city council and the Mayor, we were able to do this,” City Manager Tieman said. “Harrington is a lucky place.”
“We are glad to be a part of this,” said USDA’s Mr. McGowan.
The state became a part of the building’s rebirth after a conversation at the Delaware State Fair. Mr. Falasco ran into Rep. Kenton and a conversation about the building’s challenges started. Reps. Kenton, Outten and Wilson helped appropriate the funds needed as part of the state’s bond bill.
“It’s not about Democrats and Republicans. If it’s something good for the community we should give back,” said Rep. Wilson.
“Timing was everything,” said Rep. Kenton.
The Harrington Parks & Recreation building will reopen later this week. With the addition of the new floor, the doors that open out into the gymnasium had to be shortened. Once they arrive and are installed, the building will be ready for the community’s use again.

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