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Nature park project underway in Sunbury

Scouts from Troop 333 and Troop 350 have been lending a helping hand by cleaning up the property.

SUNBURY, Pa. — Thanks to some young volunteers, a once-forgotten space buried by tons of trees in Sunbury is being cleaned up, making way for a new ecological and educational park.

Sunbury Wetland Ecological and Educational Park will be located on the corner of Race and North Sixth Streets. The first step is to clear the property of debris to get it ready for public use.

"Every community has their little area that's kind of forgotten about because it takes so many resources to make something happen," said Mayor Kurt Karlovich.

Scouts from Troop 333 and Troop 350 have been lending a helping hand by cleaning up the property.

Mayor Karlovich tells Newswatch 16 the city was approved for a $57,000 grant, which will fund the first phase of the project—to transition a large embankment into a recreational and educational area.

"Outdoor seating areas, educational signs for the old railroad history and the wetlands property itself, and a large outdoor sitting deck area that can be used for community purposes," said Karlovich.

Members of the scout troops say being able to help clean up this forgotten space and restore it for public use feels good.

"It's definitely a win-win because we're getting something out of it, and we're also helping the community and giving them something they can enjoy," said Eva Eccker, a part of Troop 350.

"I'm going to be able to look at it and say I helped do this. I was a part of this. I was a part of the group that built this and made this possible," said Cooper Rouse, from Troop 333.

Mayor Karlovich says the positive effects from cleaning up the property already show.

"The crime has gone down. The complaints about crime has gone down regarding the property. Before we did see drug use, materials within the property when we first started cleaning it up," Karlovich said. "That has all disappeared now, and it's just cleaning the local area up and giving them a safe outdoor space to socially distance."

Officials hope to start the first portion of construction at the end of August or the beginning of September.

The cleanup group is looking for some extra hands. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Mayor Karlovich's office at 570-286-7820.

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