If you have used Routes 6 and 11 anytime since 2009, you may have noticed a parcel of land that once was just a triangle of grass has become an important part of our community. The bit of green grass, hardly noticeable in 2009, has become a memorial park honoring veterans in our area. If you are on the top of the hill at Thurston Street or at the top of the hill at Clarks Street, just beyond Highland Avenue, the hillside road runs down to Routes 6 and 11. A quiet respite, a soft comforting zone, has been developed there, becoming the Veterans Park in Clarks Summit.
When Herman Johnson was on the Clarks Summit Council, he focused on the idea in 2009 to establish a spot to commemorate the armed services of the United States of America. He was joined by others, the Veterans of Foreign War, along with the community to place a permanent marker, a tribute to our veterans.
Johnson is now Mayor Johnson and, although his jobs as mayor have increased, he still has at his heart the little park on Routes 6 and 11, memorializing our nation’s heroes. Since 2009, you may have seen him working alone at the park. He has been on his knees, placing mulch and planting rose bushes. You may have seen him consulting with Chris Calvey, who helped him design and place a granite memorial, with insignia of all United States services set in stone.
The gazebo went up in 2016, a place to kick back and reflect. The handicap parking for veterans was also added, so that those, for whom the park was dedicated, would be able to come and enjoy it. The mayor plans this summer to set in a small garden of bushes at the south end of the tiny park.
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons wanted to be part of this tiny place of splendor. This year we will place a little free library at the edge of the park, near the gazebo. Our first little free library, #17238 is doing well on Depot Street in Clarks Summit. At any time of the day or night, you can see visitors bringing in books they have read and taking out books they want to read. The exchange of books happens all the time.
This second library, just like the first little library, has been designed by Rotarian and architect Nelson Connell. His plans will be executed by master craftsman and Rotarian Harry Mumford.
Harry said, “The plans that Ned drew up for the first pocket library on Depot Street have worked so well, we will use them again for the second pocket library. Ned has ideas on how to change the look for a patriotic theme.”
This second library, still under construction, will be part of the Little Free Library Association, which is a homespun idea turned into an international phenomenon. Ordinary people with more books than they need have made tiny libraries where books are exchanged. Each library looks different from the other. All share in the same theme, “take a book, return a book.” It does not have to be the same book, just any book to share. These tiny libraries can appear anywhere; some are in a neighborhood, some are on walkways or bike trails, at the beach or in the mountains, in countries all over the world.
When you are driving by the memorial park, perhaps you will stop the quick pace of your life and see that this minuscule green spot has become a patriotic oasis for reflection.
In the spring of 2017, you can then take a book from the small library located in our small park in our small town in Pennsylvania.
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