The Susquehanna Heritage Park plans are a bit pricey for Jane Heller's taste.

"I think it's great when you can pay for things you want done," said Heller of Springettsbury Township. "This is a very involved kind of project. I think it's a bit much for the county to take on an expenditure this size."

Heller was among 40 people who listened to master site plan details for the 368-acre Susquehanna Heritage Park in Lower Windsor Township.

The meeting, held Wednesday at the township municipal building, was led by John Buerkle Jr., president of Pashek Associates, a Pittsburgh-based landscape architecture firm developing the master site plan.

The proposal includes $4 million in renovations to the 187-acre Native Lands County Park, 79-acre Highpoint Scenic Vista and Recreation Area, and 40-acre Wilton Meadows Nature Preserve, all within the Susquehanna Heritage Park site.

No project cost was given for long-range project plans for the 48-acre Klines Run Park, which is owned by the Safe Harbor Water Power Corp. A 12-acre Upper Leibhart Archaeological Preserve is privately owned.

Susquehanna Heritage Park includes significant archeological remains from the settlement of Susquehannock Indians who once lived in the river hills.


Plans for the Native Lands County Park would cost close to $2.48 million and include renovation of the prehistoric, Susquehannock and Dritt family settlements, preservation of 19th-century farmstead and agricultural production areas, hidden parking lots to keep cars out of view, installation of picnic areas, composting restrooms and a shelter with water and electricity.

Additions at High Point: About $407,000 would be needed to renovate High Point Scenic Vista and Recreation Area. Plans include adding trees for shade and installing a small picnic shelter, a composting restroom and accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities. Trails would be extended through a wooded area, overflow parking would be expanded and native landscaping would be added.

High Point also would have a component that would allow visitors to download its app on cellphones to access video and webpages that provide history and photos about the area, Buerkle said.

Wilton Meadows Nature Preserve renovations would cost $102,000, Buerkle said. That plan includes adding parking spaces along Long Level Road, adding a trail that would help people experience the meadow and providing a "forest interpretation" that would highlight the meadow's natural and wildlife legacy, Buerkle said.

Several times during the meeting, Heller -- who has summer property near the Susquehanna Heritage site -- asked who was going to pay for park projects other than the taxpayers. She also suggested project and county officials consider adding a money-making component like a restaurant or activities with fees.

Buerkle said financial plans include seeking state and federal grants, in-kind contributions, and savings through volunteer service, as well as developing partnerships with organizations that would handle certain aspects of the projects.

Bekah Mellinger, who lives on Long Level Road, said the project plans would add more traffic to the road and suggested officials not use the road as a way to move park attendees from High Point to Native Lands.

She also said money can be saved by dropping the Wilton Meadows proposal from the master site plan and letting "nature take its course."

Buerkle said comments from Wednesday's meeting will be reviewed by the master plan committee to determine whether any changes should be made. The committee will submit its final plans to the county commissioners in about 30 days, he said.

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at