Officials commemorate Ryerson Park’s new pool complex, solar arrays
By Steve Barrett
Creative Content Writer, Hilltop Packs, LLC
State and local officials gathered this morning at Ryerson Station State Park in Wind Ridge to commemorate the official opening of the park’s new pool complex and celebrate the new solar arrays that shade the pool parking area and generate electricity for the entire facility.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held outside the pool complex entrance to recognize the opening. Among those speaking during the ceremony was Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
In her comments, Dunn commended DCNR staff, local and state officials, area residents and community initiatives for their involvement and input in bringing the new amenities and other massive improvements to the park.
“This is just a part of the long process of rebuilding Ryerson Station State Park,” Dunn said. “DCNR double-downed on its commitment to make this a special place, and the goal from the beginning was to create something remarkable for the citizens of this region.”
Dunn said Ryerson is the state’s first park to employ solar panels.
“We decided that Ryerson would be a perfect park to be ‘net-zero’ in regards to energy consumption,” she said.
The DCNR website, www.dcnr.pa.gov, states that net-zero means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site – in Ryerson Park’s case, from the sun.
Dunn said DCNR heard the public “loud and clear” about residents wanting massive improvements to the park.
“We see this process as taking what was and turning it around to a very strong positive,” she said. “The opening of this spectacular pool is certainly a big step in that direction.”
In a release issued earlier today by DCNR, Dunn said the agency is committed to enhancing recreational opportunities that benefit not just park visitors at Ryerson Station, but also surrounding communities and the county’s economy.
The new pool complex includes a walk-in pool with a waterslide, as well as a “spray” park. In addition, the new parking lot – which is located at the site of the park’s previous pool – is equipped with solar shading structures that officials say will provide all the electricity needed at the park, the release states.
During the ceremony, Dunn also recognized the Re-Vision Ryerson Station State Park Task Force, which – according to the release – formed to examine future park recreational opportunities, including improvements to the park’s camping and swimming amenities.
The previously completed campground renovations include full hookups on seven campsites, three deluxe camping cottages and new shower facilities, the release states.
DCNR Deputy Secretary John Norbeck states in the release that the agency is excited about the park’s positive contributions to the environment.
“We are proud … to celebrate the tremendous improvements at Ryerson Station from a recreation and conservation perspective,” he said. “Families will be able to visit the new pool and spray ground and we will be able to operate another of our state parks at net zero, thanks to a focus on sustainability and green infrastructure.”
According to the release, DCNR’s sustainability initiative includes adding small-scale solar arrays in state parks and forests, electric vehicle charging stations, reduction of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles within the agency’s fleet, and high-performance buildings.
The 1,164-acre Ryerson Station State Park once featured the 62-acre Ronald J. Duke Lake, which was drawn down 17 years ago for safety precautions after movement to the dam’s foundation occurred.
According to the release, nearly eight years later DCNR and Consol Energy Inc. settled a lawsuit related to the impact of longwall mining in the area on the dam, and settlement funds financed the estimated $10 million pool complex costs.
The release states that a future project at the park will include stream restoration work addressing fish habitat and waterway access.
For more information about Ryerson Station State Park visit the DCNR website, www.dcnr.pa.gov.