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Penn College students build infrastructure for new Veterans Memorial Park

By Staff | Apr 5, 2011

Landscape and horticulture classes from Penn College are making sure the site for the Veterans Memorial in Picture Rocks is level. They are installing drainage for the monument under the direction of Justin Shelinski, associate instructor (pointing to the map) and assistant professor of Horticulture, Mike Dincher (far right).

PICTURE ROCKS – Once again the Earth Science Center in Allenwood, is beautifying another project for their local community. According to Eugene Otterbein, president of Picture Rocks Borough Council, the students at Penn College are getting a hands on experience as they learn how to build this new veterans memorial, while at the same time, saving the community thousands of dollars.

The students are learning about the project from start to finish. They get to work with different equipment and to work from a landscape design. “They will be doing everything,” said Penn College instructor of Horticulture, Mike Dincher.

“We’re putting all the stone in the base, then we’ll lay everything out, put the final bricks in,” said Sean O’Brien, a horticulture major.

Associate instructor of Landscaping and Picture Rocks resident, Justin Shelinski said it’s a win-win situation. Students get hands-on experience and wind up saving the community thousands it would have spent on construction costs. Shelinski grew up in Picture Rocks with his father’s own landscaping business. He was instrumental in coordinating the students with the project according to Otterbein.

The students started working on the memorial last Tuesday morning by laying a stone sub base and compacting it around a six-sided monument pedestal that will eventually hold a waterfall. They will continue for the next four weeks until all of the engraved pavers are installed.

“When you build something permanent and something that will last through the generations, it’s awesome for these students,” Dincher added. The students get to work on site once a week and hope to be finished by May.

“It’s a little hard, a little difficult. I’m new but I’m learning how to get there in the field, ” said student Kate Ulrich.

Eventually, the 18 students will place bricks around the memorial in Picture Rocks representing the different branches of the military. Then people from the community can put names of loved ones who served in the military around the memorial, honoring them for years to come said Otterbein.

The borough of Picture Rocks acquired the small parcel of land for the monument located at 179 S. Main Street in 2005 which is on the northeast corner at the intersection of Main Street and Nunn Lane. In 2008 the council agreed it would be a prime location for the proposed veterans memorial after the old structure on the property was condemned and torn down.

The borough is continuing with fundraising efforts to help defray costs. Estimated price for the solid marble monument is $37,000, and the borough is working with a small grant from the Williamsport/Lycoming Community Foundation. So far over 125 memorial bricks have been sold. For more information about donating or participating in the veterans memorial project, contact Eugene Otterbein at 584-5465.