Holiday lighting expansion and more underway at Freeport Community Park
As if the Freeport Community Park hasn’t shined enough lately with renovations, park officials are trying to expand its drive-thru Christmas light display.
The 95-acre park was established in 1965 by Freeport Brick Co. owner Francis “Dutch” Laube Jr., but fell into disrepair after his death in 2000, Freeport Mayor James Swartz said.
The park is owned by the nonprofit Freeport Community Park Corp. Another nonprofit, Restore Freeport Community Park, established nine years ago, continues fundraising, such as a hit Valentine’s Day dance that sells to 450 customers a year.
The money was used to repair the roofs, clear brush, plant trees, paving and reseal the grounds, renovate the pavilion, install bulletin boards and two sand volleyball courts, etc.
First, volunteers can participate next month to help clean up the park pavilion. Restore Freeport Community Park Day will begin at 9 a.m. on May 7. No registration necessary.
Longer term, plans are underway to extend holiday lights during the Christmas season in the park for drive-through light displays, said Jeannie Nesbit, president of Restore Freeport Community Park.
For the past few holiday seasons, the two nonprofits have hung lights in the park. Some sports leagues also decorate their fields for the holidays. People liked it, and Nesbit and others want to do more. The associations work together on the project.
“We plan to continue improving the park,” Nesbit said.
One of the people involved in the project is an experienced light display artist, said Dennis Montgomery, vice president of Freeport Community Park Corp.
“It’ll be a cool, real upgrade from what’s been done in the past,” he said. “We’re not trying to be Kennywood or Hartwood Acres – we’re trying to make it as good as possible.”
While the mayor isn’t sure how big the light display will be this holiday season, he knows it will bring visitors to town.
“It will bring traffic to Freeport and its overnight businesses,” he said.
Excited about the prospect of bringing more people to the area, Swartz pointed out the condition of the park’s roads leading to the baseball diamonds.
“They need to be in better shape,” he said.
The park will never be in the state Mr. Laube had it in, Swartz said.
“There wasn’t a blade of grass out of place, it was so well maintained,” Swartz said. “But it’s getting better, much better.”
More information about Save Freeport Community Park can be found on its Facebook page.