The Rockwood Veterans Memorial Community Park project has received a boost from Miele Manufacturing and Pennsylvania Skill Charitable Giving.
The Pennsylvania Skill Charitable Giving Project is committed to supporting causes that improve communities and quality of life for the residents. It has donated more than $2 million to Pennsylvanian charities in the last two years. Rockwood's park project will receive $10,000.
"The money will go toward the next phase which will be the pavilion pad and pavilion," said Larry Mazer, a member of the park committee. "The park will honor veterans of the Rockwood area who served our country in the past and who are currently serving to preserve the liberties of this nation. Additionally, the park will recognize the many citizens who have, and continue to make the Rockwood area their home."
Miele Manufacturing, of Muncy, employs more than 180 people who put together Pennsylvania skill games. Its 68,000 square foot headquarters is a state of the art manufacturing and operations facility. Jeff Millay, Director of Sales and Service for Miele Manufacturing, said the charitable program was started two and a half years ago.
"On our website we have a section for charitable giving program for applications," he said. "We are veterans focused, fire departments and the children's backpack program. We have a panel that reviews the applications and awards the money. Right now we have more requests than we have money."
Millay said in one year, $400,000 was given to nine food banks in Pennsylvania, have of which bought 700,000 meals.
One program the Miele company works on is problems veterans have and what the company can do to help, especially with addictions.
"We want to do the right thing, to give back to the community," Millay said. "With Pennsylvania Skill we're able to do that. We worked with Rockwood American Legion on this program. Our machines have saved a lot of clubs over the COVID years so they've been able to stay open."
Mazer said the Rockwood Veterans Memorial Community Park project was created five years ago when two buildings across from Stoner's Furniture in Rockwood Borough were taken down. A group of people got together to talk about a plan for the area.
"It was the vision from a couple of us because of Memorial Day," he said. "It's the middle of town. It became unsightly because part of a hotel that was taken down was still there. We just wanted to eliminate two obscene lots in the middle of town."
Over the course of the past five years, the group worked to raise funds to complete the first phase of the project, which has been paid for through the sale of bricks, fundraisers, grants and individual and corporate donations.
"The first part required $150,000 and it is pretty much all paid for," Mazer said.
The group sold 500 engraved bricks for the veterans and the community members. They are $100 each. Mazer said there is room for about 1,500 more bricks. The bricks are being placed at the base of the park’s wall.
"There are three phases to the project left, for an estimated total cost of at least $100,000," Mazer said. "The fundraising campaign is starting in the near future to complete the project in the springtime."
The first of the next three phases includes laying of a pad for a pavilion. The next phase is sidewalks and walking paths and the fourth phase will be lighting and lighting conduits.
"Benches have already been bought and paid for through a grant," Mazer said. "We will continue to sell the bricks to honor and memorialize anyone from the Rockwood area."
"Once the pavilion and sidewalks are in, it will create a place where there can be music in the park. Bikers and hikers can come in and sit down to eat."
Individuals interested purchasing bricks can contact Mazer at 814-243-0612. Additionally, personal donations can be made directly to the Rockwood Veterans Memorial and Community Park through the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies at www.cfalleghenies.org or P.O. Box 1105, Somerset, PA, 15501.
This article and photo was originally published on Oct. 8, 2022, by the Daily American.