Lackawanna County marked the 40th anniversary of McDade Park in Scranton on July 30. To celebrate the milestone, the Lackawanna County Commissioners, former Commissioners and other dignitaries celebrated the park’s anniversary on Sunday, July 30, at 11 a.m., the exact same date in 1977 that it was dedicated as The Joseph M. McDade Recreational Park. The facility has become the “Crown Jewel” of the County’s park network.
“This is truly a great day for Lackawanna County as we recognize the 40th anniversary of McDade Park. It is a gem of an operation, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to relax, get together, or enjoy the natural vistas of the park,” said Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.
“Today celebrates our history,” explained Commissioner Jerry Notarianni. “Our past leaders are to be congratulated for being innovative and taking a chance on enhancing our quality of life for everyone to enjoy.”
“Today’s anniversary of the park is a testimony to the foresight of our community’s leadership. McDade Park is a beautiful facility that families and groups can utilize for any occasion,” noted Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings.
The development of Keyser Park, as it was originally known, began when then Congressman McDade secured $2 million for use by the Bureau of Mines for the restoration of mine reclamation areas.
A badly-scarred 126-acre tract of land owned by the County was selected for the project. The funding was used for site rehabilitation and top soil seeding. The work gained national attention.
Additional Federal and State grants were secured during the park’s start-up to further enhance its development. The resources were used for roadways, a sanitary sewer system, electric service, support buildings, athletic fields, sports courts, and a children’s playground.
The U.S. Forestry Service planted trees and special shrubs, and the State participated in the park’s growth with the construction of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Museum along with other enhancements.
McDade Park has, over the years, witnessed tremendous growth and expansion. Every administration, since the park’s initial development, has invested significant dollars into the facility.
Since its inception, over $5 million in lease-hold improvements have been made. They include: the Coal Mine Tour attraction, which has gained national acclaim for the park and area; a Coal Mine Building; pavilions; boundless playground; stocked fishing area; trails; swim complex; bathhouses; Cancer and 911 Memorials; street lighting; Coal Miner statue; and a maintenance building. The anniversary program featured the Pledge of Allegiance followed by remarks from Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley, Commissioner Jerry Notarianni and Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings, comments by William Davis, the County’s Deputy Director of Parks & Recreation; and brief statements from other invited guests.