Community saddened by loss of Manchester Playground Program over funding issues


MANCHESTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A community is losing a summer program that’s been around for decades because of funding issues.

For many years East Manchester Township and Manchester Borough shared the cost of the Manchester Park Program. This year East Manchester Township said they couldn’t continue paying and Manchester Borough couldn’t do it alone.

So they canceled the program, leaving some local families disappointed. Amanda Wingert’s son Dawson loved the program.

“We played a lot of games that were super fun and we did crafts and stuff,” Dawson Wingert said.

His dad used to go to it years ago. So when the family moved back into the area his mom signed him up.

She says it helped him make friends in his new neighborhood.

“This got him to talk to kids in the community. He got to meet all the people he would not have got to meet and make friends with,” Amanda Wingert said.

This summer they’re crushed that it isn’t happening.

“Sad, because I really liked it,” Dawson Wingert said.

Dr. Donna Burns has been running the program for several years, so she’s also devastated by the loss.

“Manchester, Mt. Wolf, York Haven, Conewago. So for all of this area, we had one playground, and now they have no playgrounds,” Burns said. “To think that these kids don’t have something like that, to me is just heartbreaking.”

Now he’ll spend his summer playing alone.

“Heartbreaking because he liked going there 5 days a week with his friends because it got him outdoors instead of sitting on his electronics,” Amanda Wingert said.

Especially after the pandemic Burns says this is a loss.

“With the isolation and the cyber school, the quarantining. If there was ever a year that these kids need something, even the parents need something, this was it,” Burns said.

They hope this isn’t the end.

“I really really hope that they bring it back to the community,” Amanda Wingert said.

Wade Witt, the chairman of Manchester Borough’s recreation commission says this is not a permanent shutdown. He’s hopeful they’ll be able to find the funding to bring it back next summer, which they’ll need about $6,000 to do.

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