The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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Opinion

March 23, 2014

Buhl legacy needs your donation to keep thriving

- — You don't need to wait until Buhl Day each September to celebrate the generosity of the late area benefactors Frank and Julia Buhl.

Just take a stroll through Buhl Farm Park on a nice summer afternoon ... or during the winter, grab a sled and hit the big hill as generations have done before you ... or fly a kite in one of the big open fields on a windy, spring day.

Or head to the Buhl Community Recreation Center (former F.H. Buhl Club) where for very low fees your young children can take swimming lessons ... women can experience yoga ... or you can workout in the Evans Wellness Center.

While the Buhls had no children, they considered the people of the Shenango Valley as their family.

As the story goes, when Frank Buhl proposed building the Buhl Club (now recreation center) in 1901, it was because he saw a lot of people in downtown Sharon standing on street corners and proclaimed: “I need something for my people to do.”

And when they left the former Buhl Farm to become a community park – one of the best in the nation including the only free golf course in the world – they demonstrated their love for their “family.”

But it becomes harder each year for the Buhl gifts of the park and rec center to survive.

The park is overseen by the Buhl Trustees who use the interest each year from the Buhl Trust to run the massive operation. But that money isn’t near enough anymore to keep up with the economy.

And the rec center receives no funding from the trust so its board of directors must generate enough money through dues and donations, as well as some United Way of Mercer County funding.

Both at times need a helping hand from the community.

A front-page story in Wednesday’s Herald detailed that need as the park officials announced a campaign that includes a “Team of Thousands.”

While the park officials have raised $73,000 in donations this year, it is hoped that they can bring in another $200,000. In the long-run, the officials hope to boost the endowment to bring in more money annually to meet ever-increasing expenses.

The officials are hoping to have at least 1,000 people donate $120 to be called Silver Partners and at least 100 people give at least $1,200 to be named Gold Leaders. The campaign leaders are hoping to appeal to everyone who uses any facet of the park, from walking, to fishing, to taking children and grandchildren to use playground equipment. The park administrators have already proposed some cuts, but unless money is generated by this campaign, there could be even more.

Anyone interested in donating can send checks to Buhl Park Team of Thousands, in care of Buhl Park Corp., 715 Hazen Road, Hermitage 16148. For information go to www.buhlfarmpark.com and www.facebook.com/BuhlFarmPark.

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