You may already be familiar with the many public parks, greenspaces and street trees that add to the beauty of Lansdowne. To learn more about the Parks and Recreation Department, we spoke with Erica Sollberger, Director of Parks and Recreation since 2010. “Before I interviewed for the director position, I had done some hikes around Lansdowne, and noticed that there were a lot of newly-planted shade trees. The borough’s obvious commitment to expanding tree cover and improving greenspaces really drew me to Lansdowne.”
As Director of Parks and Recreation, Erica manages the design, installation and maintenance of borough parks, greenspaces, and street trees. She works closely with a nine-person volunteer board, appointed by Borough Council. The Parks and Recreation Board identifies maintenance priorities, makes spending recommendations, reviews recreation programming, and plans events throughout the season. In the spring, the board hosts an annual egg hunt. In the summer, movie nights are held in the parks, and in September there is a Park Day event, held at Hoffman Park.
The Parks and Recreation Department regularly works with the Public Works Department, to enhance and maintain the many greenspaces throughout the Borough. By maintaining green infrastructure, the borough helps to reduce stormwater runoff, keeping local waterways cleaner, as well as preserving open space for plants and trees that reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. “In light of the pandemic, parks have become even more important as a community resource, providing activity, fresh air and respite. These spaces may be used by people of all ages and abilities, offering a safe place for residents to enjoy outdoor recreation.”
How can residents help improve their parks? On the first Saturday of the month, you may join in a park cleanup at your local park. Organized cleanups are advertised on the Lansdowne Parks and Recreation Board facebook page and in the borough’s monthly eNewsletter. “If you advocate and care for parks and greenspaces, others will be encouraged to care for these places, as well. Parks are a wonderful, shared amenity, that should be well maintained and accessible to everyone.”
The Parks and Recreation Board meets on the third Monday of each month. Residents are encouraged to submit suggestions or concerns in advance of meetings. Erica encourages resident input, to find out what residents want and need related to park improvements, tree planting and recreation programming. If you have feedback about parks, recreation, greenspace or street trees, Erica encourages residents to reach out to her office via email at LansdowneParks@gmail.com.
Erica has a degree in Landscape Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University, is a Professional Landscape Architect, and an ISA Certified Arborist. She is an avid rower, gardener and amateur mycologist.