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But as the 16.5-foot clock was dedicated on June 3, no imagination was needed to see how much a part of the community it has already become.

"The thing that meant the most was the way everyone got together," said Tim Arnold, co-chair of the clock committee, a sub-committee of the Richland Area Business Association.

By: Toni Becker

At the moment, envisioning the new community clock in Richland Township as the focal point of a much larger complex, takes a little imagination.

But as the 16.5-foot clock was dedicated on June 3, no imagination was needed to see how much a part of the community it has already become.

"The thing that meant the most was the way everyone got together," said Tim Arnold, co-chair of the clock committee, a sub-committee of the Richland Area Business Association.

Although the project began a little more than one year ago, the committee has already raised more than $28,000.

"It was individual residents as well as businesses," Arnold said. "It's really showing that people want to help out."

Fellow clock committee co-chair Patricia Keller said it wasn't long after the clock concept was publicized in several area newspapers, that many residents began calling to offer donations.

In fact, one of the four largest donations, which earned one of four dedication plaques at the base of the clock, came from a resident and his family, Frank Banko.

The clock, which was installed next to the new Richland Township police building, is one more step toward building a true community, Keller said.

"We're hoping that it will become a gathering place," she said, envisioning picnic tables and a community area around the clock.

The positioning of the clock, farther from the road, was meant to define it as a focal point.

"Imagine what a beautiful center it will make," clock committee member Joe Hafich said, who was also accredited with being instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

It may not be long before the clock becomes the focal point and center it's meant to be.

During the dedication ceremony, Charles Martin, chairperson of the Bucks County Commissioners, talked about future plans to put two additional county government buildings on the property.

One building would be the new district justice court building, and the other a governmental services building.

"It will be a hub for county government," Martin said. "We thought the clock was a great idea, a great centerpiece for this complex."

Motioning toward the side of the building, Martin said, "Hopefully next year there will be a lot of work on that side of the property."

Many people were instrumental in making the clock a reality, including residents, officials from Richland Township and from the county.

"The community clock is going to be part of a county joint effort," Keller said,

of the local and county governments working together.

Deanna Mindler, Executive Director for the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, also spoke during the dedication ceremony.

The chamber helped to direct donations for the committee, Arnold said.

There are several different donation categories available.

With a donation of $250, contributors receive a miniature version of the clock, and donations of $500 and $750, will get the business or persons' names inscribed on the clock itself.

While one plaque is already full and installed on the clock, and another is filling quickly, Hafich said more donations are still needed.

"We still have work ahead of us," he said.

The goal of the project is to ensure that no taxpayers will ever have to fund the clock, so while it's already been installed, the clock committee is working toward raising enough money for the upkeep and future maintenance.

"It was a real spirit of cooperation between residents of Richland Township and the businesses of Richland Township," Supervisor Craig Staats said, during the dedication ceremony.

Keller said she was recently asked by another area newspaper, "why a clock?"

"Because we're a community, that's why," she said.

Toni Becker is a reporter for The Free Press. She can be reached at tkbecker@berksmontnews.com.

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