Kaier’s Community Park

Mahanoy City Borough | Manahoy City, PA
Photo of the entrance to Kaier's Community Park in Manahoy City

In the small coal-mining town of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, a crumbling skeleton of a 90-foot tall building is what remained of the once thriving Kaier’s Brewery. Opened in 1880 and abandoned in 1968, this blighted brownfield property posed a threat to the community’s health and safety.

After several development inquiries failed to come to fruition, local officials decided to take advantage of a state-funded blight program to demolish the building. This was the first step to re-developing the property and building a community park and playground utilizing the “Brownfields to Playfields” pilot program funded by the state.

In addition to managing the building demolition effort, Benesch played a key role in assisting borough officials with navigating funding options and developing a strategy that included piggybacking various funding programs (totaling $714,000) to help the borough maximize funding options. Once funding was secured, Benesch prepared the site plans and developed a multi-phase project schedule that enabled the Borough to budget accordingly.

Benesch’s playground design included a large community pavilion, picnic tables, park benches, ADA-accessible pathways, along with play structures that are enjoyed by children from toddlers to 12 years of age. The park also incorporates outdoor fitness equipment for youth and adults to enjoy. Additional site amenities include a historic kiosk of the Kaier’s Brewery as well as new fencing and several trees.

The Brownfields to Playfields program is an interagency initiative comprised of the PA Department of Natural Resources (DCNR), PA Department of Economic Development (DCED), and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The program’s goal is to restore and repurpose brownfields to increase recreation and conservation opportunities in the Pennsylvania.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the park, State Representative, Neal P. Goodman, commented “A lot of thanks go out today. It is not done by one person or one group of people, but everybody working together from borough officials to the senator’s office, my office, DCED and working with Benesch.”