Soldiers Field
Soldiers Field Update #3
December 2022
I would like to again thank the greater Mount Gretna community for your support for the work that the PA Chautauqua Foundation is doing to preserve and improve Soldiers Field.
2022 has been an amazing year for Soldiers Field. To recap from my prior updates:
  • In the first quarter we closed on a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the amount of $400,000 which allowed us to repay the acquisition financing from Jonestown Bank and Trust and to reimburse both the PA Chautauqua and the PA Chautauqua Foundation for acquisition expenses.
  • We also applied for and received a grant from the Marcellus Shale funds through Lebanon County in the amount of $9,270. These funds along with dedicated Soldiers Field funds were used to complete our stormwater management work on the Northeast portion of the Field. With the planting of our 10 new trees, that project is now complete.
  • In the second quarter we were awarded a grant of $300,000 from The Conservation Fund which provided additional funds for the acquisition and preservation of Soldiers Field. These funds have now been received.
  • Last month we worked with the Mount Gretna Bird Club to support its efforts to raise funds for a Purple Martin House on the Northwest portion of the Field. The house is now in place and will provide an attractive nesting area for many years to come.
As we head into 2023, we continue our hard work.
  • We are preparing a grant request to the Lebanon County Commissioners for a $200,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan Act funds received by Lebanon County.
  • We are working with South Londonderry Township to develop plans for a parking area for approximately 55 cars which will serve visitors to Soldiers Field, the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail and Mount Gretna events and programs. The plans include an ADA compliant lighted walking path from the parking area to Carnegie Avenue in the Chautauqua as well as a pedestrian bridge over Conewago Creek.
We plan to continue to provide periodic email updates to you but if you have any questions or concerns, I invite you to please reach out to us at
John Weaver, Chairman, PA Chautauqua Foundation

Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation Purchases Soldiers Field

September 2020 -  Lebanon County Commissioners and the Marcellus Shale Grant Program have chosen the PA Chautauqua as a recipient of funds to help with improvements to Soldiers Field. Thank you to the Commissioners and to Mike Sherman for his work on this.
The Soldiers Field tract (18.14 acres) was purchased by the Pa Chautauqua Association in 2018.  An Advisory Committee, formed in late January 2019, includes volunteer representatives from seven Mount Gretna area neighborhoods. Representatives are Jennifer Besse, Tom Clemens, Kristi Donahue, Ned Gibble, Sid Hostetter, Marla Pitt and Jackie Zimmerman. The Committee meets monthly and provides input, advice, knowledge and resources to the Pa Chautauqua Board of Managers.  Board members who serve on the Committee are Jeanette Leid and Sarah Minnich.
Volunteer work, committee meetings, project planning, permitting and grant work have continued. 
On August 4th (2019), thirty-three attendees at the Soldiers Field Open House provided feedback and discussions with Committee members and table hosts on the following subjects:  stewardship/land management, walking paths and pedestrian bridge, parking, traffic and Brigade activities
South Londonderry Township has approved a stormwater project that will address and correct stormwater runoff and resulting accelerated erosion conditions along Timber Road and in the adjacent woods.  The work will consist of a vegetated swale along Timber Road that will combine with an existing culvert outlet near the intersection with Valley Road and convey stormwater to a water quality best management practice.   A grant application to fund a portion of this work was filed with the Lebanon County Planning Department.
Work continues to close our two grants and receive remaining grant funds from The Conservation Fund and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).  A grant application to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to restore walking paths, build a pedestrian bridge and overflow parking area was not chosen for funding in the 2019 grant cycle. The Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation expects to apply to DCNR and DCED for funding this same project.
Volunteer activities, public walks and programs are being discussed and planned.  Efforts to remove invasive species, plant trees and shrubs and other beneficial projects will commence in April and May of 2021.  Members of the Soldiers Field Volunteer Brigade will be notified of future activities.  To be added to the Brigade mailing list please contact Mike HERE.
Soldiers Field Meadow

Soldiers Field Meadow
Visitors in Soldiers Field
Visitors to Soldiers Field

Local Press Coverage

Lancaster News Article


Additional information is available by calling 717-964-3270

To support future projects at Soldiers Field, you can do so by making a donation to the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation.
The Chautauqua Foundation operates within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Charitable donations are tax deductible.