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Residents push Talen Energy to re-open park on their property

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MARTIC TWP., Pa. - Dozens of parkgoers and hikers who use Holtwood Park and the Kelly's Run trailhead in southern Lancaster County were caught off-guard by a recent decision by Talen Energy to close the park, which is on their private property.

Many of them urged a swift response from the Martic Township Board of Supervisors Monday night.

"It means nothing to Talen and everything to us," Helen Pike, who lives near the park, said after the meeting.

The land that houses the park is owned by Talen Energy. The company acquired the land in 2015 from PPL, but then proceeded to sell much of the surrounding land in a deal that closed in April.

On Wednesday, Talen shut down the park, citing liability concerns. FOX43's attempts to reach Talen representatives for this story were unsuccessful.

"There's nothing else in Martic Township," park user Andy Anderson said about Holtwood. "This is it."

The township urged parkgoers not to trespass on Talen's property, saying they didn't want to give the energy company any incentive not to negotiate. It also urged people to contact their local lawmakers to try to pressure Talen to negotiate a deal to re-open the park.

"The township is working with the county, state, local officials to try to get a meeting set up with Talen so that we can hopefully come to an agreement or partnership on maintaining it as a park or maintaining it as open space," Duane Sellers, of the Martic Township Board of Supervisors, said.

Residents remain unconvinced by the supervisors' strategy.

"I think it's going to take more than Martic Township waiting for legislators to call them back," Anderson said. "I think something needs to happen. What? I don't know."

Pike, who drives a school bus, mentioned a little girl whose birthday is coming up and rides with her daily.

"She had plans for her birthday party to be there," she said. "She can't do it, but all the invitations are out and you can't have the birthday party there now that it's posted, when all of our lives it's been a great place to go have a birthday party for your kids."

She's hoping Talen comes to the table so that the park can re-open.

"Somebody in that company has got to have a heart," she said.