The Hatfield Connection Spring-Summer 2024

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Publication of the Hatfield Township Board of Commissioners | Spring/Summer 2024 Connection THE HATFIELD
Stayin’ Alive ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Building Thrills All is Bright Meet Your Newly Elected Commissioners
Tom Pepe (left) lives to run another day thanks to the quick action of Hatfield Hero Matt DeCesare.




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Victoria Camuso

Hatfi eld Township Of fi ces

1950 School Road

Hatfield, PA 19440-1992

Telephone: 215-855-0900

Fax: 215-855-0243


Township Manager: Aaron Bibro

Offi ce Hours

M, T, Wed, and Th: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fri: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Township Municipal Schedules

Please visit for location details.

Board of Commissioners

7:30 p.m. | 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of each month

Planning Commission

7:30 p.m. | 3rd Tuesday of each month

Zoning Hearing Board

7:00 p.m. | 4th Thursday of each month

Stay Connected

Twitter: @HatfieldPA

YouTube: HatfieldTownship

Facebook: HatfieldTownship

Email: Sign up for the Hatfield Township email newsletters at

Hatfi eld Board of Commissioners

Hatfield residents elect five Commissioners to four-year terms of office. Each Commissioner represents a geographical “Ward” of the township. The Commissioners are part-time volunteers who make decisions on behalf of the 18,000+ residents of Hatfield Township. The Board of Commissioners meets twice a month to discuss and adopt policies for Hatfield’s local government services. These policy decisions include items such as land development applications, road improvements, public safety matters, capital improvement projects, and open space preservation. While each year may bring different projects and policies, the overarching goal of the Board of Commissioners is always to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the community.

To find out which ward you live in and which commissioner represents you, please refer to the township map at

Contents ARTICLES MISCELLANEOUS Meet Your Newly Elected Commissioners 4 Building Thrills 14 Stayin’ Alive 18 All is Bright 22 The Early Villages of Hatfield Township 24 Hatfield Aquatic Center 10 The Y Summer Camp 10 Hatfield Sharks Swim Team 11 Baseball Registration 11 Township Public Parks Map 16 VMSC 20 A New Home for the HPD 21 Planning America’s 250th Birthday Party 25 EVENTS AND PROGRAMS Earth Day Celebrations 8 MusicFeast 9 Summer Movie Nights 9 Parks & Recreation Programs 12 National Parks and Recreation Month 13 Plant Exchange 13 Save the Date for Events 13 Check out more content in the newsletter's digital edition, The Extra Connection at
From Left to Right: Shahidul Partha - Ward 3; Jerry Andris - Ward 5; Jennifer D. LoStracco - Ward 1; Tom Zipfel, President, Ward 4; Bob Rodgers, Vice President – Ward 2

Meet Your Newly Elected Commissioners

Three seats were contested in last November’s election:

Board veteran Jerry Andris was elected to another term in Ward 5, while the Commissioners welcomed two newcomers—

Jennifer LoStracco in Ward 1, and Shahidul Partha in Ward 3.

Jennifer LoStracco, Commissioner of Ward 1 Jerry Andris, Commissioner of Ward 5 Shahidul Partha, Commissioner of Ward 3

Meet Jerry Andris

A legacy of service

In the late ‘90s, Gerald “Jerry” Andris embarked on a journey that would see him become a steadfast figure in Hatfield Township’s governance. Serving as commissioner from 1998 to 2007, and later returning in 2012 to the present (Ward V), Andris has poured nearly two decades of passion into the community. In a recent interview, he shared insights into his role, experiences, and the transformative projects that define his tenure.

When asked about the role of commissioner, Andris emphasized community service, describing it as not just a duty but a genuine commitment to “serving the community, serving my neighbors.” His commitment extends to providing honest assessments and solutions while focusing on managing and shaping the future of the township to align with the community’s vision.

Reflecting on his entry into politics, Andris revealed it was an unexpected journey. Graduating from Drexel and initially working in Poughkeepsie, NY, he and his wife moved back to Hatfield in 1993. Intrigued by a letter encouraging community involvement, he took the first steps that eventually led to his many years as a commissioner. In 1998, Andris became interested in learning more about earned income taxes—which inspired him to take an active interest in local government. The drive to ensure efficient spending of community funds fueled his commitment to making a difference in Hatfield’s governance. “The money that the township collects isn’t the township’s money. It’s the community’s money,” he says. “What is the most efficient way we can spend those finances so we’re providing a good value for the residents of our community?” It’s this heartfelt perspective that has earned him respect in his role as a devoted steward of the community. His professional background in facility maintenance has also influenced his approach as a commissioner. Drawing parallels between his career and leadership, Andris emphasized efficiency, process improvement, and strategic financial management.

Accomplishments and Impact

One of the contributions he is most proud of is the Hatfield Aquatic Center. He highlighted the importance of making it an affordable and functional facility. His ongoing involvement includes monthly meetings with the pool advisory

board, ensuring the facility remains accessible and well-managed. Further demonstrating his heart for the people and community, he advocated for enhanced benefits for lifeguards and other pool employees, ensuring a positive experience for both staff and residents.

Discussing changes in Hatfield since his tenure first began, Andris noted significant growth and increased diversity. Acknowledging the evolving community needs, he emphasized the importance of adapting infrastructure, including sports facilities such as cricket fields, to cater to diverse interests.

He is proud to have played a role in completed, ongoing, and future projects, including the War Veterans Memorial, projects with Habitat for Humanity, The Garden of Health, Orvilla Road Intersection, and the Mural. He is also enthused about the township’s new police building, aimed at efficiently serving the community’s changing needs, and he is looking forward to its completion (slated for 2025). Andris also expressed pride in Hatfield’s well-maintained infrastructure, recognizing the impact of continuous improvements that enrich the township.

Community Focus

Andris addresses the challenges of local politics, emphasizing the need to keep it focused on community service rather than partisan divides. Commissioners do not have the authority to make laws or policies, and it is important for voters to consider the candidates’ individual records and qualifications rather than their party affiliation when casting ballots. By focusing on the track record and actions of the candidates, rather than their party, the com munity can ensure that they are electing individu als who are best suited to represent their interests and make informed deci sions on their behalf.

Jerry Andris’ unwavering dedication to serving as a commissioner of Hatfield Township has left an un forgettable mark on the community. His commit ment to improving the

“Commissioner Andris has been a steady force guiding Hatfield for more than two decades. His contributions are too many to list, but two of the most significant include the construction and ongoing care of the Aquatic Center, and his financial stewardship resulting in a decade without a tax increase.”
- Tom Zipfel, President

lives of its residents is truly inspiring, and his passion for community service is evident in everything he does.

As he looks forward to continued service, his impact on the community remains a testament to the transformative power of local governance and a desire to serve others.

Jerry Andris and his wife Kathy at his swearing-in in 2024 and (inset) 1998

Meet Shahidul Partha

Making Hatfield feel like home for everyone

A Journey to Hatfield

“We are excited to welcome Commissioner Partha to the board. According to the latest census, 20% of our Hatfield residents are foreign born. With the addition of Commissioner Partha, our board is a better reflection of the community we serve. We look forward to his contributions.”

The eldest of four brothers, Partha arrived in Hatfield in 2016 with his family, joining relatives who had been residing in the area since 1994. Originally from Bangladesh, Partha chose Hatfield for its welcoming community and proximity to job opportunities in the IT field. “Once I landed in the U.S. and came to Hatfield, it felt like home,” he shares.

Partha has worked as a software engineer for the Samsung R&D Institute, Comcast, and David’s Bridal, and is currently working for Hilton International, where his work consists of developing algorithms that focus on maximizing occupancy and rates for the company's reservations system.

In his leisure time, Partha finds relaxation and joy in fishing, whether it’s out in the deep sea or in local spots like Green Lane and Peace Valley.

Embracing Community Involvement

Beyond his career in IT, Partha has been an active member of the Hatfield community. He is part of the Hatfield mosque committee, contributing to seminars and spiritual sessions. Additionally, Partha dedicates time to helping community members, particularly newcomers from Bangladesh, navigate the challenges of settling into a new country and pursuing educational opportunities and careers in IT.

A Passion for Service

Hatfield Township has recently welcomed a fresh face to its leadership — Shahidul Partha, and he comes with a commitment to serve and represent Hatfield’s increasingly diverse community. Partha is the first Bangladeshi commissioner in Montgomery County, and also a proud representative of the Indian and Bangladeshi communities in Hatfield.

Partha didn’t initially have political aspirations, but his commitment to community service and the encouragement of those around him inspired him to run for commissioner. He emphasizes the importance of being involved in local government to bring positive changes and represent the voice of the community.

Now, as the newly elected commissioner for Hatfield Town-

ship’s Ward 3, Partha has specific goals for his term. He pledges to work on minimizing flood issues, avoiding tax increases, improving traffic safety, and supporting the Hatfield police. His dedication to community safety and well-being is evident as he aims to make Hatfield an even better place for its residents.

Breaking Barriers

Being the first Bangladeshi and Muslim commissioner in all of Montgomery County brings with it a sense of pride and responsibility for Partha. He acknowledges the cultural barriers that some community members face when interacting with local government but emphasizes his openness to all residents, regardless of color, religion, or race. “I am eager to learn and listen from every resident of Hatfield Township,” he says.

Bridging Gaps and Fostering Unity

Partha is determined to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and nurture an inclusive and welcoming environment for all residents. His story is one of community spirit and service. He is responsive, ready to serve and uplift the community he calls home.

Shahidul Partha and wife, Janna Tulferddusy

Meet Jennifer LoStracco

Public service in Hatfield is a natural progression

“Commissioner LoStracco is an accomplished professional with a long history of public service. We are glad she and her family chose to live in Hatfield and we know she will be an excellent addition to the Board of Commissioners.”

Hatfield Township has another new face in its local government — Jennifer LoStracco, the newly elected Commissioner of Ward 1. A resident for just over three years, Jen shares her journey of finding a place she could truly call home, and her passion for making a positive impact in her community.

LoStracco, along with her family, moved to Hatfield from Montgomery Township in search of a place with more space and a stronger sense of community. Living in a condo with restrictive rules, especially during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted the family to seek a new place to call home. Hatfield, with its welcoming neighborhood and the strength of the North Penn School District, instantly felt like the right fit for Jen and her family.

“It just felt like home as soon as we saw this neighborhood,” LoStracco says.

A Closer Look

In addition to her role as a Commissioner, LoStracco wears several hats. Her primary career is as a speech-language pathologist, working in a preschool for the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Beyond her professional life, she has been actively involved as a secretary for the Pennsylvania State Education Association Mideastern Region teachers’ union, emphasizing her commitment to education, collaboration, and community service.

LoStracco and her husband are dedicated to raising their family in Hatfield for the long term. In addition to her career and new role as Commissioner, she enjoys supporting her son’s participation in multiple sports, being actively involved in his school, and tending to the family’s two dogs.

LoStracco’s journey into public service wasn’t premeditated. While she had envisioned a role in local governance sometime in the future, possibly after retirement, the timing aligned per-

fectly for her to step into this position. Drawing inspiration from her past involvement on the board of auditors in Montgomery Township, she saw her transition to the Hatfield Commissioner position as a natural progression.

“I thought this would be a way to give back,” LoStracco says.

Goals for the Term and Community Engagement

As LoStracco embarks on her new role, she recognizes the importance of learning and growing. Currently enrolled in classes on municipal leadership offered by the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors (PATS) and the Pennsylvania Municipal League, she aims to equip herself with the knowledge needed to serve her community effectively.

“I’m just getting to know everybody, and I’m taking classes,” she says, “so my goal is to get all those classes in so I can learn as much as I can.”

She emphasizes her commitment to continuing initiatives such as Women’s History Month, an area that former Ward 3 Commissioner, Deb Zimmerman, believed in and hoped would continue beyond her term. She looks forward to maintaining the positive trajectory Hatfield is on and getting to know everyone better.

Embracing Hatfield’s Joys

LoStracco’s affection for Hatfield goes beyond her official role. Some of her favorite community activities include family and pet time at the local dog park,

engaging with her son’s elementary school, and participating in neighborhood events.

As Commissioner, she acknowledges concerns raised by residents, such as traffic and safety, and commits to addressing them through collaboration and effective communication. In terms of keeping the children of Hatfield safe, she states, “I’m concerned about our children’s overall safety with regard to motorists not adhering to signage when children are at play outside, on bikes, or traveling by other means.”

A Leader with Heart and Vision for Hatfield’s Future

LoStracco brings a blend of dedication, community spirit, and a thirst for knowledge to her role. As she steps into her position with eagerness, she aims to be a responsive and proactive leader, working towards a Hatfield that remains not only a home for her family but a thriving community for all its residents. “I’m excited," she says. "I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and I’m a good listener.”

Jen LoStracco with her husband Anthony and son Maks.

Join us for a weekend of Earth Day Celebrations


Saturday, April 27 | 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Available and FREE to Hatfield Township/Borough Residents ONLY. Must show valid ID with address. 1 visit per household. Check the Township Website and Facebook for a list of items accepted at each location.

Location 1: Hatfield Township Public Works 2590 Unionville Pike

Collected Items:

• Yard Waste & cardboard

• Tree branches (limit 1 load)

• Tires no rims (limit 4)

• Small appliances, vehicle batteries, metal pots/pans

• Shredding

Location 2: CleanEarth 2869 Sandstone Dr.

Collected Items:

• Household hazardous waste

• Oils

• Electronics/batteries (1 tv per household)



Earth Day Community Cleanup | 8 am - 12 pm

Looking to help clean up your community? Volunteer and help us clean up parks and trails in Hatfield Township! We provide gloves, vests, water and snacks. Email to sign up.

Earth Day Pop-up Event | 4 pm - 6 pm

Join us at School Road Park as we celebrate Earth Day in Hatfield Township! Enjoy nature themed games, crafts and other activities. Members of our Shade Tree Commission and Environmental Advisory Council, and other vendors will be available to provide information on various environmental topics for homeowners.





9 The most anticipated SCHOOL ROAD PARK, 1619 School Rd.
- AM Radio Band
8 - The Wonton Soups
22 - The Pennise Family Band
and drinks available
SUMMER MOVIE NIGHTS School Road Park, 1619 School Road | Movies start at approx 8:00 pm Join us for a summer of themed movie nights! Each movie night will feature a
July 12 June 28 Aug 9
AUGUST 5 - Big Chill AUGUST 19 -
Accepted Food
for purchase
by Scouts BSA Troops 229B and 229G.
fun theme with
activities beginning prior to the start of the film. Be sure
Hatfield Township Facebook Page and website for details on games, activities, times and more! Bring
family and friends, a blanket, lawn chairs and popcorn or snacks for a series of outdoor movies! Concession items, hot dogs, and drinks
for purchase.


Hatfield Township’s state-of-the-art aquatic center features a water castle, a variety of water slides for different swimming levels, a lazy river, a hydrotherapy pool, and more!

From pavilions and picnic tables to an activity center and concession stand, there is something for the whole family! To become a member and for more information, please visit

The Y @ Hatfield Township Summer Camp

North Penn YMCA runs Summer Camp for K-6th grade at School Road Park, 1619 School Road, Hatfield.

For details about The Y at Hatfield camp and registration, scan the QR code or contact or 215-368-1601.

Scan me with your phone!
Scan me with your phone!


Swimmers of all levels are welcome.

Registration is open now




Hatfield Aquatic Center

Play Ball!

Stay Connected



@Hatfield-Towamencin Baseball

@TowamencinCMB and @HatfieldALB


Hatfield-Towamencin offers a competitive and fun vertically integrated baseball program spanning Quickball through American Legion.

Spring Intramural Season (March - June)

Quickball — Ages 4-6 (Coach Pitch w/Quickball)

A: Coach Pitch — Ages 6-7

AA: Player Pitch — Ages 8-9 (46/60 Field)

Minors — Ages 9-10 (46/60 Field)

Majors — Ages 11-12 (50/70 Field)

Connie Mack & American Legion Baseball

Early Spring Connie Mack — Ages 13-16 (April-May)

Summer Connie Mack — Ages 13-16 (May-July)

Summer Junior Legion — Ages 14-16 (May-July)

Summer Senior Legion — Ages 16-19 (May-July)

Senior Connie Mack — Ages 17-40 (May-July)

Registration is quick and easy: Scan this QR code or visit

If you run into any issues, please email us right away at, and we will find a spot for your player.

*Hatfield-Towamencin Baseball and

Register for Hatfield-Towamencin
a new HTS
Souderton Area Baseball partner through combined teams at the tournament and Connie Mack levels under

2024 Parks and Recreation Programs

Get Fit Series

The Get Fit series features a variety of fitness classes such as Yoga, Zumba, Remix, and POUND. Register for sessions of these classes and meet weekly with trained instructors to improve fitness and unwind. Classes are geared towards all levels. Full list of classes available on the township website.


Pickleball is played at the Hatfield Community Park.

Pre-registration is required for all programs. All programs are tentative and subject to change or cancellation. Please check the Hatfield Township website for details and up to date information throughout the year. Register at

Seminar Series

Hatfield Township offers a variety of educational seminars. Join us and receive information and training from seminars such as “Ready, Set, Medicare,” American Red Cross Babysitting courses, Tree Pruning Workshops or First Aid and CPR courses. Details for seminars provided on the Hatfield Township website.

Fall Trail Cleanup

September 2024

Looking for volunteer hours or a way to get involved with your Hatfield community? Join us for our fall cleanup event at School Road Park. After the cleanup, all volunteers are invited to join us for a pizza party! Check the township website for details. Email hatfield@ to sign up.

CALLING ALL RUNNERS! Details, information, and registration is available at:



Dash & Splash 5K

Join us for the VERY popular Hatfield Dash & Splash 5K. Looking for something fun to break up your summer work week? Run off some steam after the work day and then jump in and have some fun with a pool party to follow. All pre-registered participants are guaranteed to receive a t-shirt, medal, and sunglasses. Day-of participants will receive these items on a first-come, first-served basis. ALL participants, regardless of registration timeframe, will receive a free Kona snow cone, a free Clemens hot dog, and private access to the Hatfield Aquatic Center after the race.

7:00 p.m. | Hatfield Aquatic Center



Fall Fest 5k

Join us for the Hatfield Fall Fest 5K. Sleep in, run a fun 5K, and then spend your afternoon at Hatfield’s Rocktoberfest Party. All pre-registered participants are guaranteed to receive a medal, campfire mug, and hot chocolate to go in it! Day-of participants will receive these items on a first-come, first-served basis. ALL participants, regardless of registration timeframe, will receive a free Clemens hot dog and all of the Rocktoberfest activities including live music, crafts, and inflatables after the race.

10:30 a.m. | Hatfield Township Admin Building


township Facebook and website for more information about special programs, activities, and events

the month to celebrate parks, trails, open space and recreation in Hatfield Township.

Check Help us celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month throughout the month of July! May 18 | 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. School Road Park



Hatfield Township residents can receive discounts on tickets to Wells Fargo Center events like:

Philadelphia Flyers Disney on Ice

Links to upcoming event registration will be posted on the Hatfield Township website and on the Hatfield Township Facebook page. Be sure to follow both and sign up for our ENews to get the latest event options and registration links. When registering, use code: HATFIELD

You’re Invited! POP UP EVENTS Plant Exchange Keep an eye on the Hatfield Township
and for details on these PopUp
Harlem Globetrotters And much more! SAVE THE DATE Rocktoberfest OCT 5 Fall Fest 5k OCT 5 Mini Monster Mania OCT 18 Santa Event DEC 14
Facebook page

Building Thrills

Bringing the fun to theme park customers all over the world has been quite a ride for Tom Rebbie and Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters.

In the township of Hatfield, a unique legacy resides at the heart of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc. The story of PTCI is not just about engineering roller coaster thrills; it's about family, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the world of amusement parks. Tom Rebbie, the proud owner, shares a tale of determination and a roller coaster ride through the company's history.

Rebbie’s story began in 1977 when he first stepped into the business, known at that time as the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. His journey, initially perceived as a temporary gig, transformed into a lifelong commitment to the amusement industry. With a hint of levity, Rebbie reflects on his early entry-level tasks of drilling holes and operating the metal bandsaw, which starkly contrasted with the leadership role he would eventually embrace.

The Family's Roller Coaster Beginnings

Originally established in Germantown in 1904, the company's headquarters shifted to Lansdale in 1971 under the guidance of owner Sam High. With nearly a century of industry experience, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company emerged as a leading coaster manufacturer.

Rebbie's entry into the company is a testament to perseverance and passion. After inquiring with the general manager numerous times about a job, he finally got his break. Taking a small pay cut, he joined the company as a drill press operator and quickly ascended to shop foreman within nine months.

The company faced challenges, including the sale of its Skee Ball division, but Tom's leadership and hard work paid off. In 1984, a successful contract to build coaster cars for an Ohio-based park led to Rebbie being elevated to the role of general manager. Long workdays were the norm, while juggling managerial duties and hands-on responsibilities, all without the aid of modern technology to help streamline and make

the processes more efficient.

A defining moment in the company’s history took place in 1991 when High presented Rebbie with an unexpected proposition: to buy the company and carry its legacy forward. Overcoming initial uncertainties, Rebbie started on a journey that involved meticulous planning, consultations with business experts, and securing financial backing. His commitment to preserving the legacy and ensuring its success is evident as he navigated the intricacies of the buyout process. The successful acquisition of the company was, as you would expect, a roller coaster ride, including all the highs and lows of purchasing a business.

A New Chapter Unfolds

Once the transaction was complete, Rebbie and the former owner held a press conference to announce the change of hands with various media present at the amusement park industry’s big trade show. With new ownership and a new name, Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc., participation at the show set the stage for a successful transition, as confidence in Rebbie's vision was affirmed, with High telling the press, “I wouldn’t have sold the company to anyone else.”

The publicity from the trade show came at the perfect time. As PTCI expanded, it became a household name in coaster manufacturing, providing cars to renowned parks like Disney, Dorney Park, Hershey Park, Knoebel’s, and Dutch Wonderland. International ventures included selling coaster cars to an amusement park in China.

With extra publicity comes extra growth. In 1999, PTCI's relocation to Hatfield marked a significant milestone in the company's history. The move doubled its size, enabling the company to support future expansion and manage a substantial inventory. This growth empowered PTCI to offer comprehensive services tailored to meet specific customer needs.

Wait—there’s more! Extra content available at
Tom and Janine Rebbie

A Legacy in the Making

Rebbie’s journey with PTCI took an unexpected twist when Janine, his daughter, faced a dilemma of balancing her career and her passion for adventure. A certified school teacher, she found herself unexpectedly immersed in the family business after a skiing trip in Vail, Colorado. Rebbie's unwavering support for her career goals paved the way for Janine's 14-year journey alongside her father, creating a strong father-daughter bond forged through shared adventures, annual ski weeks, and exposure to diverse cultures. Rebbie made it clear from the beginning - she would have to work and learn the business from the ground up. “When we first considered having Janine join the company, I assured her that this wasn’t going to be a ‘princess job’ where she got by on Dad’s coattails,” Tom shared. “She was going to have to learn the business, and she was going to have to work.” Now, when the time comes to hand over the reins, PTCI will be in good, capable hands, given the extensive experience she has attained.

Love of Community

PTCI’s engagement with the community is an important part of their culture. Projects such as building a safe for the Montgomery County SWAT unit showcase their commitment to local initiatives. Design and production of ADA devices reflect not just technical prowess but a desire to make amusement parks accessible to all.

When asking Rebbie about his favorite parts of Hatfield, other than the business that has become a significant part of his life, he expresses a special appreciation for the Hatfield Police and Fire Departments, acknowledging their crucial role in community safety. “I have a real soft spot for the work our police officers and volunteer firemen do to keep our community safe,” he stated.

Rebbie's pride shines through as he discusses his daughter, Janine, whom he has diligently mentored in every aspect of the coaster car industry. Together, they've traversed roller coasters globally, sharing a unique bond (and countless memories) grounded in their tradition of always riding by themselves in the coaster’s first car.

While winter typically signals a quiet period for amusement parks, PTCI remains bustling, fulfilling orders for parks preparing for late spring openings. As the company continues to evolve, its footprint has expanded beyond roller coaster cars. Keystone Coaster Design, an in-house subsidiary, now specializes in custom wraps for coaster cars. The company's versatility extends to diverse projects, including the manufacturing of carousel parts and the development of the ADA devices, showcasing its adaptability in the market.

As PTCI celebrates 120 years in this industry, Tom, Janine, and the company are looking forward to many more years of creating lifelong memories and building thrills for generations to come.

Hatfield Township Public Parks

Oak Park Elementary School Pennfield Middle School Preserved Open Space Clemens Food Group Hatfield Pointe Shopping Center A.M. Elementary School Hatfield Township Administration Building Hatfield Borough Administration Building Hatfield Township Public Works Hatfield Elementary School Montgomery Manor Apartments BUCKS COUNTY FRANCONIA TOWNSHIP

A.M. Kulp

Clemens Road Trail

Trail Liberty Bell Trail Fricks Trail Chestnut


Hatfield Township Public Parks

Explore the more than 100 acres of parks Hatfield Township has to offer.

Chestnut Street Trail

School Road Park to Hatfield Borough

Chestnut Street Trail Park

1950 School Road

Clemens Memorial Park

500 Fairgrounds Road

Frick’s Trail

2900 Line Lexington Road

Hatfield Aquatic Center 2500 N. Chestnut Street

Hatfield Community Park 2500 N. Chestnut Street

Hatfield Dog Park

2500 N. Chestnut Street

Hatfield Township Arboretum

830 Princeton Place

Hatfield Township Nature Area

1575 Cowpath Road

Lenhart Road Preservation Area

2509 Lenhart Road

Liberty Bell Trail 76 E. Broad Street

Melody Brook Park 2772 Lenhart Road

School Road Park

1619 School Road

Schweiker Park 1275 Moyer Road

Shade Tree Commission Nursery 2310 Stratford Avenue

Stratford Avenue Park 2201 Stratford Avenue

Walnut Street Cabin 2991 E. Walnut Street
Lansdale HospitalJefferson Health
Elementary School
Hatfield, A.M. Kulp, Oak Park Elementary Schools Playground can be used after school hours as long as the After School Care Program is not using it. Township Municipal Authority
and Roads Railroads
Clemens Road Trail Liberty Bell Trail Fricks Trail Chestnut
Trail Fire Companies
Township Borders Streets
To find your ward and polling location, visit your_government/board_of_commissioners.
Liberty Bell Trail
Fricks Trail
Chestnut Street Trail


Faced with a life or death situation, Matt DeCesare made a split-second decision to dive in and help. His quick action helped save a life—and earned him recognition as a Hatfield Hero.

Tom Pepe was in the last leg of an afternoon run near his Montgomery Township home on Friday, November 17, 2023, when he collapsed by the side of the road. Hatfield resident Matt DeCesare and his wife, Risa, happened to be driving on Lansdale Avenue and saw Tom go down. Thinking at first he had turned an ankle, Matt jumped out of the car to help, and soon realized the situation was much more serious: Tom was in cardiac arrest.

Risa quickly dialed 911, while Matt—with no formal CPR training—jumped in and started chest compressions. Soon another bystander arrived on the scene to help in an unusual way: by singing the BeeGees’ song, Stayin’ Alive. The song is widely recognized as a means of keeping a steady beat for compressions. [You can’t make this stuff up; Google it for yourself].

In just a few short minutes, Matt and his musical helper were joined by EMTs from the Volunteer Medical Service Corps, who took over and continued to work at reviving Tom. A few minutes later, his vital signs improved to the point he could be transported. After a procedure to place a stent and a short hospital stay, Tom was released the following Monday—in time to be home for Thanksgiving with his family.

That Friday, Roseanne Pepe was about to leave to pick up her grandson when she saw police cars and an ambulance on Lansdale Avenue. In fact, Montgomery Township police had blocked off the end of her street, and a crowd had begun to gather. She thought at first someone had got hit by a car, but when she got closer she recognized her husband’s running shoes—and nearly

had a heart attack herself.

She rushed to the scene and met Matt DeCesare as the EMTs were working on Tom. “It was remarkable how calm he was based on what had just happened,” she says. “It was so impressive, because he had never taken a CPR class. He said he knew roughly where to place his hands, but that was about it.”

Matt DeCesare currently operates a busy car detailing business, but he also has experience as a skydiving instructor. He has jumped out of airplanes about 8,000 times—which may help explain why he was able to remain so calm in such a stressful situation.

“When something like this happens, you have to


“I had no memory of the incident to the day I left the hospital. The thing that struck me most about Matt was when he told me, three weeks later, ‘If I couldn’t do anything else, at least I could be there, and you wouldn’t die alone.’ Few people think like that, and we are all fortunate to have him.”

Do you know the next Hatfield Hero?

Enjoying a “reunion” a few weeks after the incident were (l to r) Tom Pepe, Matt DeCesare, Risa DeCesare, and Roseanne Pepe.

take a deep breath so you can think it through,” he says. “I have a lot of empathy for humans, and when I saw [Tom] go down, I knew I was meant to be in that position that day. I knew I had to do whatever I could.”

The Hatfield Township Board of Commissioners honored Matt as a true Hatfield Hero prior to their meeting on January 3, 2024. In addition to recognizing Matt and Risa, the board also awarded “Hatfield Hero” medals to the first responders from VMSC and Montgomery Township Police who assisted at the scene.

“You embody the best of Hatfield Township,”

Commissioners President Tom Zipfel told Matt that night, noting that the experience “connects [you and Tom] forever.”

Roseanne Pepe is certainly grateful for that connection. “It restores your faith in humanity, in people,” she says. “There’s a lot of ugliness out there in the world, but this has given me great faith.”

Having a few weeks after the incident to reflect also gave Matt DeCesare some perspective.

“It’s a weird feeling to be called a hero,” he says. “I reacted as a human. If people had more empathy for each other, and slowed down a little, we would all be better for it.”

You don’t have to save some one’s life to be a Hatfield Hero— you just need to make a difference in someone’s life. If you know a Hatfield resident who is making a difference in big or small ways, nominate them to be the next Hatfield Hero. Send an email to hatfieldhero@ and tell us why they are deserving, or use the QR code here.

Hatfield Hero presentation

Use this QR code to watch the Commissioners’ January 3 recognition of Matt DeCesare on the Hatfield Township YouTube channel.

Wait—there’s more! Extra content available at

Doing our Part

Hatfield Township joins a growing list of municipalities providing direct support to VMSC.

It was only a few minutes after Risa DeCesare dialed 911 on her phone on November 17, 2023—the day that Tom Pepe collapsed (see page 18)—that a VMSC EMT arrived at her husband Matt’s side and relieved him of his CPR duties, continuing the life-saving treatment that would bring Tom back from cardiac arrest.

Yes, Matt DeCesare was a Hatfield Hero that day. He jumped from his car and bravely began chest compressions. But the VMSC EMTs who responded so quickly and finished the job of reviving Tom Pepe are Hatfield Heroes too. We salute them for responding to the medical emergency needs of our residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

It wasn’t long ago that VMSC Emergency Medical Services, whose headquarters is in Hatfield Township, was formulating a plan to avoid closing down and halting services to our community. In 2021, VMSC had a systemwide average response time that exceeded 16 minutes and only operated 1.8 ambulances on average. Today, VMSC’s average systemwide response time is well below eight minutes, and it operates seven ambulances to serve the 120,000 people who live and work in the North Penn area.

A crucial step in helping VMSC find a more stable financial footing has been the addition of direct municipal funding. Over the past two years, VMSC has requested direct funding from the municipalities that benefit from VMSC ambulance services. Hatfield Township is proud to be part of this effort, designating $100,000 in its 2024 budget for VMSC—helping to ensure that our community continues to have dependable, high-quality ambulance services.

You could be the next hero

Hatfield Hero Matt DeCesare’s story is a prime example why everyone should learn CPR. Someone driving down the street recognized what was happening and knew what to do— ultimately helping to save Tom Pepe’s life. Do you want to learn CPR and be better prepared to respond to an emergency like this? Maybe your business, group or organization would like to learn CPR together?

The VMSC is here to help. If you would like to know more about CPR classes for yourself or a group, contact VMSC Assistant Chief Jeff Owler at for more information.

VMSC Chief Shane Wheeler

A New Home for the HPD

Hatfield’s finest will soon have a new state-of-the-art station.

The Hatfield Township Board of Commissioners in December approved bids for the construction of a new police station to house the Hatfield Police Department, which serves both the township and Hatfield Borough. The new police station will be located on Cowpath Road across from the Snyder Square Shopping Center. Groundbreaking took place in March, with completion scheduled for late 2025.

The new facility will replace an outdated facility currently located on School Road across from the township building. The existing police station was built in the 1970s and lacks modern amenities that support safe and effective policing.

The new police station will also provide improved access and safety for residents using the Hatfield Township Nature Preserve, including new walking trail access from residential areas to the east.

The new building will include a number of safety features, including:

• secured areas, a sally port, and upgraded personnel protection

• secured parking area for police and personal vehicles

• separate secure juvenile detention area

• upgraded holding cells

• secure, climate-controlled evidence room

• ADA-compliant

• EV charging stations


all is {bright]


nearly a quarter century, the Michael family’s Christmas display has been lighting up the sky and generating millions of smiles in the community. This year they hit the big time—with a win on ABC’s popular show, TheGreatChristmasLightFight.

When Brian Michael was growing up in Bensalem in the 1970s, his family decorated their apartment for Christmas to the hilt. One year, the apartment complex announced a Christmas decorating contest—and Brian went all out. A blow mold Santa and sleigh outside, above the front door. A blow mold nativity set. A huge Christmas tree on the exterior wall. Lights everywhere.

The Michael family’s apartment was awarded the 1st place ribbon—and Brian’s passion

for Christmas lights was ignited. In 2023, that passion came full circle—the locally famous Michael Family Christmas Display went national, finishing in 1st place again and bringing home the coveted Christmas Bulb Trophy on Season 11 of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight.

“We are a preserver of Christmas past,” Brian said to host and judge Taniya Nayak during their segment of the show, “so that others can enjoy it for generations to come.”

Brian had two goals in applying to be on the

show. One of them was to show that an old school Christmas display featuring vintage blow molds was still relevant and worthy of recognition.

Mission accomplished. The display has almost 700 blow molds, including four complete choirs, and Nayak repeatedly gushed about them during her tour of the display. “I just love the vintageness of everything,” she said. “It reminds me of old school Christmas.”

Brian’s larger objective, however, was to use the Christmas display’s popularity as a platform


to raise awareness about Ataxia, a neurological disorder that his wife Kim was diagnosed with 10 years ago. Ataxia eventually causes nerve damage and impede’s motor skills and speech. Relatively little is known about the disease, and there is no cure; doctors can only manage the symptoms. Kim no longer actively participates in setting up the display—Brian is ably assisted by his teenage kids, daughter Elyse and son Joe—but she helps oversee the process and provides lots of encouragement.

Brian and Kim asked the show’s producers to promote the National Ataxia Foundation during the broadcast, and while they did mention Kim’s condition, they didn’t do so by name. Undeterred, Brian added signs with QR codes around their yard to raise awareness and encourage voluntary donations to Ataxia research.

“The show’s producers love a story,” Kim says. “I was pleased with the way the display, and my condition, were presented in the final cut of our segment.”

Perseverance pays off

That “final cut” almost never happened. It is not an easy thing to get on the show; contestants have applied five times or more and still not been chosen. Filming begins in October and is completed by mid-December for all contestants. The Michaels had always thought about applying for the show, but never did. In the summer of 2017, they came home from a Jersey shore vacation and had a voicemail from a producer encouraging them to apply. By the time Brian convinced himself to go for it, the message was accidentally deleted from their answering machine.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021. Casting was underway for the upcoming season. The Michaels applied—and found out Labor Day weekend they didn’t make the first cut. But the producer told them to hold out hope; the Michaels were an alternate, and typically, one or two contestants drop out every year.

Sure enough, a week later the producer called back—the Michaels were in. Now, the big hurdle was to be ready for filming in early November.

“I was nervous about applying, I was nervous about getting the display up in time, I was nervous about how we would look on TV,” Brian says.

Turns out all that nervousness was for nothing. The Michaels' segment looked as good to judge Taniya Nayak as it looked to the rest of us—and the trophy (and a check for $50,000) was theirs.

Rock star status

How has the big win and national TV exposure changed the Michaels’ lives? For starters, Brian gets recognized everywhere he goes. He was in a store recently and a little boy saw him. “You’re the guy with the Christmas lights!” the boy said. “We’re coming to your house tonight!”

A 19-year-old who decorates his home in Collegeville saw the segment on TV and began visiting to learn more about the display. “He said our display inspired him to apply for the show,” Brian says. People also ring the doorbell now and then and ask to see the trophy.

Word of mouth about the display brings visitors from around the world (Japan, Russia, and Germany this year alone). Retirement communities bring busloads of seniors. “Thank you for bringing me back to my childhood,” one told Brian recently. And the community—well, let’s just say this year the Michaels needed help with traffic control, which was supplied by volunteers from the Colmar Volunteer Fire Company (see sidebar, right).

Brian is grateful for the patience of his neighbors during the Christmas season, but he believes the community benefit outweighs the inconveniences. “The community gets as excited about this as we do,” he says. “We feel it puts our community in a good light.”

Colmar’s Christmas spirit

Buzz about the Michael family being on the GreatChristmasLightFight drew even bigger crowds than usual to Kimberly Way this year, creating a need for traffic control—and the Colmar Volunteer Fire Company stepped up to help out. Colmar VFC President Doug Cervi met with Brian in advance to plan strategy, Assistant Chief Tim Youells coordinated scheduling, and Fire Police Captain Bill Hodson, Lt. Scott Sovocool and Deputy Chief Mark Vaillancourt were on site most nights. Michael family friends Zach and Chris Depew also assisted with traffic control. The Michaels and Hatfield Township are grateful to you all!

Want to know more?

People are always curious about the Michael Family Christmas display.

• Where do you store all those blow molds?

• How much does your electric bill go up at Christmas time?

• How many miles of extension cords do you use?

We have LOTS more pictures, video and information about the Michael Family Display that wouldn’t fit here, but we’re going to have it ALL in the digital edition of The Hatfield Connection, which will be available soon after the print issue. To access, scan this code with your phone.


The Early Villages of Hatfield Township

Before there was a township, there were villages.

Avillage is defined as “a small group of houses in a country area,” but unlike cities, townships, and boroughs, villages have no defined boundaries. The first village to be established in Hatfield Township was on its oldest road, the Bethlehem Pike, which opened in 1714. Around 1763, the first stagecoach line was established on the road to run between Philadelphia and Bethlehem, with a stop in Hatfield Township, where Bethlehem Pike meets County Line Road. This stop was known as Housekeepers, and soon a village grew there. Housekeepers village later became known as Middletown, since it was the approximate half-way point on the stage-route. This was an important stop since it was where a change of horses was made, and passengers had the opportunity to dine. In 1850, the village was renamed Line Lexington, the name it holds today.

A second village grew on Bethlehem Pike in Hatfield, just south of Line Lexington – Hatfield Square. This village was located around the intersection of today’s Bethlehem Pike and Trewigtown Road. A large hotel at this intersection was operated by Jacob Trewig from 1832 to 1847, and the name of the village was

changed to Trewigtown around 1900 in honor of the former hotel owner. Time, however, has erased Trewigtown’s recognition as a village.

Another early village in Hatfield Township was Hockertown, located on County Line Road, generally between today’s Bergey Road and Unionville Pike. Named after Martin Hocker, Jr. who owned a farm, tavern, and several houses in that area, Hockertown shows up on a map as early as 1848. By 1877, the village was renamed Unionville, but by 1893, Unionville had also lost its recognition as a village.

In 1856, the arrival of a new railroad line, with three stations placed in Hatfield Township, spurred the growth of more villages in Hatfield. One station was placed on the southern edge of the Township, where the railroad crossed the Welsh Road. This was also where a spur line originated that went to Doylestown. This station was named Lansdale after railroad survey engineer Philip Lansdale Fox. A village quickly grew around this station as people were drawn by the convenience of easy access to public transportation. Lansdale village grew so fast that in 1872, it became a Borough, and Hatfield Township lost its southern corner.

Another station, named Hatfield, was placed almost in the center of Hatfield Township where the railroad crossed the Cowpath Road. People settled around the Hatfield station, and this village was called Hatfield Centre. Later, the Hatfield train station was moved north a short distance and a new village, known as Upper Hatfield, grew around the relocated station. (Hatfield Centre then became known as Lower Hatfield.) In 1898, these two villages joined together and incorporated into the Borough of Hatfield.

The third station was placed where the Doylestown spur line crossed the Bethlehem Pike. This station was called Line Lexington and a village soon grew around it. As the village grew, it needed its own name to avoid confusion with the village of Line Lexington, a short distance to the north. So in 1871, the station, and the village, were renamed Colmar.

Around 1884, a small train station was added on the Doylestown spur, between Lansdale and Colmar, near where the tracks crossed Walnut Street. The station was apparently named in memory of a cow named Fortuna, which was struck by one of the trains on the line. A small village, named Fortuna, grew near the station, but after the station was moved to the Cowpath Road crossing in the 1900s, the village name was lost.

In 1889, the railroad added a small station at the Orvilla Road crossing, about halfway between the Lansdale and Hatfield station. By 1893, a small cluster of homes near the station gained “hamlet” status (which is a settlement even smaller than a village) named Orvilla. Eventually, even Orvilla’s lowly “hamlet” status was forgotten.

To learn more of Hatfield’s fascinating history, schedule a visit to the Hatfield History Museum at, or call 215-362-0428.

Trewigtown Hotel c.1912

Planning America’s 250th birthday party

The Hatfield250 planning team is making sure there’s plenty to celebrate locally, too.

On July 4, 2026, our nation will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A nonpartisan initiative called America250 has been created to plan and orchestrate 250th anniversary celebrations across the United States. A Pennsylvania commission, America250PA, was established by the legislature in 2018 to coordinate commemorations throughout the state.

The Hatfield Museum and History Society, Hatfield Borough and Hatfield Township formed a 250th committee in May 2022. The committee intends to inform Hatfield residents about the historical, political, and societal intricacies involved in the founding of our country, telling the story through the experiences of the people: what they saw, heard, and felt. This will be a multi-year effort engaging the public in celebrations, informative discussions, classroom initiatives, parades, displays, games—and a few surprises.

Some of the celebrations currently being planned include:

• Creation of historical programs and displays for Hatfield schools

• Produce a 1776 Hatfield residents map and locate living descendants

• Commemoratives sales

• Website and social media account management

• Discussion panels on the Declaration of Independence

• Parade planning

• Hatfield history presentations

There are three things the Hatfield250 team is in particular need of as it plans these celebrations:


• Donations

• Ideas

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