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Tom Tudek Memorial Park Trust

Tom Tudek Memorial Park
Named Best Park in State College magazine's 2018 readers poll

At 91.5 acres, Tom Tudek Memorial Park is Ferguson Township’s largest park, with 30 acres of active recreation area and 61.5 acres of passive parkland. A place of extraordinary beauty, Tudek also features the three-acre Snetsinger Butterfly Garden, community gardens, shared use paths, horse pastures, and a park where dogs can run off leash – making it like no other park in the area. 

The farmland where Tudek Park stands nearly fell into the lap of a developer intent on building a shopping mall. Not only did residents in the area fight it, but Bob and Elsie Tudek, whose house borders the property, had a special interest in preserving that land. To protect it from development, they bought 62 acres of what had been the Dreibelbis Farm.

When Ferguson Township received a $265,000 fee-in-lieu of parkland and a $100,000 Commonwealth of PA grant to acquire land and develop a park, then Ferguson Township Manager Mark Kunkle asked the Tudeks in 1990 if they would be willing to sell some of their land to the Township for the purpose of developing a 10- acre park. The Tudeks welcomed this request with a generous offer: If Ferguson Township bought 20 acres of the Dreibelbis farmland, they would donate the remaining 42 acres. 

The park’s covenants stipulated that only 20 of the original acres are to be used for active recreation, no pesticides or herbicides are permitted, and the park would remain sustainable. If the park were ever to revert to another use, ownership would be transferred from the Township to the Clearwater Conservancy and the Commonwealth of PA would be entitled to a refund of its grant money. 

To ensure that Tudek Park remains sustainable, the Tudek family donated $10,000 each year for 10 years to endow the Tom Tudek Memorial Park Trust. This dedicated 501(3)c charitable trust fund -- established in June 1993 and managed by trustees of Tudek Park -- assists with capital expenditures that include improvements to paths, the rental house, and dog park, as well as maintenance costs of the butterfly garden, and horse barn.  This fund also includes expenditures for general liability insurance on the rental house and barn.  Revenue for this fund comes from gifts, bequeaths and contributions, rental fees charged for the farmhouse on the property, and fees charged to board horses at the barn.

Through generous donations by the Tudek family and others, the trust has paid for an additional 16 acres of wooded area, 23 acres that include the Dreibelbis farm homestead, renovations to the rented farmhouse and barn, the community gardens, horse pastures, and the dog park. The Tudek Park Trust also paid for the park’s perimeter plan, the Tom Tudek memorial location, the Tudek Arboretum, and the Kunkle Overlook.

From 1992 through 1999, the Township designed and constructed the utilities, parking area, restroom and storage building, picnic pavilion, basketball court, tot play area and multi-purpose athletic field. 

Tom Tudek Memorial Park was named in memory of the Tudeks’ late son. Tudek and its Snetsinger Butterfly Garden share a story that illustrates the role such facilities play in the life and health of a community. They represent the preservation of farmland. And they represent two families – Dr. Robert "Butterfly Bob" and Wendy Snetsinger and their close friends, the Tudeks – who sought to preserve this land for future children in memory of their own, Clare Snetsinger and Tom Tudek. Both 17 when they died, they were friends who loved butterflies from the time they were very young. 

Tom Tudek Memorial Park brings people together on shared walking and biking paths, on playgrounds and ballfields, in community gardens and picnic pavilions, and in a dog park and butterfly garden that both border horse pastures. There is no other park like it in the Centre Region.

If Tudek Park is your recreation destination, give where you live and where you play. mail your donation via check to: Ferguson Township Municipal Building Attn: Tom Tudek Memorial Park Trust, 3147 Research Drive State College, PA 16801

Thank you for your support!

Tom Tudek Memorial Park amenities

Learn more about the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden