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Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA)
A series of state grants will allow Hempfield to upgrade the township's main park, including the addition of a sixth pavilion to meet demand for parties and picnics.
A $212,000 allotment from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation grant program will allow the township to add lights to the upper soccer fields off Forbes Trail Road, along with new fencing, bleachers, goals and a building for restrooms and a concessions stand. The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2017.
Another $215,000 Greenways grant will help build a new pavilion.
"Our pavilions are open from April through November. And from the end of May until October, all five pavilions are rented every weekend," said Jason Winters, director of parks and recreation. "That showed us why we needed to add another pavilion to the park."
The newest pavilion will be between pavilions D and E. Winters said it will include a full kitchen, similar to the one recently renovated at Pavilion E to include a commercial-grade stove, microwave and food-prep surfaces. The new Pavilion F is expected to be completed by 2018.
The new kitchen and accessible restroom at Pavilion E are complete, though the township intends to paint, repave the surrounding access road and install new picnic tables before the pavilion reopens for the 2017 season.
The township is already working on the realignment and renovation of the park's lower baseball field, which had been dedicated to Pirates Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski since the late 1960s. A donation from the Pirates will help make the field and dugouts accessible to people with disabilities. Work is expected to be completed before a rededication ceremony in the spring.
The township is waiting to find out if it will get another grant to make similar improvements and add lighting to a second baseball field in the park.
"Lighting lets you add field time, and field time is hard to get," said Russ Remaley, a former officer with the Hempfield Area Athletic Association. "The fields just get gobbled up."
At least six Hempfield athletic teams use Mazeroski field and four use the second field, in addition to adult recreation leagues and other travel-league teams, he said.
Township Manager Andrew Walz said the improvements are being paid for entirely by the grants and the Hempfield Parks Fund, a part of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. The fund accepts donations from individuals but also takes contributions from developers in lieu of including less green space than the state requires when building new projects.
Part of another $460,000 state transportation grant will pay for improvements to the walking track along Woodward Drive near the municipal building. The project will include better barriers between pedestrians and vehicles.
"We have people who crash through those wooden barriers on a regular basis," Walz said.
The current phase of the parks master plan also calls for more soccer fields to eventually be built south of the existing fields and the addition of a dog park across from the upper baseball field.
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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