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Plan to transform Markvue Manor park revised

Joe Napsha
| Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, 5:15 p.m.

Reviving the neighborhood park in Markvue Manor from a “state of disrepair” into a usable green space with a small ballfield, pavilion, basketball court, hillside slide and walking trails could cost more than $400,000, a recreation consultant told North Huntingdon officials.

“The existing pavilion is not in great shape. The old ballfield is pretty overgrown with three-foot-high weeds. The basketball court is overgrown,” Richard P. Rauso, a Trafford landscape architect contracted to design a plan for the park, told the commissioners last week.

Rauso presented a scaled-down version of the master plan he developed in July. Rauso was hired after residents in Markvue Manor asked the commissioners to make the former neighborhood playground a usable park.

Mike Turley, assistant township manager, suggested the commissioners wait before making a decision on rehabbing the park until a comprehensive plan for parks and recreation is completed.

“This needs to compete with other parks for money,” Turley said. The cost of the revamping of the park may be very high for the benefit received, he noted.

Even if the township were to spend money to rehabilitate the playground, Rauso said there is the issue of access to the park. Access off Cornwall Drive would have to cross a piece of private property. An eight-foot-wide drive down into the park is overgrown.

The walk-in park has no available land to create parking spaces, Rauso said.

“It is critical to provide some sort of access” to make the park usable, Rauso said. If an access is not created, people will find their way down into the park through paths, Rauso said.

Providing handicapped accessibility is critical if the township were seeking any government funding for the project, Rauso said.

Of the park's five acres, only about 1.5 acres would be usable, Rauso said.

A 2004 survey of local residents found that they wanted walking trails, a new picnic area and new playground.

If the township were to create only walking trails in the park, without the other amenities, it would cost slightly more than $202,000, and about $12,000 a year in maintenance, Rauso said. That cost estimate does not include any money for acquiring easements through private property, Rauso said.

He estimated that maintenance costs for the various amenities would run about $15,000 a year.

Markvue Manor resident Steve Wagel suggested that a volunteer effort to help rehabilitate the park would lower the cost.

The township had taken ownership of the site about 15 years ago, when a Markvue Manor civic association stopped operating, Commissioner Rich Gray said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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