South Park Fairgrounds to receive $1M makeover
Contractors are set to begin work next month to renovate the South Park Fairgrounds, starting with the oval track and its deteriorating bleachers.
They will get the go-ahead to start work in mid-May on a $1 million effort to remove the crumbling concrete bleachers that overlook the oval; resurface the track; upgrade the fencing and backstops for the baseball, softball and general-purpose fields on the “infield” of the track; rotate one of those fields so batters aren't facing the sun; and plant grass and shrubbery to make the area greener and easier to maintain.
“It's finally going from a fairground to a real recreational use,” said Ron Schipani, acting executive director of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, which worked with the county and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to get the money for the project. “It's going to be a lot more functional and a lot more beautiful.”
Despite its name, the oval hasn't hosted a county fair in more than 30 years, and the biggest competitions there tend to be rib cook-offs.
Schipani said there is no longer a need for the large banks of bleachers on the hillside leading down from the parking lots and Brownsville Road.
“The big bleachers up along the slope were OK back in the '30s and '40s when they had big events like the fair,” he said.
They will be replaced with smaller bleachers near each of the playing fields, with a better view of the individual sports.
The bleacher stairways, which are popular with walkers and runners, will be replaced with wider stairs descending from the parking lot.
The track will be resurfaced from cinders to a firmer, more stable crushed stone mix, similar to what's found on local bike trails, Schipani said.
Trees, shrubs and meadow grass will replace the grassy slope and county logos made of recycled plastic materials on the other long side of the oval. Other plantings will cover deteriorating retaining walls that could be repaired as part of another project.
Andrew Baechle, director of Allegheny County Parks, said all the activities and sports normally scheduled for the oval have been suspended through the winter, though work is expected to be completed by late fall.
The work is part of a larger plan to restore the park to a more natural state, including unfunded projects to restore Catfish Run, the stream that runs in a culvert alongside the oval.
Some of the older, more dilapidated buildings that were part of the fairgrounds will be demolished, and parking areas will be replaced and supplemented with rainwater-absorbing pavements.
Dave Buchewicz, chairman of the Friends of South Park, said he is pleased to see the oval improvements moving forward after years of work to develop a master plan for the park.
“It's great for the park, something we've been looking forward to for the last couple of years,” he said. “That piece there, it's a focal point … it will probably entice more people to use it and rent the buildings down there.”
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Closing elementary school building to become preschool in Moon Area
- Mt. Lebanon High School renovation project nears completion after 3 years
- Programs help girls in Pittsburgh area find pre-owned prom dresses
- Owners of self-storage complex seek variances to build in Dormont
- 6 candidates vie for 3 seats on Dormont Council
- Ban on feeding deer first step in Mt. Lebanon, says consultant
- Young Achiever: Gia Veltre
- Young Achievers: John Bal and Rocco Maue