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North Irwin Playground ballfield needs more work than anticipated

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 8:05 p.m.

It may take a lot more than a $4,000 donation to bring the ballfield at North Irwin Playground up to par.

Council planned to refurbish the field this summer, after Shorkey Family Auto Group donated $4,000 to the borough, but several contractors gave officials high estimates to address the field's deplorable condition, according to council President Kim Macalus.

Macalus said crews need to remove weeds from the baseball field, level the infield, and lay a new coat of clay and sand mixture on the infield. The outfield drainage system does not work properly, allowing water to pool, she added.

The borough received several estimates, ranging from $15,000 to $80,000, to repair the field and its outfield drainage system, Macalus said.

Macalus said the entire field needs to be excavated and graded, before installing drainage, to keep the water from pooling.

Despite the weather, it's not unusual to find water lying on the field, she said.

“We didn't think it would cost too much to do, especially with the donation from Shorkey,” Macalus said. “The water is so bad that it needs drains installed the entire way around it.”

Councilman Matt Berkhouse said the field features a French drainage system in the outfield, which is not working properly.

“This is an enormous project, because we'd have to run an eight-inch French drain along that entire outfield,” Berkhouse said. “Logistically, it's not feasible.”

Council plans to hold on to the $4,000 donation, and continue discussing what can be done to repair the ballfield, Macalus said.

Although the donation from Shorkey will help, Macalus said the field would require the entire community's involvement to rehabilitate.

“This would have to become a ‘save our park' style project,” Macalus said. “It'd have to become a big deal.”

Council plans to discuss the ball fields during its meeting on July 8.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or

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