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Groups that use Penn fields will pay cleanup costs

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Organizations using the Penn Township Municipal Park fields for tournaments will have to pay up for cleanup work.

Township commissioners, including Larry Harrison, who is chairman of the recreation commission, decided the park's weekend appearance is paramount by having public-works employees clean the restrooms and garbage cans.

Township officials said they could face a grievance if volunteers complete the work instead of the unionized workers.

It costs the township $304 for each weekend day for two employees to work four hours at time-and-a-half to keep the park clean during tournaments, officials said.

“It's going to be a clean park for all residents of Penn Township, and that's no ifs, ands or buts,” Harrison said.

When the fees take effect next year, groups that use four or more fields will pay $500 per weekend and those that use three or fewer will pay $150. Those fees likely won't cover the entire expense but will return some of the money to the township's coffers.

For this year, the Penn Township Athletic Association, or PTAA, and Trafford Level Green Athletic Association will pay flat fees of $500 and $75, respectively, because they hadn't budgeted for cleanup fees, commission members said.

PTAA, which has four large tournaments planned for 2014, would have been liable for $2,000 if the fee were implemented fully for this year.

“You're told about a bill that you hadn't planned for,” board member Phil Kochasic said. “It's hard to overcome that.”

Park plan

The next development phase at the municipal park would include new playground equipment, a new sand volleyball court and a refurbished basketball court if the township receives a state grant.

With an estimated cost of $300,000, the plan township officials are considering would replace the 18-year-old Warrior Wonderland playground, install a volleyball area near the recently completed dog park and replace an aging basketball court.

Cheryl Kemerer, director of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission, is planning to apply in April for a grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that would cover half of the cost of the phase.

Township commissioners are expected to vote on March 12 or 17 to finalize the scope of the grant application. In February, they decided not to proceed with previous suggestions for developing an amphitheater, tennis courts or new restrooms near the dog park.

Park coordinator

A part-time park coordinator might begin work in mid-May to oversee facility rentals and complete other tasks designated by the recreation commission, including preparations for the Fall Festival in September.

The board agreed to advertise for the position, which is expected to pay $9 an hour for 22 hours of work per week.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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