Soccer club eyes upgrades to Middle Road fields in Indiana Township
Hampered by soggy field conditions, Fox Chapel Area Youth Soccer is launching a plan to upgrade the Middle Road complex that accommodates more than 700 athletes each season.
“The soaking rains over the years have made field conditions difficult to maintain,” club President Jake Williams said.
The fields sit on a shale bed with only a few inches of topsoil and no crowning to divert water. The mid-section has been compacted by play and that’s created a swimming pool effect, Williams said.
An initial analysis by consultants National Grass Advisory Group identified the problem as a build-up of decomposed grass and leaves from the field’s 30-year life.
“This material is powder-firm when dry, but becomes a slop when wet,” Williams said.
Members previously tried elevating the mid-field with topsoil and using clay to help absorb the water, but it didn’t work.
They also considered turf, but its $500,000 price tag wasn’t doable, Williams said.
The group has contracted an intensive study on how to make the field safer and more usable.
A capital campaign will be considered, depending on the estimated cost for repairs.
Fox Chapel Area Youth Soccer runs more than 60 teams for children age six to 13. The fall and spring seasons see as many as 800 players each year, Williams said, most of which play games at the township-owned Middle Road complex.
Township Manager Dan Anderson said he is aware of the study and said supervisors traditionally work with the organizations that use township property.
They would consider donations or other assistance if requested.
With field playability affected, the club has received concerns from parents, Williams said.
“We want people to know that we’re responsive to their complaints,” he said.
The fall soccer season begins in August and runs just over two months.
“We’ve been spending $10,000 a year to keep up, fertilize, aerate and top-dress the field and it’s not really doing it,” he said. “The Middle Road complex is home to our club. We want it to be enjoyed and appreciated as a safe and playable facility for all resident children.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .