Conceptual plans released for 2 new Hempfield parks |

Conceptual plans released for 2 new Hempfield parks

Megan Tomasic
A rendering for conceptual plans for Walden Court Drive.

Walking trails, sports fields and playgrounds are in the works for two new Hempfield parks.

Initial plans show ideas for one property off the Walden Court cul-de-sac not far from West Hempfield Elementary and another 17-acre parcel off Route 136 adjacent to Hempfield Area High School. The plans were presented to township supervisors at a work session Wednesday by Pittsburgh-based Mackin Engineering, who the township hired for about $55,300 in April to design plans for the lots.

Engineers made way for wetlands, passive and active play areas and pathways in the almost 4-acre Walden Court lot. According to a rendering for the site, the wetland area, which will work as stormwater control, will be in the middle of the lot. Raised platforms and walkways will connect to a perimeter walkway.

Three passive play areas are slated for the area, two of which could house pavilions and picnic areas. The space closest to the cul-de-sac could have a play area for small children while the space on the other side of the wetland area could be an open play space surrounded by a meadow with native plants and a potential butterfly garden and botanical walk.

Another passive play space located closest to West Hempfield Elementary School could consist of “nature-based” play activities, the rendering shows, including a climbing area. This space could be connected to the school, giving access to students and teachers.

An active play area shown near parking spaces off of the cul-de-sac has a playground, picnic area and open play space.

The Route 136 property could house sports courts, exercise trails and areas for playing and biking. Renderings were not available for the site, but engineers hope to use the space as an area to connect the community together, taking advantage of the close proximity of Hempfield Area High School and Fort Allen Elementary School.

Public input sought

Area residents will have the opportunity to give their input on the project during Monday’s public meeting at the Hempfield Township Municipal Building, 1132 Woodward Drive. Plans will be available for viewing at public events over the next few months, and a meeting closer to Walden Court is being planned.

Officials hope to finalize plans by November.

The move to create a community area near the high school was previously discussed in 2001, when the township contracted with Astorino Pellis Architects of Greensburg to build a $17 million recreation center.

Supervisors stopped preliminary plans after questions arose about the scope of the project and the architect’s $1.2 million fee.

The township has moved forward with other projects since, including the athletic complex in 2012 and pending improvements to parks thanks to state grants.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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