Lancers hope to transform site into place for playing football
ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP: A youth football organization has volunteered to do thousands of dollars in improvements during the next five to seven years at a proposed ballfield in the township.
In the past five years, the Kiski Valley Lancers youth football organization has more than doubled to 230 football players and cheerleaders, and it's getting hard to fit all the teams on their Vandergrift practice field, said Lancers president Mark George.
The group heard about the new field site in Allegheny Township - now a coal refuse pile with mini-mountains of donated topsoil - and decided to join efforts after not being able to find affordable property, George said.
The field site is off Pine Camp Road in Allegheny Township, on almost 80 acres transferred to the township in a developer's agreement from the nearby Hawk Valley housing development.
Allegheny Township has no public football fields, said Supervisor Howard Baybrook. The township has a small soccer and T-ball field, as well as a Little League field. Soccer leagues use Northmoreland County Park, also in Allegheny Township.
In a best-case scenario, the new field will be ready for use by fall 2003, Baybrook said.
Environmental consultants The Weavertown Group of Houston, Pa., gave the field a clean environmental report last month. A different firm, Environmental Planning and Design of Pittsburgh, will design the field and give supervisors options for field layouts by next month, Baybrook said.
A high-tension electrical wire runs over the property, but Baybrook said architects haven't laid out the field plans. That wire likely would go over a parking lot, Baybrook said.
The Lancers are willing to pay to build a field house, a concession stand, field lighting and bleachers, George said. They will seed the new grass field each year, as they do at their current practice field at Kennedy Park in Vandergrift.
The Lancers carry several types of insurance on players and the organization, George said. They also do fund raising, although George wouldn't say how much money the group has at its disposal to do the improvements at the new field.
Supervisors envision the land becoming a public, all-purpose recreation area with room for several fields where football and soccer and possibly softball could be played, Baybrook said.
Another part of the land has woods and could be used for hiking trails. There also are initial plans to build retention ponds to address abandoned mine drainage that is polluting nearby Pine Run, Baybrook said.
Baybrook wouldn't estimate what the taxpayer cost would be to build the park. Some costs might include continuing to haul the topsoil - donated by Four Boys Inc. - and buying grass, but the township will apply for grants, he said.
With the Lancers, the township probably will go into a lease agreement for them to use the fields, but that hasn't been discussed, Baybrook said.
Parents can register children ages 5 to 13 for the Kiski Valley Lancers youth football and cheerleaders organization from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in June.
The fee is $30 for the first child, $15 for other children. Registration will be at the Lancers' current field house along Linden Avenue near Kennedy Park in Vandergrift.
More information is available at www.kvlancers.com .