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Recreation department to decide football field's fate

May 11, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A plan to build a youth league football field in a vacant 9-acre field in the borough's south end will be turned over to the borough recreation department for consideration following a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday night.

Most of the nearly 30 residents attending the hearing opposed the plan or questioned how it would affect their neighborhood.

The Waynesboro Stallions, one of 11 teams in the South Central Pa., Keystone Youth Football League, currently plays on the Waynesboro Area Senior High School football field.

Kevin Grubbs, Stallions' spokesman, said the team wants its own field and came up with the idea to build a gridiron complete with bleachers and parking for 221 cars on the empty field.

Eventually the project would include a concession stand and restrooms and Grubbs said the Stallions would take up about 6 1/2 acres.

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The field was bought by the borough in 1972 with a state grant that stipulated it be used solely for recreation. The field is cut three times a year by an area farmer for the hay it produces.

It is ringed by Waynesboro Gardens, a residential area that runs along parts of Anthony and Fairview avenues and Eighth, Ninth and Park streets.

Three years ago residents there signed petitions against a plan to build youth league baseball diamonds in the field. At the time the residents said they were worried about traffic, noise and the effects such a facility would have on their property values.

Harold Martin, 78, of 833 Anthony St., said the same concerns are being aired over the Stallions' proposal.

Grubbs said the Stallions would build and maintain the football facility, would be amenable to residents' requests for buffer zones and would engineer the project so there would be no storm water drainage problems.

Some residents supported the plan with reservations saying they would want passive recreation facilities added, including walkways, playgrounds and picnic areas, all of which would open the field to other uses.

Grubbs had no firm estimates on the cost of converting the field, which is hilly in places, for use for football. He said the Stallions plan to rely on local contractors to volunteer their work.

The team has about 130 youngsters, ages 7-13, including boys and girls. The kids raise money through local fund-raisers to support team activities, he said.

Councilman Allen W. Porter suggested that the recreation board consider multiple uses for the field, much like the borough's Memorial Park off Walnut Street.

He said the Stallions could build and maintain the football field while the borough, which would continue to own the field, could find money to develop the remaining acres for other recreational use.

Council President Richard Starliper said it could take a year before the council approves a final plan.

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