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Football official optimistic about field's chances

October 02, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Kevin Grubbs, president of the Waynesboro Stallions youth football team, said Tuesday that land records show about 80 property owners, including the Borough Council, have covenants in their deeds that ban commercial ventures in a 9-acre vacant field in the middle of the Wayne Gardens neighborhood.

The football club, which serves about 250 youngsters, wants to build a football field complete with field house and concession stand in the vacant field that sits in the middle of the 1950s-era housing development.

The Stallions will need to get more than half of the property owners to lift their covenants in order to build the football complex.

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The field came about because the developer did not build houses on the 20 lots that made up the area.

The Borough of Waynesboro bought the 9 acres in 1972 with Open Space funds. Since then it has remained a quiet island of green that many of the neighbors, according to petitions they have filed with the borough council, don't want to give up.

The Stallions see it as a perfect site for their football complex.

Currently the organization's teams pay the Waynesboro Area School District $1,200 a year to use the high school football field for games, Grubbs said.

They set a goal of having a home of their own two years ago. The issue is now coming to a head and it will be up to the council to decide the field's fate.

Grubbs said a check of county land records shows that only six deeds contain the covenants but they represent nearly all of the Wayne Gardens property owners.

"Some of the six deeds serve only a few lots and some serve 20 or more," Grubbs said. The Stallions only need waivers signed from 51 percent of the lot owners on each deed, he said.

The team will also have to get the council to agree to waive its covenants - a move that will require a council vote, he said.

Grubbs said he will report on his findings on the number of affected lots at the council's Oct. 16 meeting. "They need to know how many properties are involved," he said.

He said he is not discouraged by the number of lot owners that have to be canvassed or the team's chances of getting enough support to waive covenants.

"I think we have a 50-50 chance," he said.

Still to be decided is who will contact the property owners. The Stallions say it isn't their place to solicit legal agreements.

It could come down to the council appointing someone to do the canvass, he said.

The council has been relying on advice from the borough solicitor on the issue.

"We think we can work something out with the council," Grubbs said.

He pegged the cost of construction of the field, field house and parking for more than 220 cars at around $500,000, money that the Stallions will have to raise.

"We won't start any fund-raising until we get the OK to go ahead," he said.

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