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Stallions drop plan for football field in Waynesboro

May 29, 2003|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro residents whose homes surround a nine-acre borough-owned field no longer have to worry about a youth football field opening in their midst.

Kevin Grubbs, president of the Waynesboro Stallions, a youth football club, said Wednesday league officials dropped their plans for a $500,000 playing field and concession stand in the field in the Wayne Gardens housing development.

Wayne Gardens was built in the 1950s and 1960s. The field, which is surrounded by homes on Anthony, Park and Eighth streets and Fairview Avenue, provides residents in the development with nine acres of free open space. Originally earmarked for more houses that never materialized, the field was taken over by the borough.

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"I'm glad. I'm glad. I'm glad," Harold G. Martin of 833 Anthony Ave., a leader of the citizens group that fought the proposal, said upon hearing the news that the project was dead.

"I heard that the effort was falling apart. I guess this was the result of that," he said.

Until this year the league served upwards of 300 youngsters. Grubbs said a new youth football league in Quincy, Pa., started up, recruiting about half of the Stallions' players.

But the real problem with getting the Borough Council to give the league permission to build the field had more to do with the members' ability to convince the property owners around it to let them build it.

The council voted to give its consent to build the facility only if the league was able to collect the signatures of 51 percent of the 100-plus property owners around the field who were willing to change their deeds to allow the field to be built.

Restrictive covenants in the deeds ban the construction of any commercial ventures in the field. The Stallions said they needed the concession stand to make the project work.

Adding to the Stallions' woes was the fact that the property deeds were segregated into five different sections with varying numbers of homes in each. The smallest segment had just seven homes and their owners were adamant that they were not going to waive the restrictive covenants in their deeds.

Grubbs said league officials decided to drop the project when they realized they would never get the number of required signatures from the homeowners.

"The field will go on being empty," Grubbs said.

The Stallions have been playing their games at the Waynesboro Area Senior High School and will continue to do so until the league can find its own field.

"We're still looking," Grubbs said.

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