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New municipal park taking shape in Greene Township

June 30, 2007|By DON AINES

SCOTLAND, Pa. - On a rain-soaked Friday, the scraped expanse of earth that will become Greene Township's municipal park was not much to look at, but by next spring, parts of the first phase are expected to be ready for play, including a baseball field that could become home to the Chambersburg Area Senior High School Trojans.

"We have expended very close to $1 million to date," Township Supervisor Glenn Shetter said of the work done so far on the park, which covers about 60 acres. That does not include the cost of the land, which Shetter said was purchased by the township before he joined the board in 2003.

The township has been able to do the project without tapping into capital reserves, Shetter said, with the money coming from a recreation fund created several years ago and from recreation fees on new developments.

The township established an ordinance in 2004 requiring developers to contribute 1,120 square feet of land for each dwelling unit to be used for recreation. With a minimum dedication of two acres, however, developers have chosen the option of contributing $500 per subdivision lot, payable prior to construction, he said.

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"We've gotten no dedication of land. We have gotten fees in lieu of," zoning officer Travis Brookens said. The result has been $241,000 in recreation fees, according to township figures.

This year, the township budgeted $272,000 to be spent on the park, Shetter said.

The township also is exploring grant funding through Pennsylvania's $650 million Growing Greener II initiative passed by a state referendum two years ago, Supervisor Todd Burns said.

A final budget and timeline for completing all aspects of the park is somewhat of an open-ended question at this point as plans are revised, Burns said.

Burns told the Chambersburg School Board Wednesday that the baseball field, measuring 320 feet down the left and right field lines and 400 feet to deep center field, meets Major League Baseball dimensions and will be ready for play in the spring of 2008. Rough grading of the field has begun, he told the board.

"We're going to put the field in and we're going to make it nice" regardless of whether the school district decides to play there, Shetter said.

"It should be first class," he said.

The township looked at other high school and college fields in coming up with the design, Shetter said. The field will most resemble the one at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., he said.

Community members approached the township about the possibility of the Trojans playing there, and a wish list was developed for its features and amenities, Burns said. That includes dugouts, a sprinkler system, batting cages, bleacher seating for 900, parking for 143 vehicles and a two-story building to house concessions, bathrooms, storage and a press box.

There also will be a hill around the outfield where spectators can take in the game, Burns told the school board. It will be similar to what is at the field in Williamsport, Pa., where the Little League World Series is played, he said.

The district has asked Chambersburg to come up with a proposal for improving Henninger Field, where the Trojans have played for many years. A decision on which field will be used is expected by August.

There will be much more to the park than the baseball field. The first phase calls for another softball and baseball field, two multipurpose fields for soccer, football and other sports, and walking trails. The township has a highway occupancy permit for the main entrance off of Pa. 997, Burns said.

All of the first phase features will not be completed by next spring, he said.

The township also is working on leasing a Knouse Foods property adjacent to the park, where there could be additional parking for the baseball field, as well as picnic facilities and pavilions, Burns said.

The second phase of the project will take advantage of some natural features of the property, including a stream, Phillaman Run. Along that, there will be wetlands and meadow areas that will be used for environmental education and recreation, Burns said.

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