Trojans out, others in at Henninger Field

October 12, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Trojans are leaving, but other teams will still play at Henninger Field next spring and the borough still plans to make improvements to the diamond where baseball has been played for more than a century.

"We have a lot of fond memories from Henninger," said Bob Thomas, who has coached the Chambersburg Area Senior High School Trojans to three state titles in his more than 40 years in the dugout. "If they had fixed it up, we'd probably still be there, but we're moving on to greener pastures."

Wednesday, the Chambersburg School Board voted to authorize an agreement with Greene Township for use of its municipal park diamond, expected to be ready for play next year. That will end decades of Trojan play at Henninger, a field borough Recreation Department Superintendent Herb Dolaway said has been the town's premier baseball venue since the 1890s.

"I'm not surprised. The school district was not content with the facility," Borough Council President William McLaughlin said Thursday. Keeping the Trojans at Henninger would have required finding money and making improvements during a time frame dictated by the school district.


"The borough is not one of those political entities that can come up with and spend a couple of million dollars at the drop of a hat," McLaughlin said.

The adult league Maroons, the American Legion and other teams will still play at Henninger next year, Dolaway said, and someone called him Thursday about using the field.

"The demand is there because of the lack of fields," Dolaway said.

The borough recently completed work to correct drainage problems on the field, he said. Before the last high school baseball season, he said, the borough worked with the school district to upgrade the infield and put fences along the baselines.

Further improvements are needed and planned, Dolaway said, but that will require money. For example, the borough has purchased new lights, but the wooden poles will have to be replaced with steel standards before they can be mounted.

Henninger has been a multi-use field for decades, hosting high school soccer games until Trojan Stadium got a $6.5 million facelift. In the future, Henninger will be a baseball-only facility with plans to level and even out the field and add a new outfield fence to make it more symmetrical, he said.

Having the field idle this fall for the first time in 30 years has allowed crews to get in and make needed changes, Dolaway said.

Upgrades of the bleachers, restrooms and other amenities are also needed, but doing them all could cost up to $500,000 and the department has several other projects on its list of priorities, Dolaway said. Among those are development of three new parks and renovating the pool at Memorial Park, he said.

Dolaway hopes the 2008 borough budget will include enough money to design and implement some improvements next year. The best way to finance all the department's projects is a bond issue, he said.

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