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Waynesboro homeowners throw flag on youth football team

February 14, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

A handful of homeowners who live near Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area spoke out Wednesday to throw a flag on the play by a local youth football association.

The Waynesboro Stallions' offenses in the past have included staying at the park after dusk, residents said.

John Welsh, of Mentzer Gap Road, reminded league representative Doug Andree of an occurrence in 2007 when Welsh found Andree at 8:30 p.m. near the entrance of the park.

Andree said he was waiting with children whose parents hadn't picked them up and questioned what he's supposed to do in that situation.

"I know you're doing a good thing, but parents should be responsible for their children," Welsh said.

The Stallions have a new agreement with the Washington Township Supervisors to use a lower field at Pine Hill for the next five years of home games as well as some practices. Andree pledged to work with residents and address their concerns, which include parking for hundreds of vehicles and amplified noise.

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"We're willing to try to solve everything we can solve by any means we can," he said.

"I understand the children need a place to go, a place to be," said Duane Dickey, who described his home as being adjacent to the park entrance. "We've lived up there for 30 years, and a football stadium in our backyard is not what we want. ... I don't think this is the right place to put this football team."

The Stallions had used the field at Waynesboro Area Senior High School before its renovation got under way, then moved to the Quincy (Pa.) Ox Roast grounds. Some practices had been at Pine Hill.

Andree said the teams -- for children ages 5 to 13 -- will play four home games and practice up to four nights a week during the Aug. 1 to mid-November season.

The volunteers work with 250 to 300 children a year for the football team and cheerleading squad, he said.

"The kids really mean a lot to us," Andree said. "We keep 300 kids off the streets, out of your backyards and from vandalizing things."

The township had sent letters to neighbors of the park and invited them to Wednesday's meeting, using the opportunity to also update them on the construction of the Dunlap Family Skate Park at Pine Hill.

The concrete structures are in place, but fences must be installed and rules established before the skate park opens for use, Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

"During the day, township staff will be patrolling the area to make sure folks have on protective helmets and other things," he said. "The young folks we've worked with for the past several years and their parents have (promised) to ensure they'll self-police."

Christopher told neighbors to call the township with issues during the day and call police at night, all the while asking residents to keep an open mind about the new, donated facility.

The skateboarders "look a little different. They've got black-and-blue marks, bruises and scrapes all over, but they're very polite young people," Christopher said.

On the Web: www.waynesborostallions.com

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