Vindicator Logo

SHARON, PA. Officials eye plans to rehab ball field

By Harold Gwin

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The mayor said he's applied for a state grant.
SHARON, Pa. -- The Jefferson Avenue baseball field could be getting some major improvements, provided the city and the Sharon City School District can get some donations to do the work.
Mayor David O. Ryan and members of city council, the school board and the Sharon Recreation Commission met Monday to look over some preliminary plans for the site prepared by Greer Hayden of HHSDR of Sharon.
Hayden donated his architectural services and Joseph Kurtanich provided free engineering for the project.
Ryan said he's already talked to suppliers and the local labor council, getting offers of free building materials and labor for part of the work.
Estimated cost
However, Hayden said a preliminary estimate puts the cost of improving the field as outlined at well over $100,000, if the city was to bid out all of the work.
Sharon owns most of the field but part of it, home plate and a chunk of left field and the parking area, is on land owned by Sharon Country Club.
Ryan said the country club indicated it has no plans to use that land for at least 10 years.
Ryan said he's filed an application through state Rep. Michael Gruitza of Hermitage, D-7th, seeking $25,000 in a state capital budget grant to help finance improvements to the infield, estimated at about $36,000 alone.
That would improve the soil content and provide underground drainage, but it doesn't include a pair of dugouts and seating for about 100 spectators that those at the meeting said they would like to see.
Hoyden said the field has severe drainage problems overall, with the left field line being about 5 feet higher than the right field line. All of the water drains right across the field, which frequently has standing puddles, he said.
He proposed regrading the entire outfield to make it higher in center field to allow water to drain off toward both left and right field lines.
That work could cost $70,000 and that doesn't include bringing in a lot of fill dirt to give the outfield the proper elevations, Hayden said.
Other possibilities
There was also discussion about building a press box/concession stand or converting the covered patio at a nearby storage building into a concession stand.
Ryan said some contractors might be willing to donate labor and equipment to do some of the earth moving.
Hayden said he will finalize a field design and the mayor said he will organize a meeting of potential donors to the effort.
The field is Sharon High Schools' home field for varsity baseball and it doubles as the soccer team's field.
The preliminary plan would appear to leave soccer out of the picture.
Dom Russo, a school director and member of the recreation commission, said it might be possible to put a soccer field on a largely unused bill field behind the West Hill School.
However, that field also needs some drainage work, he said.