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Hermitage to get new athletic field space

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It’s a little like that “ask and you shall receive” phrase, but in the case of young Hermitage athletes, it’s more of a “supply and demand” theory. They really need the space!

Let’s face it. They just don’t have enough room in the way of athletic fields for softball, soccer, baseball, football and other sports in general.

Enter the Hermitage Commissioners. They intended to do something about the situation and did. Late last week, Hermitage officials stamped their approval on the Hanson property as the new site for construction. They are hoping that work on the new facilities will begin next year and that the playing fields will be ready for the 2009 season.

The first step in getting the ball rolling was to contact somebody who knew something about this kind of development, namely the Environmental Planning and Design outfit out of Pittsburgh. The two properties originally being considered were the Hanson and Stull sites.

Hanson property
most suitable

The Hanson property, the most suitable for what the Hermitage Commissioners were looking at as far as athletic fields were concerned, is located on South Darby Road, adjacent to the present Little League Complex.

It includes 541⁄2 acres as compared to the Stull property which includes 37.9 acres on Sample Road. The larger Hanson property, with easier access, is perhaps what the Commissioners were more interested in from the start.

In addition to being the property where more fields could be built, the Hanson property also has room for 500 parking spots as compared to the Stull area which could hold about 310.

The Stull property had been deemed more of an educational site where environmental and agriculture culture could flourish. The talk was of trails, bird watching and pavilions.

The Stull property was a gift from former Commissioner, Sylvia Stull, to the city.

The Hanson property cost $275,000. A representative of Environmental Planning and Design, said it would cost nearly $1.9 million to add all of the basic structures where as the Stull property would cost more than $1.5 million.

Included in the basic Hanson price would be the cost of utilities, roads, three ballfields, three flatfields, three play areas, a court sports area, two picnic areas, parking lot and restrooms.

Included in the Stull costs would have been one ballfield, one soccer field, one multi-purpose field, a play area, a recreation center, two picnic areas, restrooms and the parking lot.

The new facility on the Hanson property, whenever it is completed, will go a long way in supplying Hickory athletes with a lot of their sporting needs.

Adversity quote
from Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz is one of my favorite persons. When he speaks, people listen. He has a way with words that tends to strengthen the soul while delivering a strong and personal message.

One of his quotes registered with me many years ago and it still helps me understand what individuals and groups of people tend to realize when they have lived through “adversity.”

As for Holtz he said, “Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn’t make me stronger.”

In a recent Keystoner, I wrote a column about a 1997 Westminster College grad Sean Swarmer, who twice battled cancer and twice came away a winner.

The more I thought about this young man, I understood a little more about that word adversity. Sean lived through that dreaded disease in his young life and went on to make the swim team at Westminster and then made his historical climbs to the peaks of Mt. McKinley and Mt. Everest, a beautiful and heartwarming true-life story.

Yes, Mr. Holtz, I’m quite certain that Sean Swarmer, today, is a much stronger person both physically and mentally because he lived through adversity.

Who knows?

He may have read your words, too.