Bucks County Herald

Building demolition may make way for Solebury athletic field

BIRGITTA WOLFE

A crowd of some 65-plus parents, children and coaches descended on the March 7 Solebury Township Board of Supervisors meeting to urge the creation of more athletic fields.

They left about three hours later with a promise, in the form of a motion, from the board to proceed with engineering plans and funding options to develop one multipurpose field at the site of the Public Works Pole Barn, which is about to be demolished.

The project would cost about $120,000, said Township Manager Dennis Carney. The township has $30,000 in its budget for it and would apply for a Bucks County open space grant for the rest.

The decision came after a presentation by Andy Kelly, the parks and recreation vice chairman. He reported the township has a shortage of three athletic fields minimum.

Kelly cited deteriorating field conditions due to overuse and stress, with three teams practicing at the same time on one field.

The three-field shortage does not take into account the ongoing renovations at the New Hope-Solebury High School grounds or the school district’s plan to charge $60 an hour for use of its fields, Kelly said.

His report concluded the township needs one new full size (102- yard by 80-yard) multipurpose field and two new full size multipurpose practice fields with portable lights.

Field use in 2016, Kelly said, included Laurel Park’s two full-size fields, capacity 160 events, had 234 events; Pat Livezy Park, with two full-size fields and one half-size field, with capacity for 240 events, had 388 events; Canal Park, with one full-size field and one half-size practice area, capacity 160 events, had 197 events; and the high school had 133 events.

Supervisor Paul Cosdon noted that the high school population is dropping and in three or four years is expected to drop from 1,300 to 1,100.

He questioned whether that would not make more space available on the existing playing fields.

Other than the Pole Barn site field, no action was taken on additional fields.

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