Cross-country team members who compete against Peters Township High School this year should leave their shoes with metal spikes at home, according to Peters council members, who are worried about the spikes damaging a new $1.2 million athletic field at Peterswood Park.
Although it wasn't on the agenda to be discussed at Monday's township meeting, the issue of metal spikes came up during a discussion about the school district's cross-country team and whether its booster group would contribute to the cost of a sliding gate near the field.
Township manager Michael Silvestri said he was told by United Civil Contracting and Developers, the Ohio company that installed nearly $900,000 worth of artificial turf on the field, that a warranty against damage to the surface would be voided if the township allowed athletes to use metal spikes, which could rip the newly installed turf.
The field is used primarily by the township's youth soccer groups and lacrosse teams -- which wear shoes with rubber spikes -- but the district's cross-country team planned to begin its races at the field and asked the township to install a gate to make access easier.
Mr. Silvestri said the cross-country boosters agreed to contribute part of the $2,040 cost for the gate, which was installed this month.
He said he was told ceramic shoe spikes wouldn't void the warranty, but council members wondered how such a requirement would be enforced among visiting teams.
Mr. Silvestri said district administrators had told each coach from teams that will visit the field this year that Peters would provide ceramic spikes for players.
Runners can easily interchange spikes of various sizes and types on the shoes, he said.
Because the booster group likely will have to buy the ceramic spikes, council members agreed to waive charges for the gate. They voted 6-1 to allow the ceramic spikes to be used on the field, with Councilman Frank Arcuri dissenting.
Before Monday's council meeting, members met in a workshop to discuss changes to the policy governing complaints against township police.
Earlier this month, council debated various options, including whether to allow complaints that were reviewed by the police department to be appealed to council or the manager. Mr. Silvestri said he will develop a policy that will include an appeals process for council to consider at an upcoming meeting.
The issue of police conduct was raised several months ago, when some residents questioned the judgment of several township police officers.
In one incident, two officers were accused of illegally deer hunting on the grounds of a local cemetery and another officer was outside his jurisdiction when he allegedly drew his weapon on a pair of licensed hunters who were legally hunting fox in neighboring North Strabane, which employs its own police department.
The controversy spawned a civil rights lawsuit from one of the hunters, Steven Stiegel of Bethel Park, who felt he was treated unfairly and threatened without cause. The hunters and several residents asked the township to develop a citizen review board or similar vehicle to address complaints.
The township police department and several of its officers also were sued in federal court Aug. 16 by an Oakdale man who said officers unlawfully violated his civil rights when they arrested him in November for driving his new Dodge truck through the front showroom window of Vasko Dodge after a dispute over customer service.
Robert E. Snatchko Jr., 54, said he lost his job over the charges, which included terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. In his lawsuit, Mr. Snatchko said he unintentionally crashed the truck into the building because he failed to make sure it was in park before leaving the vehicle.
Janice Crompton: email@example.com or 412-851-1867.