The Borough of Ambridge will soon be seeing green.
The Beaver County town recently was awarded a $30,400 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through their Community Conservation Partnership Program to build a football practice field at Walter Panek Park.
Borough manager Eric Kaunert said news of the grant came as an early Christmas present for the community and the Ambridge Youth Association football team, which currently practices on baseball fields.
"There was definitely a need there," he said. "For years and years the kids had nowhere to play. This will allow them a nice, safe, and conducive spot for practice."
The facility will be constructed on the area that used to house the Ambridge Pool, which has remained vacant ever since it closed in the mid-1980s.
After considerations of rehabilitating the pool were turned down, Mr. Kaunert said the pool was demolished five years ago and planted with fill dirt.
"It hasn't been pretty for the last 20 to 25 years in that area," he said. "We're trying to make it a better place for the kids and residents of Ambridge."
Efforts in the past year to beautify the area include resealing the tennis courts and converting them to basketball courts, refurbishing benches throughout the park, rehabilitating some of the park equipment and fencing, and adding fresh paint to railings and fencing. In addition, the borough installed a skateboard facility in 2011.
Construction of the practice field will begin early next year with an expected completion date of early fall before the football team begins playing. It's an aggressive schedule, but Mr. Kaunert said they got a jump start on the project with much of the grading and fill work done at no cost thanks to various construction projects going on simultaneously throughout the community.
Fences will surround the practice field and per the requirements of the DCNR, Mr. Kaunert said it will be accessible for handicapped individuals.
Total cost of the project is $60,400. The remaining $30,000 will be covered through the Ambridge general fund.
Support for the project was provided by Harmony, the Ambridge Youth Association, Ambridge Area School District, the Beaver County commissioners, U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, and state Rep. Elder Vogel Jr., R-Beaver.
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.