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Lights proposed for Oakmont’s Riverside Park

Lights may be installed at Riverside Park in Oakmont by the end of the year, if things go according to the borough recreation board’s plans.

“It is our plan to place them along the existing trail, and also to extend the existing trail while placing lights,” recreation board Chairman Tom Bland said. “We feel these lights offer a safety component.”

Bland made a pitch to borough council on Jan. 3 to put 20 LED lights on 10-foot poles around the perimeter of Riverside Park, by the Riverview High School.

A majority of the lights would be in the lower end of the park by the pavilions, tennis and basketball courts.

Bland plans to seek a $98,000 Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant for the project, which would illuminate the 4-foot-wide walking trail along the park’s perimeter.

He requested that council vote at its Jan. 16 meeting to authorize the grant application and approve the project.

Councilman Tim Favo questioned the project and noted, “we’re not open 24 hours.

“I’m not in favor of the basketball courts and the tennis courts being lit up,” he said. “They’re not that overused that people can’t get onto them until 9 or 10 at night … I’m not in favor of the lighting at all.”

Favo said there were no “meaningful conversations” about lighting or safety at the park.

Other councilors said they needed more information about those two issues before making a decision.

Bland said past councils and borough managers were aware of the park lighting plans. The park is open from dusk to dawn.

Riverside underwent major upgrades in 2011, funded with a DCNR grant, some matching borough funds and a school district contribution.

Upgrades included converting the four-lane cinder track into a four-lane synthetic track, a trail system with handicapped access, redesigned/refurbished pavilions and improvements to the tennis and basketball courts.

Bland said his group put in several thousand dollars worth of conduit during that time to have lighting in the park. He said they were awarded a grant through Duquesne Light three years ago for a new transformer and service building at the park.

“We have a significant portion of the infrastructure in place,” Bland said.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367 or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.


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