Dreshar Stadium in Tarentum to receive $63,000 in improvements
Tarentum’s 80-year-old Dreshar Stadium, home to youth baseball, popular festivals and fireworks displays, will receive a much-needed face-lift this year.
Visitors to the park can expect new fencing, home plate backstops and benches.
“This is great because the field is pretty old,” said Justin Faltot, 44, of Fawn Township. His son Anderson, 6, is in his third year of playing T-ball at the field.
“The improvements might attract more people than just parents of players to visit the field,” he added.
Following allocation of a $50,000 grant from the state’s slot machine gambling fund for updates and stadium repairs, the borough sought contract bids for the renovations.
The lowest bid, submitted by Uniontown-based Schrock Fence Co., totaled about $63,000.
This means that if it wanted to make use of the state grant, the borough could have been on the hook for about $13,000.
However, the historic football-turned-baseball facility’s largest tenant, Highlands Little League, agreed to help with the stadium’s improvement costs, according to Councilwoman Carrie Fox.
“I did hear from the Little League, and they are willing to donate $4,000. And the recreation board is willing to donate $4,000,” she said.
Fox is also president of the borough’s recreation board.
Borough Manager Mike Nestico told council Thursday that it needs to agree to pay the remaining balance for renovations before Schrock can be hired.
Council agreed to cover the remaining balance, less than $5,000, from the borough’s general fund.
According to Highlands Little League President Gene Kosakowski, the league has been using the stadium since 1950, and its instructional, minor and major league teams play and practice there.
Kosakowski said it’s time for some upgrades.
“Dreshar Stadium has a rich history but is starting to show its age, and the updates are definitely needed,” he said.
Recreation board member Cindy Homburg agreed.
“It really needs a lot of stuff done to it,” Homburg said. “It doesn’t look anything like it did before. There used to be seats on all four sides of the stadium, and it’s not that way anymore — even though they still use it a lot.”
In addition to the work covered by the grant funds, Homburg said the stadium could still use upgrades to its lighting and bathrooms.
Dreshar Stadium, originally called RiverView Park, was built in 1938 as part of the Works Projects Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The stadium, situated along First Avenue, currently seats a couple thousand people.
The former Tarentum High School Redcats played football there until 1967 when the school merged with Har-Brack to form Highlands School District.
The WPIAL was so impressed by the stadium that it let Tarentum host the 1940 Class A title game there. It resulted in a 14-12 Redcats victory over Mt. Pleasant Ramsay.
John Dreshar, the championship-winning team’s coach, died from cancer several months later and the stadium was named in his honor, according to Homburg.
When the renovations will occur is still to be determined. Fox said the engineers will have to approve plans and the baseball season’s start may further delay the work. One way or the other, though, Fox said the grant funds will be put to good use eventually.
“We are so pleased to get anything we can done at Dreshar Stadium,” Fox said.