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Plans for $5 million update to Munhall's West Field revealed

Michael DiVittorio

Plans for a $5 million renovation of Munhall's William W. Knight Memorial Park, commonly known as West Field, were revealed Wednesday evening at a council workshop meeting.

Campbell Educational and Community Foundation is paying the cost of the entire renovation project. The borough owns the field.

“It's a job that's going to be lengthy and quite a bit of work,” foundation president Joe Ducar said. “Our team put a lot of time into this already. I want to thank council and everybody for being here. I wanted to get this moving along. Thanks to Bill Campbell, we're able to pull this off and put it together.”

Steel Valley alumnus William V. Campbell Jr. formed the foundation in 2013 to foster growth and improve the quality of life for Steel Valley residents.

Campbell is chairman and former chief executive officer of Intuit Inc. and an adviser to a number of technology companies.

The park is named after former Munhall Mayor William W. Knight, who died in 1987 after serving the borough for more than 30 years.

West Field was the home field of the Homestead Grays of the Negro League in the late 1930s and early '40s.

Borough officials as well as planning commission members and Steel Valley School District officials observed the presentation.

Gateway Engineers executive vice president Dan Deiseroth and JT Sauer & Associates LLC president James Sauer used artist renderings of the improved park as they discussed the proposal.

Renovations include establishing a baseball field consistent with high school and collegiate standards, a Little League ball field and a soccer/football field between the two. Outlining the park will be a walking trail, landscaping and fencing.

Deiseroth said the sanitary sewer system and water lines that serve the park will be replaced. A new lighting system as well as a stormwater management plan will be in place.

“Infrastructure-wise, we're going to improve all the utilities,” Deiseroth said.

Deiseroth said plans include 186 possible parking spaces around the park and 73 spaces off Orchard Street.

Other plans include restrooms and a concession stand, a storage area, refurbished locker rooms and a modern seating area for up to 800 people.

“When we get a chance to be a part of a park like this where it's not only important to the community, but to the school (district), the residents and has a lot of history like this one does, I think that this is going to be more than just a field,” Sauer said.

Sauer said 116,000 square feet of slit-film turf will be installed. The synthetic turf results in a year-round play system that is not dependent on the weather. The turf comes with an eight- to 10-year warranty.

A maintenance program will be developed with the borough after the renovations are complete, Sauer said.

Other companies involved in the project include Massaro Corp., LLI Engineering, R&B Contracting & Excavation and Allstate Contracting.

Mayor Raymond Bodnar said he was not thrilled with having a football field between two baseball fields but commended Campbell and project developers for their efforts.

“It's something that we've been wanting to do but can't,” Bodnar said. “The borough just can't raise the money to do it that way. All the improvements that are in (the renovation) are fine with me.”

“I think the whole project's pretty outstanding,” Steel Valley baseball coach Tim Vickers said at the meeting.

“I think it's a great project,” Steel Valley athletic director Shawn McCallister said. “I think it's going to benefit the community for years on end. … This is going to be a great thing for the kids and the community in general.”

Ducar said he will meet with district baseball and softball coaches within the next few weeks to gather more ideas.

Final design drawings will be done the first week of March. Construction could start as early as late March or the beginning of April and could be completed by the end of summer.

Campbell is expected to visit the field in April to see the project's progress.

Ducar said Campbell had some health issues last year but is feeling better.

“It looks like he's doing pretty good right now,” Ducar said. “We want to make sure he had some time that he could enjoy this. That's why we're putting a little push on it to get it started now. … He comes in about three or four times a year. This will definitely be a showcase for him to give to his friends and classmates and show everybody. I'm honored to be president of the foundation and really excited about this.”

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or [email protected].


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