Work to convert former West Deer missile site into park nearly done
West Deer is nearly done converting a former military site into a township park.
The former Army Nike site, once part of the U.S. government’s Cold War-era missile program, is now home to West Deer’s senior center, Deer Lakes youth football, a soccer field and a lacrosse field. It’s located off Route 910.
Officials have been working on the park for several years. A recently received $300,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is helping the township complete the project, officials said.
The grant, which requires a $300,000 match from the township, will help West Deer complete a small parking lot, a playground, a pavilion and a walking trail at the park. Township Manager Daniel Mator said that cost has already been worked into the 2019 budget.
Officials also will use some of the grant money to make improvements to Bairdford Park, including parking upgrades and work on the concession stands.
The park improvements are part of a roughly $3 million master plan officials created in 2013 in an effort to make parks safer and more usable.
“It wasn’t safe,” said Mator of the Nike site. “There were a lot of hazards there.”
A dozen air defense sites armed with Nike missiles and radar once stood to protect Pittsburgh and its industries from a Soviet attack.
Each site had three underground missile silos, but they were shut down by 1974 after intercontinental ballistic missiles made them obsolete. The West Deer land was turned over to the township in 1976.
Mator said he hopes the work will be completed next year.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.