Mike Hargrove described the new turf field, or synthetic surface, at the Abington Area Community Park/Hillside Park as “outstanding.”
Hargrove, Abington Area Joint Recreation Board member representing Clarks Summit and Abington Youth Soccer League vice president, said of the project, “Both from the players’ perspective and spectators’, parents and families that have been up there (at the field), said they are happy to be able to play in all kinds of weather. They (contractors) did a great job,” said Hargrove, who thanks the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board, Michele Breslin and the Clarks Green Borough Council for their help.
He also noted the field provides an opportunity for constant play.
“We obviously have to be careful about creating “wear” spots… and it will take some maintenance over time, but it’s the fact that you don’t have to be careful about getting out on the field and playing, because it’s not going to take the punishment that natural grass takes,” he said.
“It brings me back to being in about third or fourth grade and looking out the windows as it starts to drizzle, saying ‘Are they going to cancel the game and are we going to get to play?’ We know now that a little bit of rain isn’t going to stop us from playing…or rain on Thursday isn’t going to stop us from playing on Saturday. It’s pretty exciting.”
The project cost approximately $900,000 and was funded through grants and donations and according to Abington Area Joint Recreation Board chairman, Bill Risse, was “devised as a design-build, fixed -price project to protect against cost overruns. Amenities include the field and lights, subsurface and wetland engineering and mitigation, legal costs, project management costs, insurance, design and construction of paved handicapped access sidewalks, parking and NPEDS permit…The project did not cost local municipalities anything but cooperation.”
Risse thanks Senator John Blake, County Commissioners O’Brien and Wansacz, and the councils of Clarks Green and Clarks Summit, all of whom “participated in delivering grant funding for this overall project that includes Boundless Playground, handicapped accessible bathrooms and fishing pier and pavilion enhancements to the park recently. Thanks to Abington Youth Soccer League and Junior Comets for coming together as a unified financial partner as well,” he said.
The board also hopes to have an additional restroom building, signs and lake water circulator/fountain this year as well.
A reservation system will be in place shortly for anyone who would like to reserve time on the field and a permit fee will be charged.
“When it’s not being used, it’s open time,” said Hargrove referring to an agreement with the Abington Youth Soccer League and Abington Heights Junior Comets, who each contributed $150,000, and will have scheduled playing time.
“Anyone can use it as long as they follow the rules and take care of the field,” said Hargrove.
One of the rules includes no dogs or pets allowed on the field.
Hargrove joked, “I’m sorry to say my dog was the first to be upset with that one (rule), but no dogs or pets will be allowed on the field, and no folding chairs, food, gum, tobacco…only water.”
A grand opening will be held once work to areas surrounding the field has been completed.
To reserve time on the field and for additional information regarding fees, visit aajrb.com and click on turf.