Monday night, commissioners had a lengthy discussion regarding potential improvements that might be made to the community’s fields, parks and swimming pool. The municipal staff, paid consultants and many community members have supported the need for improvement in these areas for years, but past commissions (and perhaps the current one) have had a hard time deciding which improvements are priorities and how to fund them. One improvement all commissioners agreed should be made as soon as possible is improving the drainage at Bird Park Field, a relatively inexpensive item that could be accomplished in about a week and would not greatly interfere with this season’s play. Another thing commissioners agreed upon is that although the existing swimming pool is old and could experience some equipment failure during the upcoming season, it makes better sense to take a chance on making it through the season uninterrupted than to spend money on stopgap measures now. Instead, they will look at a more comprehensive plan for upgrading the pool in 2013.
At the Commission’s 8 pm regular meeting, Junior Commissioner Bill Postufka, a Mt. Lebanon High school senior, spoke about field and park issues in public comment, having driven to each park over the weekend to assess the situation. Postufka noted that as a child playing sports he had had no concerns about the fields, but as he has grown older and has been playing travel team sports he has noticed that Mt. Lebanon’s facilities do not measure up to those in communities such as Peters Township and Upper St. Clair. He urged the commission to make parks, fields and other recreational facilities a priority because, he said, “if you don’t, people in my generation will not return to live here.” Postufka went on to say the he believed older people who do not have children in school would benefit from improved recreational facilities because there would be a positive impact on their property values.
Parks, fields and other recreational facilities will be discussed at length during the update of the municipality’s comprehensive land use plan, a process required by the state that takes place every 10 years. Consultants who responded to the RFP for the plan currently are being interviewed and one should be selected within the next two weeks, according to Municipal Manager Steve Feller. There will be extensive opportunities for public input during the planning process, which will be guided by a steering committee working with the consultant and will take the better part of a year.
If you are interested in viewing options for providing addition field space that the municipality’s engineer, Dan Deiseroth of Gateway Engineers, has presented to the the commission, check out http://www.mtlebanon.org/index.aspx?NID=1522. The 2001 parks master plan also is available online at http://www.mtlebanon.org/index.aspx?nid=87.