Two Mt. Lebanon recreational facilities are receiving upgrades.
During a meeting conducted through videoconference June 23, Mt. Lebanon Commission voted unanimously in favor of improvements to Meadowcroft Park and to the restrooms and adjacent areas at Dixon Field in Main Park. The focus of much of the work is to improve accessibility.
Commissioners also approved the replacement of the fuel canopy at the municipal public works facility. Craig Grella, commission president, voted against the measure.
At Meadowcroft Park, located next to Lincoln Elementary School, work includes overhauling the tennis courts, replacing sidewalks and installing new light poles, bases and fixtures.
The total cost is $256,962.60, using proceeds from the municipality’s 2019 bond issue, with the amount falling well below the $314,000 budgeted for the project.
Commissioner Mindy Ranney asked about the viability of installing courts at the site for pickleball, a sport resembling tennis that continues to grow in popularity.
“We’re not going to resurface this again for another 30 years, and there are really not a lot of other spots for pickleball in Mt. Lebanon, if any,” she said.
Grella said commissioners discussed the possibility last year, prior to Ranney’s election, but chose to include other recreation-oriented items in the 2020 budget.
He also noted a presentation about pickleball provided for the municipal sports advisory board included a potential for revenue generation. Recreation director David Donnellan, though, reported members of his department’s staff would not be on hand to oversee such a venture.
According to finance director Andrew McCreery, the cost of perhaps retrofitting the tennis courts is unknown, despite estimates of between $50,000 for basic work and $114,000 for full-fledged pickleball courts arising during the commission’s discussion session.
“To do something after it’s already been installed, we don’t have that proper number, I don’t think,” he said.
The possibility of placing pickleball courts in another part of Mt. Lebanon remains.
“We are undertaking a parks master plan that was approved as part of this year’s budget,” municipal manager Keith McGill said. “So we will sort of get the pulse of the community in terms of the facilities that they would like to see and determine if there are some locations that may fit for those uses.”
Regarding Dixon Field, the cost for improvements to the womens and mens restrooms is $137,745, also coming from bond issue proceeds. The budgeted amount for the project is $143,200.
“The work involves replacing existing plumbing features, stalls, hardware doors and the men’s restroom floor, and then there’s additional work included for minor paving to correct for grades,” municipal engineer Dan Deiseroth explained. In addition, a roof will be installed.
Although $101,490 was budgeted for the fuel tanks canopy project, a majority of commissioners voted to award a $112,000 contract. The existing canopy is about 30 years old, according to public works director Rudy Sukal.
“There’s a substantial amount of corrosion at the base of the canopy. It’s basically supported by two steel columns, and because of the salt at the facility and so forth, it’s pretty well corroded right at the interface with the concrete base,” he said. “So we really don’t know how structurally sound this is.”
The fuel tanks serve municipal police, fire and public works vehicles, along with those used by Mt. Lebanon School District.
Work will include demolition, building of a new concrete pad, removal and replacement of existing pumps, pipework, installation of the canopy and inspection services.
“There has to be some work done underneath of the actual fuel pumps,” Sukal added. “Some reservoirs have to be replaced in case there’s an emergency spill, and it doesn’t contaminate the earth beneath it.”
The added expense is within the municipality’s financial capabilities, Commissioner Steve Silverman said.
“The extra budget capacity comes from not having to replace the ice rink chiller this year,” he said, referring to one of the amenities at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center.
Safety is a major factor in replacing the canopy at the public works facility.
“We have no way of knowing how far that corrosion goes through those metal columns in supporting the structure right now,” Sukal said. “So if we get a bad wind, it could knock it down, and hopefully no one’s there if and when it would happen.”