Will Veterans Park Fields Be Ready For Spring?

The park was officially dedicated in May but because of problems with the quality of the grass, the fields have yet to be used.


Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association said it would foot the bill for $7,000 worth of improvements at Veterans Park if it means the fields can be used this spring.

but because of problems with the quality of the grass, the fields have yet to be used. The park, located off Durham Road across the street from Clark Nature Center, has six ball fields – three multi-purpose and three baseball fields.

Kevin O’Shea of CRNAA, which is the parent organization of local Little League, Babe Ruth and travel baseball teams, on Monday told the Newtown Township Supervisors there are not enough fields to support the number of children registered to play baseball. Opening day for the spring season is March 31.

“We need to figure out what we’re going to do to support all of these Newtown kids playing baseball,” O’Shea said.

O’Shea said CRNAA wants to get the fields at Veterans Park ready for play. “The only thing standing in the way of that is building the three mounds,” he said. The cost of the mounds, plus the cost to convert a softball field for baseball play, would be $7,000, O'Shea said.

“At this point, we would rather invest the money through the league in order to ensure the fields come online this year,” he said. Without the fields at Veterans Park, CRNAA will be short at least a field.

But the supervisors say getting those fields ready for play is a bit more complicated than just creating the mounds. An ongoing issue with the contractor regarding the condition of the grass must be dealt with properly so the township is protected from any future liability, chairman Mike Gallagher said. The project’s contractor is Adams-Bickel Associates.

If the fields are used before township officials are certain the grass has come in properly, there will be “no recourse,” Gallagher explained. 

“We don’t know if the grass will be ready for play” in March, Gallagher said. “I’d love to see spring ball on those fields this year, I just don’t want to be on the hook.”

Gallagher said the township engineer will visit the fields this week to assess the grass. The supervisors will also discuss the issue with its solicitor.

“In order to do this work, it’s going to require time and coordination with the contractor,” O’Shea said, adding he needs to know within two weeks if the proposal is approved.

joe February 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Are you kidding me ??? They have been building those fields for over 3 years. Now there is a problem with the grass?? Liability?? Give me a break, why don't they get somebody with a little brains and a little less political pull to complete this much needed project. Those fields NOT being done is the laughing stock of Newtown. Whoever is in charge should be fired. What a joke!! In the meantime the kids have no place to play ball safely. Now we may have to hear more from our friends and neighbors about the fields on 413 that nobody ever plays on. What a joke the supervisors are on this !!!!!
Harry February 14, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Agreed, 3 years of not being able to grow grass on what most likely was fertile farmland, ??????????
Ed Tate February 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Driving by the entrance >10x/week leaves me both amused and irritated. This white elephant, to put it nicely, should be driving every member of the board of supervisors absolutely crazy. Absolute incompetence. Our kids deserve better.
JEFFREY February 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM
I believe all of the good soil was sold off before the fields were built, leaving crappy soil to try to grow grass, and we all see where that got us - unplayable fields!
Rob Ciervo February 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Ed, it does drive us quite crazy. The contractor has failed to meet the specifics of the contract in the past and finally with some pressure the right things were done in the fall growing season. The only problem with legal action is that further delays this park from being open. To Harry's point, this is actually not fertile farmland which is the problem. Months and months of initial work was done to remove rock and grade what was somewhat mild slopes into flat playing fields. I never would have chosen this land to produce ballfields, but that was done by a prior board. The same can be said for Helen Randle park. Both areas have high concentration of rock and steep slopes which is part of the reason initially growing grass is tough. If you remember much of the area near the Woll Tract was dense forestland like what you see across the street at the Clark Nature Preserve and what Newtown Grant used to be. Now the Melsky Tract would have been a much better place for ballfields given the soil conditions but back in 2007 Supervisors decided to work with the school district to sell that to Toll Brothers. There is a reason the Woll Tract does not have homes on it now. If it was easy land to work with it would have been sold long ago to Toll, Orleans, McGrath, etc...
joe February 14, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Mr. Ciervo, if the contractor didn't live up to his end of the bargain fire him for not doing what the contract said he should do and signed on the bottom line to do and then DO NOT pay him!!! Hire another friend of the Board's and then after he gets the grass going, pay him the money you didn't pay the other incompetent friend of the boards. quit giving out lame excuses about how you wouldn't do this or that, just get it done real soon. Those fields not being open is a disgrace and you ALL should be embarrassed at the very least!!! But who cares right, they are just kids and can't vote. Plaese remember though, mommy and daddy and all the rest of the familys can. Think about that while you and the others are NOT worrying about whether he fields open this year or not. Alot of kids means alot of votes!!!
Rob Ciervo February 15, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Joe, we have looked at all options and the quickest way to resolve the problem was to work with the contractor. Once lawyers are involved all construction comes to a halt and you can be in litigation for quite some time. Trust me, no one is more upset about this than myself and the other board members. I can understand your frustration. Just take note of that and times it by 10 and that is how I feel about the situation. In PA we are mandated by law to accept the lowest responsible bid on these types of public projects. The winning bidder has let us down in my opinion on the final aspect of the project. Be mindful however that the overwhelming majority of the work in terms of construction, labor and costs were done to specs such as the grading, the parking lots, storm water management, etc. I have three young children and my daughter's CYO soccer league is to play here in the future. We are having our engineer check the fall grass growth and fill in when Spring arrives.
R U guessing ? February 15, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I see U keep up with all the newtown happinings.
R U guessing ? February 15, 2012 at 04:55 AM
It WASN"T all farmland.
Ed Tate February 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Rob- Your answers make good sense. I just hope that whomever was responsible for supervising the construction, and failed, was held accountable. Thanks, Ed
the VOICE February 15, 2012 at 10:39 PM
He is leaving in April !


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