Work is underway to renovate two community ball fields in the city to update the facilities and make them more accessible to people with disabilities.
The projects at Fawcett and Duncan fields, totaling $210,000, are designed to enhance recreation opportunities for younger residents and make the neighborhoods more attractive places to live, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
The fields are used on a daily basis during the baseball and softball season, he said, including by several leagues.
“Youth sports (are) a way to keep our children active and involved in a structured program that will teach them cooperation, team building and other responsibilities that will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” Cherepko said. “My administration always will support initiatives and developments that provide positive life-learning experiences for our children.”
The work is being done with a mix of local and federal funding, including money from Allegheny County's 1 percent sales tax as well as $170,000 in community development block grant funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a spokeswoman said.
Kucich Construction was the lowest responsible bidder and was awarded the contract by city council.
The so-called "RAD Tax" money was allocated to McKeesport by the Allegheny Regional Asset District board. Funding from the RAD board has allowed the city to make improvements to seven ball fields at Renziehausen Park in recent years, the spokeswoman said.
With those fields updated, Cherepko said city officials felt it was time to improve Duncan and Fawcett fields as part of McKeesport's 2017 Action Plan submitted to HUD.
Community Development Director A.J. Tedesco, who manages the money that HUD provides to McKeesport through the CDBG program, said the ballfield upgrades are just one part of an overall strategy to make and keep the neighborhoods where they're located viable.
“These fields also bring families from other communities into McKeesport, and (the renovations will) provide visitors with a good first impression of our city,” Tedesco said.
At Duncan Field, located along 30th Avenue (Patterson Avenue) on the border between Christy Park and Myer Park, crews are repairing the existing backstop, replacing 4-foot and 10-foot chain link fences in the dugout area, replacing benches and installing new bleachers and a sidewalk.
At Fawcett Field, located on Camp Street in the East End, work includes replacement of the concession stand roof, press box roof and dugout roof; painting of the concession stand, press box and dugouts; replacement of 4-foot and 10-foot chain link fences in the dugout area; replacement of dugout benches; installation of new bleachers and concrete pad; drainage improvements; and restroom upgrades for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Originally published May 17, 2018.