A final plan for two synthetic turf fields in Quarry Park should be completed within a month and be ready to go before Lower Macungie Township commissioners for approval.
Township manager Bruce Fosselman made that prediction as a new Quarry Park “initial conceptual sketch plan” including the fields was presented to two township commissioners during their public works and facilities committee meeting Monday night.
The new plan presents two larger synthetic turf fields than previously envisioned, with a concrete spectators plaza between them— complete with portable bleachers and shade trees.
Other proposed Quarry Park improvements include a much larger parking lot, a concession building, a storage and maintenance building, a picnic grove and renovated restrooms and playground.
The surfaces of two natural grass soccer fields and two softball fields would be “rejuvenated” in the park to improve their quality.
The new concept also proposes additional trails, trees and even riparian barriers in the park.
How much of all that becomes reality will depend on how close the total cost comes to the $3.3 million the township has allocated for the project.
One thing the new plan does not include is a dog park, which was added to the Quarry Park proposal just before commissioners voted 3-2 late last year to include that $3.3 million in Lower Macungie’s 2015 budget for the synthetic fields project.
Township commissioner Brian Higgins, who serves on the public works committee, said a dog park still could be included at Quarry Park.
But he indicated the township probably will have two dog parks and the first priority will be put one in Camp Olympic Park along Cedar Crest Boulevard.
Last Thursday night, township commissioners voted 3-2 to hire the AstroTurf company to design and build the Quarry Park project.
That night, Fosselman said AstroTurf representatives would be at Monday night’s committee meeting to present their proposal for the park and offer a timeline for completion of the project.
The plan was presented by Gary Souilliard, senior project manager of Grace Industries in Bath and David Horn, president of Architerra, a landscape architectural firm in Coopersburg that specializes in park design.
Souilliard introduced himself as representing both AstroTurf and Grace, explaining Grace is the regional distributor and installer for AstroTurf.
Although Fosselman had encouraged anyone interested in plans for Quarry Park to attend Monday’s public meeting, only 10 people showed up — and nearly half of them were township staffers. Reminding officials that many Lower Macungie residents oppose the township’s plan to install the artificial turf fields, resident Chris Donatelli said: “It’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t show up at these meetings. There’s a lot of concern out there.”
It was tough for the audience to follow some of the conversation about the project because the concept plan was placed flat on a table, around which sat the two commissioners, township administrators and project developers.
“This is just a concept, this is not a final design, this isn’t a finished design,” stressed Souilliard. “This definitely needs input from the township.
” Horn agreed, saying the concept was developed “with very little interaction from the township.”
“What we have is what the professionals are saying would work,” said Fosselman. “Now it’s up to us to determine how we want it to work.”
The township manager stressed he wants “to keep the momentum going.”
Horn recommended “a core group” of township representatives meet to determine “what the best fits are” for Quarry Park and “evolving the design.”
Between now and late March, the AstroTurf representatives regularly will be meeting with township officials to develop that final plan.