By Andrew Tsou
O’HARA, Pa. – Ruth S. Weir Park is scheduled to open during the summer of 2011, Township Manager Julie A. Jakubec said during a Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting Wednesday.
Jakubec said that the projected completion date is contingent on the upcoming winter being relatively mild. Rather than hire outside contractors, all of the park’s work is to be completed by the Township of O’Hara, Jakubec said.
The design presented at the meeting displayed the park’s projected layout. According to the plan, the park will contain a walking trail along the hillside, benches, trash cans, and a large field. Jakubec said that no structures or further amenities are planned.
“It will be a very passive park,” Jakubec said, “Not as active as George Sacco Park.”
However, Jakubec said that Ruth S. Weir Park will be similar to other township parks in other respects.
“You can walk your dog there,” Jakubec said, “It will be open dawn to dusk in winter and from dawn to 10 p.m. in summer, as with all township parks.”
Jakubec said that the park will consist of an upper section and a lower section. The upper section is intended to contain the walking trail, while the lower section will contain the parking lot, benches, and the flex field.
Jakubec said that the flex field “is just an open space for someone to kick a ball around, or toss a ball around with your kids, or just let them run around.”
Alongside the flex field, there is a stream that separates the park and Saxonburg Boulevard.
Mark P. Yon, the chairperson of the Parks & Recreation Commission, said that “there’ll be fencing to minimize any hazards from children wandering over into the stream.” Yon said that the barrier would be a split-rail fence.
Jakubec said that the township intends to minimize alteration of the land.
According to Jakubec, last summer the township “sent out surveys to the residents and got a very good response back, and the overwhelming response was to leave the property in a fairly natural state.”
Jakubec said that while some trees were slated for removal, other trees would be planted. Dave Katich, a resident of the township who lives at 1132 Saxonburg Boulevard, near the proposed site for the park, asked for specific details.
“I was curious on what trees were going to be planted and how close, because obviously in the fall, trees shed their leaves,” Katich said.
Jakubec said that “there are going to be a lot of evergreens … the best buffer is evergreens.” The same trees which were planted at the recently developed George Sacco park, which “start at six or seven feet and are slow growers” will be planted at the Ruth S. Weir Park, Jakubec said.
“Douglas firs, blue spruces,” Jakubec said, “We’re not going to let them get overwhelming. There won’t be any white pines.”
The trees the township plans to plant have hard needles and are therefore deep resistant, Jakubec said.
Yon said that the township would take the concerns of local residents into consideration.
“We’re not going to plant anything that will overwhelm your property,” Yon said.
People who live near the park were told that the buffer would be adequate to shield their driveways and roads from the park.
“I think, visually, it’ll be a tremendous improvement over what we have now,” Yon said.
The township also addressed the issue of dirt bikes in the park.
Jakubec said that the park “will not be conducive to dirt bikes, and they’re actually not permitted in parks, and if we need to, we’ll heavily patrol and write tickets accordingly.”
The park, which is located near the intersection of Saxonburg Boulevard and Calmwood Road, is projected to cost a further $50,000, according to Jakubec.
Ruth S. Weir Park is named after a resident of the Township of O’Hara, according to the township’s official website. According to the website, Weir was “instrumental in the naming of Coxtown Run,” which is the stream that borders the proposed park.