A rendering of the proposed soccer field by J. T. Sauer & Associates.

 

Pending an okay from the state Department of Environmental Protection, the City of Pittsburgh is ready to break ground on the $1.6 million Riverview Park soccer field, finally.

Originally, construction on the field was set to start in spring 2010.

Duane Ashley, the city’s director of operations (formerly head of parks and recreation), said consulting firm D’Appolonia completed the final evaluation of the former industrial site on July 14 and was getting ready to submit its findings to the DEP and apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Permit.

Because of heavy metals and sewer waste in the soil, a geotechnical study was necessary to ensure the site’s safety for recreational use.

Architect Jim Sauer of J.T. Sauer & Associates said in an e-mail that D’Appolonia recommended placing a soil cap over the site and not disturbing the hazardous materials. D’Appolonia declined to comment on the study.

Ashley said the site was used for industrial dumping from 1939 until the mid 70s.

The pollution discharge permit will ensure that wastewater and pollutants are contained and disposed of properly rather than leaking into surface and drinking water. Pennsylvania requires most construction projects greater than 1 acre to obtain this permit.

“Upon approval by the state [DEP], we will break ground immediately,” Ashley said in an e-mail.

The soccer field should be completed by the end of 2011, but that depends largely on when the DEP gives final approval. The application process can take up to three months according to Sauer, although the application has not yet been submitted.

“I suspect that from the first blade into the ground we will have a field within six months,” Ashley said in an e-mail.

Sauer said that the project requires two different kinds of contractors to work on the field, one for the soil remediation and another for field construction.

Neither contractor has been chosen yet, although Sauer added that the city can choose contractors while it waits for the pollution discharge permit.

Once the field is built, the city will begin raising funds for an accompanying recreational center. Although the city organized several community meetings last year to gather input and ideas, no final decisions have been made.

As soon as we secure a major portion of the construction funding [for the recreation center], we’ll redirect the balance of available city funds, approximately $1.6 million, towards design build and seeding for the balance of monies required, Ashley added.

Of the $1.8 million the city has set aside for the field and recreation center, $200,00 is already allotted for the field. Regional Asset District funding provided the majority of the cost, or $1.4 million, for the field.

The soccer field’s $1.6 million projected cost includes site remediation and construction.

Ashley estimated the recreation center would cost between $8 and $10 million.

It’s uncertain whether money allotted to the project by former State rep. Don Walko is still available.