Local and state officials met on Thursday at the Wisecarver Recreation Area in Franklin Township as construction began on Phase I of the softball facility and trail project.
“This project includes building a softball field, parking lot and starting a walking path,” said Richard Cleveland, executive director of Greene County Development. “The total cost (of the first phase) is around $ 800,000 and should be completed in the fall of 2021.”
For the past half a decade, the county committee has worked with other officials and agencies to develop the 360-acre recreational area, which is expected to include a driveway, parking lot, pedestrian walkways and rainwater management measures. along with other related website improvements.
Located on Waterdam Road in Waynesburg, the Wisecarver Recreation Area project is a multi-million dollar outdoor recreation area that also features the reservoir, softball fields, a hiking trail, mountain bike trails, and numerous other recreational opportunities.
Commissioner Mike Belding said at the groundbreaking ceremony that the project is “a long time coming”.
“For a long time this project was just a plan, a theory … but during the COVID-19 pandemic we had the opportunity to build up a staff and really focus on Wisecarver and see what could be done to move forward. “he said.” It has been decided that the best way to tackle this project is to break it down into a series of projects, phases … once phase 1 is complete we can start looking for funding , to move forward.”
Belding said future phases will include access for model airplanes and drones, an ADA-approved kayak launch, another softball field, an archery range and an outdoor theater.
Belding said the recreation area will be essential in bringing economic diversity to the county.
“It is estimated that there are 1.1 million people within 60 miles of Greene County. So the question is, ‘How do we get them here?’ ”He said. “The equipment is crucial. We have to offer amenities that encourage people to come here … if not move here then at least come here, stay here in our hotels, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants. This recreation area will be an important part of it. “
Greene County’s commissioners were assisted in laying the foundation stone by State Representative Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, State Senator Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll Township, and District Creation Director Bret Moore.
Plans to expand the Wisecarver Recreation Area had been in development for years.
Belding said, after various delays, the current committee has been “busy” moving the project forward, contacting the state environmental ministry, obtaining permits and then applying for state funding.
Last October, Snyder and the commissioners announced that another $ 200,000 DCNR government grant had been granted to help develop the resort area. The county filed a grant application in April 2020 and officials were notified in September that the county had received the $ 200,000 grant.
In May, commissioners approved a collaboration agreement between the county and the state’s Fish and Boat Commission for the construction of facilities in the Wisecarver Recreation Area.
Belding said at the time the grant would reimburse 50% of the cost, or up to $ 85,845, to fund the completion of an ADA-compliant kayak and canoe launch as well as an investment in access improvements for the recreation project.
At the beginning of June, the commissioners placed an order with Costabile Construction of Smock, which submitted the lowest bid for the construction of the softball facility and the Wisecarver Recreation Area hiking trail.
The commissioners also approved a proposal from Mackin Engineering for construction management and inspection for the WRA’s softball facility and phase 1 of the trail project for $ 40,493.