Work underway on artificial turf fields at Voice of America February 17 2015

Construction started this week on a project that will convert two of nine multi-purpose playing fields at Voice of America Athletic Complex to artificial turf.

The upgrade, which will allow for year-round play, was first announced in September when the park’s athletic complex opened and will be funded via a $1 million allocation from the state.

The fields are scheduled to be complete and playable by April 1, weather permitting, according to MetroParks of Butler County.

Turf fields accompanied by lights will provide the opportunity for MetroParks to expand play and allow for additional field bookings.

The two fields will be easily visible from from a field house scheduled to open next year as a result of MetroParks partnership with West Chester Hospital, which will contribute $1 million over the next 12 years.

The partnership also will see the hospital make available sports medicine specialists and physical trainers to support tournament activity at no cost to athletes and event organizers.

The material selected for the fields is a is a slit film/monofilament blend, creating a longer-lasting, higher-grade playing surface more suitable for competition. It is being installed by Newton-based Motz Group, which MetroParks said has “extensive experience with synthetic turf projects.”

“Due to moisture levels and the fluctuation of ground temperatures at this time of the year, construction may occur both during the day and at night,” said Tony Nasser, MetroParks planner and project coordinator.

Temporary construction lights will be used to illuminate the construction area during work at night, when temperatures may allow more efficient movement of the soil while in a hardened state, Nasser said.

During construction, all other activity area including Wiggly Field Dog Park will remain accessible to park visitors.

Zoning request modified for residents

Also in West Chester Twp. this week, a developer seeking to construct a multi-building storage facility business made a concession that some local residents had hoped for.

Lakota Self Storage will be built at 7686 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, now the trustees have voted this week to rezone the 8.5-acre property from light industrial, suburban residence and agricultural to a commercial planned unit development district.

In addition to three self-storage buildings and two office buildings, a 1.8-acre portion of the site was initially designated for green space, but technically could have changed by a developer in the future.

Residents on Jan. 27 voiced concern about a proposed green space on the site eventually being developed into a possible future eyesore. Since then, developer Bob Hutsenpiller asked that the proposed green space be removed from the zoning request change.

George Polak of Gregory Creek Lane, one of several residents who share a boundary line with the property, said he is happy that Hutsenpiller asked that the residential portion of the property be removed from the zoning request.

“I think it’s a good decision that preserves the character of the West Chester Twp. land use plan,” Polak said. “Rezoning would have changed the character of that neighborhood.”

West Chester Twp. Trustees on Tuesday voted to approve the zoning change for Lakota Self Storage. Trustees also voted to approve Beckmark Properties request to rezone 6.41 acres on Hamilton-Mason Road about 400 feet west of Cincinnati-Dayton Road for a mixed use project that will include nearly 70,000 square feet of retail and office use.