Feasibility study report


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Feasibility study report

  1. 1. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe contributions of the following groups and individuals were vital to the successfuldevelopment of Elizabeth Township’s Recreation Complex Feasibility Study. They arecommended for their interest in the project and the input they provided. Township Supervisors/Staff Key-Person Interviews Mrs. Joanne Beckowitz Emily Albeck Mr. Robert Keefer Emil Burek Kathy Dainty Dave Firda Walter Gibbons Dennis Kampas Feasibility Study Steering Committee Steve Meir Kara Miles Mr. Timothy Guffey Harry Morrison Ms. Judy Marshall Eric Pakala Mr. Drew Mueller Carl Rogers Mr. John Paylo Keith Shaffer Mr. Dennis Pohoclich Terrie Stefanko Mrs. Robin Poirer Mark VeroskyIn addition, we would like to thank: Mr. Andrew Baechle, Director Allegheny County Parks Department Mr. Mike Piaskowski, Grants Project Management Division Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Ms. Kathy Frankel, Recreation and Parks Supervisor Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources This project was financed in part by a grant from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund, under the administration of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  2. 2. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page iii TABLE OF CONTENTS PageI. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...............................................................................................1II. PROJECT GOALS............................................................................................................2 Feasibility for a Recreation Complex.............................................................................. 2III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION .............................................................................................3 Steering Committee .......................................................................................................... 3 Public Surveys and Public Involvement ......................................................................... 3IV. SITE ANALYSIS .............................................................................................................15 Alternative Site Evaluation Results............................................................................... 16 Alternative Analysis........................................................................................................ 19V. LEGAL FEASIBILITY...................................................................................................20VI. USAGE FEASIBILITY ...................................................................................................21 Population Analysis ........................................................................................................ 21 Developing a User Profile............................................................................................... 26 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Standards ................................. 26 Determining Park Facility Needs and Program Demand Analysis............................ 29 Recreation, Park, and Open Space Standards and Guidelines .................................. 29 Site Topography and Roadway Impact Analysis......................................................... 32VII. VISION FOR THE FUTURE .........................................................................................33VIII. FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERATIONS ................................40 Proposed Annual Park Operation and Maintenance Budget ..................................... 40JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  3. 3. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1 – Elizabeth Township Survey Return Results Table 2 – Percent of Respondents’ Disposition for Types of Recreation Funding Table 3 – Site Location Analysis Table 4 – Inventory of Recreation Facilities within Elizabeth Township Table 5 – Elizabeth Township Population Statistics Table 6 – Elizabeth Township General Demographics (2000) Table 7 – Percentages of Ethnic Groups within Elizabeth Township Table 8 – Elizabeth Township General Demographics (2000) Table 9 – School Enrollment in Elizabeth Township (2000) Table 10 – Educational Attainment in Elizabeth Township (2000) Table 11 – Household and Family Income in Elizabeth Township (1999) Table 12 – Family and Household Income (2000) Table 13 – Marital Status/Grandparent Care in Elizabeth Township (2000) Table 14 – Recreation Facilities: Existing versus Need Table 15 – Fiore Property III Quantity Takeoff Table 16A – Fiore Property III Preliminary Cost Estimate Table 16B – Fiore Property: Roadway and Parking Access Cost Estimate Table 17 – Church Property III Quantity Takeoff Table 18 – Church Property III Preliminary Cost Estimate Table 19 – Church Property/Fiore Property: Total Costs Table 20 – Estimated Ten Year Budget for Park O&M and Revenues LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 – Age Distribution of Survey Households Figure 2 – Locations of Survey Respondents Figure 3 – Preferred Recreation Facilities Figure 4 – Adult’s Favorite Activities (Top 10) Figure 5 – Youth’s Favorite Activities (Top 10) Figure 6 – Additional Space Needed in Twp. for Recreation/Nature/Sports Fields Figure 7 – Preferred Type of Recreational Facility Figure 8 – Park Usage – Group Size Figure 9 – Frequency of Use Figure 10 – Preferred Trail Use Figure 11 – Preferred Trail Amenities Figure 12 – Areas of Concern Figure 13 – Method for Funding Recreation Center Figure 14 – Recreation Facility Comparison in Elizabeth Twp. to National Standards LIST OF APPENDICES Appendix A – Park Survey Appendix B – Plan Sheets for Alternatives Appendix C – Location Map of Recreation Facilities Appendix D – Fiore/Church Property AlternativesJTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  4. 4. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 1I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe need to undertake a feasibility study to develop an indoor/outdoor recreation facility inElizabeth Township, Pennsylvania, was identified in the 2005 draft of the Allegheny CountyComprehensive Plan. Elizabeth Township, via the aid of a Keystone Recreation, Park andConservation Fund Grant, hired PBS&J to perform a feasibility study within the Township. Thestudy was initially scoped to take place in Round Hill Park, but was expanded to the entireTownship due to public concerns.The feasibility study was conducted from March 2006 to January 2007. It included theformation of a steering committee, field views, public surveys, public meetings, engineeringpractices and proposed recreation facility designs, and the generation of a feasibility study report.The feasibility study report summarizes the project goals, public survey results, site analyses,legal feasibility of indicated sites, and the usage feasibility of a newly constructed recreationfacility within the community in comparison to demographic needs and the number and type ofcurrent recreational facilities available to Township residents. The report also includes a visionfor the future of the recreation complex in the Township, as well as financial considerations thatTownship officials must take into account, when considering implementing the complex. Aproposed project cost and ten (10) year operation and maintenance budget were developed.The goal of the feasibility study was to determine the need, legal feasibility, and economicfeasibility of developing a recreation center. The study uncovered that residents were interestedin generating more space within the Township for recreation needs. Most residents preferredthat these spaces remain natural and undeveloped. There was documented support for anorganized sports tournament complex. A majority of residents agreed that a mixed-recreationcomplex with multiple recreational amenities was desired. The need was emphasized on acentralized location for residents to access within the Township. Township residents alsoexpressed concern in regards to additional taxes.The feasibility study included multiple alternative locations and scenarios for a recreationcomplex. After considerable research and cost/benefit analysis, it was determined that the FioreProperty and the Church Property were the most feasible options to house a recreation complex.The project costs were approximately $2.3 million and could be financially feasible for theTownship over a ten-year period, if the Township decides to go forward with the project.Additional grants and sources of funding should be sought to alleviate the potential developmentcosts of the recreational complex on the Township.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  5. 5. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 2II. PROJECT GOALS Feasibility for a Recreation Complex The Allegheny County Comprehensive Plan identified a need to study the feasibility to develop an indoor/outdoor recreational facility in Elizabeth Township. The initial goal of the project was to identify an area in Round Hill Park. Round Hill Park is a park and demonstration farm owned and operated by the Allegheny County Department of Parks and Recreation. However, areas outside of Round Hill Park were also analyzed. The capacity and feasibility of a recreation facility was examined at eight (8) different locations to determine an optimal site. A “No-Build” alternative was also included within the project study. The purpose of this study was to determine the need and feasibility to develop a recreation complex in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The capacity of the Township was studied via community support, market characteristics, physical/structural requirements, and the Township’s financial capability to acquire, develop, and sustain an indoor/outdoor recreational facility. The goal was to determine the need, legal feasibility, and economic feasibility of developing a recreation center. To determine the feasibility, a planning level intensity estimate was developed for each site. JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  6. 6. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 3III. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION The public involvement campaign involved a three (3) tier approach: public surveys, public meetings, and the key-person interviews. In addition to a project steering committee, public surveys were sent to each Township household. The public involvement process also included three (3) public meetings and key-person interviews. Steering Committee The steering committee met monthly to discuss issues as they arose and directed the progress of the project. Meeting minutes were recorded by PBS&J and provided for the steering committee members each month. Ten (10) regular steering committee meetings were conducted from March 2006 through December 2006. Public Surveys and Public Involvement Three (3) public meetings were conducted throughout the duration of the study. The first was a “kick-off” meeting to introduce the purpose and need for the project to the community. The second public meeting presented the survey results. The third and final public meeting was conducted to receive public input on the several alternative sites identified as potential recreation complex sites. This photo was taken during a public meeting held on July 25, 2006 at the Elizabeth Township municipal building. Joel Shodi, P.E. (PBS&J) served as a technical expert on the project and answered questions about the feasibility study for concerned citizens. JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  7. 7. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 4In the spring of 2006, 4,763 Public Opinion Surveys were mailed to each Elizabeth Townshipresidence; these surveys were compiled from a database of addresses for the entire community ofElizabeth Township. The survey was also publicized and posted on the Elizabeth Townshipwebpage. The survey asked several questions related to the existing community recreationfacilities; other questions were designed to provide input pertinent to the preparation of theFeasibility Study of a Recreation Complex in Elizabeth Township. The results of the surveywere made available at public meetings and were also posted online along with public meetingannouncements and other project milestones.Responses were sent to the Township municipal building on Rock Run Road. The totalnumber of surveys returned was 1,576 (or 35 percent). This very good return ratedemonstrates genuine community-wide interest in the future parks and recreation effortsin the Township. Table 1 – Elizabeth Township Survey Return Results SURVEY RETURNS TOTAL SURVEYS SENT VIA REGULAR MAIL 4763 TOTAL RETURNED AS UNDELIVERABLE 266 TOTAL SURVEYS RETURNED THROUGH WEBSITE 110 TOTAL SURVEYS RETURNED VIA REGULAR MAIL 1466 GRAND TOTAL RECEIVED 1576 SURVEYS SENT AND DELIVERED 4497 % RESPONSE OF ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP 35.0%Survey Results: DemographicsThe first questions of the survey were geared toward determining household demographics.Elizabeth Township residents were questioned about the street locations of their residences, inaddition to the size and age distribution of their households. (A copy of the survey is provided inAppendix A.)The age distribution of the survey responses is quite similar to the demographic profile of theTownship presented in Table 2 – Elizabeth Township General Demographics (2000). The youthpopulation (19 and under) comprised 25 percent of the surveys and about 23 percent of thepopulation in the 2000 census. The middle age groups (20-59 years) made up about 50 percentof the surveys and 51.6 percent of the 2000 population. Seniors (60 years and older) totaledapproximately 25 percent of both the 2000 population and the recent survey responses. Thesestatistics reveal both a very good survey return and a representative sample of theTownship residents.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  8. 8. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 5 Figure 1 – Age Distribution of Survey Households 4% 8% 4 years and under 25% 6% 5-10 years old 11-14 years old 7% 15-19 years old 20-39 years old 40-59 years old 60 and older 18% 32%Township residents were asked to identify their street of residence to determine any trends in thesurvey participation of households. The twelve (12) most frequently selected street locations areillustrated in Figure 2 below. Figure 2 – Locations of Survey Respondents 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 SCENERY DR LINCOLN KAREN DR DUNCAN OBERDICK GREENOCK BROADLAWN HIGHLAND HIGH ST SIMPSON OLD HILLS RD RIDGE RD HALL RD STATION RD DR BUENA VISTA DR DR HOWELL RD STJTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  9. 9. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 6According to the Township map, the most commonly indicated streets in the survey arerelatively evenly distributed throughout the Township. Scenery Drive had the largest number ofresponses due to its proximity to the proposed improvements to Round Hill Park near SR 0048and length of the roadway and single-family residences along the route.Survey Results: Recreation InterestsBased on the survey results, charts and tables were developed to graphically represent theresponses to the community recreation interest survey. Elizabeth Township residents wereprovided with the opportunity to indicate the types of recreation they enjoy and what theyforesee as the future needs of recreation facilities within the Township. Figure 3 – Preferred Recreation Facilities 700 600 500 400 Votes 300 200 100 0 il y r e r ns k s rd r an ds g nd a g l ns ds g g ra al te rs rt ke te te in re in al in in tio el oa lio el ri yb en ou ou ea ou iT el W m at oc A cl sh Fi Fi st Sh eb ta vi ith C cy le im C Sk gr C H Fi ic Sk ue e er sS Pa ll ol at ur n cn Bi ay is e ph Sw ic et Ba Eq e V ng io cc ry nn Sk at Ic cn es Pi re Pl m at So nt lle N tn Te Pi St A re ou ha Fi ll/ ec -C ba C R /X B- ng ki al WThe five (5) recreation facilities most preferred by Elizabeth Township residents are: aswimming pool, nature walks, a walking/cross country ski trail, fitness stations, and a recreationcenter. The most preferred facilities focus on activities that are undertaken via communityrecreation, with large groups of people being able to enjoy the activities together. Certain areasof organized sports were indicated, as well, but to a lesser degree. Residents agreed thesefacilities would be the most useful in a recreation center complex.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  10. 10. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 7 Figure 4 – Adult’s Favorite Activities (Top 10) To determine the most popular forms of recreation within the community, 650 both adults and children 600 were asked to indicate their 550 favorite recreational 500 activities. The responses Adults Favorite Activities (Top 10) 450 differed greatly between 400 the two demographic Responses 350 groups. 300 250 Adults seemed to favor 200 activities that can be 150 performed individually, or 100 within small groups. Adult 50 responses were also geared 0 Walk Bike Fish Golf Swim Exercise Gardening Camp/Be Outdoor Hunt Walk/Bike more toward fitness and Outdoors Shows theYRT leisure, rather than team sport interaction. Walking is, by far, the most favored activity within the adult community. Biking Figure 5 – Youth’s Favorite Activities (Top 10) fishing, golfing, and swimming are also very 60 popular activities amongst Youths Favorite Activities (Top 10) the adult population. 50 Organized sports are much more popular among the 40 community youth than Responses adults. Swimming, baseball and/or softball, 30 and basketball were the three (3) activities most 20 frequently selected by the Elizabeth Township youth. 10 The types of activities Swim Baseball/Softb B-ball Soccer Bike Playground Fish Exercise Skate(board) Football all/T-Ball enjoyed by community members, especially adults reflect the most preferred facilities in Figure 3.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  11. 11. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 8Survey recipients were questioned about their disposition for the allotment of additional space inthe Township to be utilized for park and recreation, sports fields, or natural areas with minimaldevelopment. Responses favored more areas for park and recreation and natural areas.However, no broad consensus was reached on constructing more sports fields in ElizabethTownship.Figure 6 – Natural Areas/Sports Fields/Park & Recreation Space: Additional Space Needed in Township 100% 8% 11% 20% 90% 8% 16% 80% 70% 27% 37% 60% 43% Strongly Disagree Disagree 50% Agree Strongly Agree 31% 40% 30% 44% 20% 33% 22% 10% 0% Natural Areas Sports Fields Park & Rec SpaceMany Elizabeth Township residents place high importance for the allotment of space forrecreational areas within the community. The Township is relatively divided on whether newsports fields are needed; 53 percent of respondents agreed, while 47 percent disagreed.Organized sports did not spark as much of an interest in the adult population in comparison tothe youth population in Elizabeth Township. Though there is relatively split agreement onwhether additional space is required in the Township for sports fields, many residents agree thatmore space for park and recreation (81 percent agree), as well as areas of minimal development(76 percent agree), are needed within the community.Elizabeth Township residents were also questioned about what type of recreation complex thatthey would most prefer in the community. Respondents could choose between a mixed-usecomplex, athletic fields only, nature areas only, or an indoor/outdoor court that could be used fortennis and basketball.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  12. 12. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 9 Figure 7 – Preferred Type of Recreational Facility 9% 20% 3% 68% Mixed Use Complex Area Athletic Fields Only Nature Areas Only Indoor/Outdoor Court (tennis, basketball)The majority of respondents (68 percent) prefer that a mixed-use complex be implemented intothe Township. The mixed-use complex could consist of trails, athletic fields, a recreationbuilding, a new toddler playground, nature walks, and other amenities to be addressed by theTownship. Some residents (20 percent) prefer that nature areas should be emphasized in theTownship, most likely for the use of passive recreation. A small number of residents indicatedthat they wish to have athletic fields only or an indoor/outdoor court be built for the community. Figure 8 – Park Usage-Group Size 20% 80% Small (6 or Less) Large (Greater than 6)Group sizes, type of recreation preferences, and frequency of recreation use are good indicatorsof both the extent and the types of recreation interest within a community. Elizabeth Townshipresidents indicated how often they utilized the community parks and if their visits tended to be inlarge or small groups. Most residents stated that they visit the parks in small groups.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  13. 13. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 10 Figure 9 – Frequency of Use The planned frequency of use was 2% 6% quite varied. One third of the 22% respondents stated that they would 21% use the proposed recreation facility one to two times per week. Few plan to use it everyday, and only a small fraction intend to use the facility 18% for sports teams only. 31% Small groups of people utilizing the proposed recreation facility Every Day 3-5 Times per Week 1-2 Times per Week Once per Week (Summer) once or twice a week should be Infrequently Only for Team Sports expected in the Township. However, many respondents commented that group size and frequency of use were highly dependent upon what types of amenities would be offered at the facility. Figure 10 – Preferred Trail Use Trails, such as nature walks and 1200 walking and cross country ski trails, were indicated as highly 1000 preferred facilities within the 800 Township (see Figure 3). The # of Votes next two figures (Figure 10 and 600 Figure 11) illustrate the types of 400 preferred trail activities and amenities that Elizabeth 200 Township residents wish to see 0 develop on the future trails of the Motorized Bicycles Animals area. Yes NoJTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  14. 14. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 11 Figure 11 – Preferred Trail Amenities 900 800 Yes 700 600 # of Votes 500 400 300 200 100 0 Mile Markers Exercise Stations EquestrianThe majority of the respondents (90 percent) did not favor motorized vehicle use on trails. Therewas much more support for bicycles and animals. A physical fitness trail with exercise stationsand distance markers was also favored.Survey respondents were also asked to add their comments or concerns to the survey. The topten (10) concerns or comments covered the following subject areas are shown on Figure 12. Figure 12 – Areas of Concern 180 No New Taxes; 188 160 140 120 Votes 100 Maintain Existing Facilities/Already Have 80 the Facility; 68 Safety/Security/ Vandalism; 61 60 No New Township Building; 42 Pool Needed; 31 40 20 No Improvements/ Any Improvement Need Activities Preserve Nature/ Concern about Use Funds for Children; 45 Maintain Country Site Location; 31 Welcome; 65 Elsewhere; 69 Setting; 39JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  15. 15. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 12“No new taxes” is the primary concern of the Elizabeth Township residents. This is a typicalresponse in most recreation surveys, and is a legitimate one. Most families are concerned withan increase in taxes. The purpose of this study is to determine which site alternative (includingthe “No-build” alternative) will be the most feasible and practical for Elizabeth Townshipresidents. Funding is obviously a consideration. Several additional financial options will need tobe examined by the Township, such as grants, bonds, and donations. These types of fundingsources can relieve the tax burden placed on residents due to recreational activities.The second concern came from those who were not in agreement with the necessity of parkimprovements. They stated no park improvements should occur and funds should be usedelsewhere. These concerns were often addressed by the older age group respondents. This isunderstandable if they feel that they would not use the park. It is also understandable if they areon a fixed income. They want their tax dollars paying for services other than recreation.Planned facilities will be ADA compatible. A Township-owned building that houses activitiesfor senior citizens may be attractive to this growing age group.A review of the demographics displays an increasing number of residents in the 60 and over agecohort. This trend is typical of communities and points to the need to have programs for seniors.Having picnics, horseshoes, and other games or activities at the park at no cost could change theattitude of these respondents that is contrary to the majority of Township residents. A trail atgrade level that is easy to walk and is visible to the public can attract the 60 and over age group.Seniors participating in a gardening club can help plant and beautify the park. Giving them areason to come to the park and participate in activities may change their attitude about recreation.Maintaining existing facilities was the third concern. The “No-build” alternative examines themodification of existing facilities to meet recreation needs for all age groups.“Any improvements to the park are welcome!” was the comment that ranked fourth in thesurvey.The fifth concern was issues regarding safety, security, and vandalism. To mitigate for instancesof vandalism, a “vandal resistant” design is evaluated at each site. Site access for emergencyvehicles and site visibility were considered in the designs.A need for children’s activities was the sixth concern. Current recreation facilities and programsfor all age groups is examined. Consideration is also placed on community growth anddemographics. This process identifies current and future needs for all age groups.“No new Township building” was the seventh concern. No new administrative Townshipbuilding is being considered. A building to house recreation programs, concessions, andmaintenance equipment is part of the alternatives analysis.The eighth concern was geared toward the preservation of nature and maintaining the countryatmosphere of the Township. The need for natural areas to meet passive recreation needsbecome an integral part of the alternatives analysis.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  16. 16. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 13The comment that a pool is needed in the Township ranked as the ninth concern. Existingfacilities are identified and examined in the area. Elizabeth Township is compared to theNational Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) for municipalities of similar size anddemographics.The preliminary site location in Round Hill Park adjacent to Scenery Drive was indicated as thetenth concern. As a result of the public survey and public meetings held, eight (8) sitealternatives are being studied.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  17. 17. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 14Survey Results: Funding OptionsTownship residents were asked to indicate the preferable types of funding that would be accessedfor the construction, administration, programming and maintenance for the addition of anyrecreational facilities that would be implemented into the area. Funding was organized into thefollowing categories: taxes, fees, grants, donations, endowments/corporate donations, andmunicipal bonds. Table 2 and Figure 13 serve as illustrations to the response from residents ontheir level of agreement with these various sources of funding. Table 2 – Percentage of Respondents’ Disposition for Recreation Funding Types Subtotal Subtotal Strongly Strongly Method of Funding Agree (Agree & Disagree (Disagree & Agree Disagree Strongly Agree) Strongly DisagreeTaxes 2.3% 10.0% 12.3% 22.7% 65.0% 87.7%Fees 20.7% 36.4% 56.4% 21.2% 21.8% 43.0%Grants 68.3% 24.7% 93.0% 1.5% 5.5% 7.0%Donations 62.3% 32.7% 95.0% 1.4% 3.7% 5.1%Endowments/ Donations 61.7% 32.3% 94.0% 1.8% 4.2% 6.0%Municipal Bonds 29.3% 33.1% 62.4% 14.6% 23.0% 37.6% Figure 13 – Method for Funding Recreation Center 100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% Strongly Disagree Responses Disagree 50.0% Agree 40.0% Strongly Agree 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% Taxes Fees & Grants Donations Endowments/ Municipal Memberships Donations Bonds (Capital Improvements) Funding TypeMethods for funding the facility were geared toward grants, donations, and endowments, withover 90 percent of respondents being in favor of utilizing these funding resources. Municipalbonds, fees and memberships were favored by over half of the respondents. Taxes were the leastfavored with almost 90 percent of respondents being in disagreement with their use (65 percentstrongly disagreed). Even though the majority of respondents favored municipal bonds, 25percent strongly disagreed with their use.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  18. 18. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 15IV. SITE ANALYSIS Round Hill Park was originally identified in the Allegheny County Comprehensive Plan (2002) as being the best potential location for a recreation complex that would fulfill the recreation needs of Elizabeth Township. The original scope of work involved identifying a site within Round Hill Park at selected locations previously identified in the Comprehensive Plan. However, as a result of the community involvement, several other potential sites were indicated for further study. The following eight (8) sites were identified, in addition to a “no-build” alternative, in the public survey and in verbal and written reply during the public project kick-off meeting. • Howell Property, located off Lincoln Road which is approximately ninety (90) acres. This property is presently owned by Elizabeth Township and is designated as park, recreation and open space property. The Softball Association was looking at a portion of it for a softball field. • Fiore Property, privately owned. A portion of the property is currently under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) hazardous waste cleanup. • Seven Springs, privately owned and is comprised of approximately 20 acres. At the time of the study, the property was posted for sale. • Boston Riverfront, riverfront recreation area and regional trail head. • Round Hill Park, at the current soccer field site. • Round Hill Park, at the former Nike missile site. • Round Hill Park, in the northern section near SR 0048 and Scenic Drive. • Church Property, centrally located in the community behind the municipal building. This sight has recently become available due to the desire of the owner of Higher Grounds Gospel Church to disband and sell the property. • No-Build Alternative, modification of existing facilities to better meet the recreation needs of the community; does not include constructing new, additional facilities. Each site/alternative was visited, photographed, mapped, and evaluated for compatibility to meet the Township need for a recreation center. A second public meeting was conducted to present the survey results and alternative sites chosen for additional study. JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  19. 19. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 16Alternative Site Evaluation ResultsBased on map review, site visits, and public comments received during the second publicmeeting, the following conclusions were made regarding each of the alternatives: • Howell Site This 90 acre site is located along Lincoln Road and is currently owned by the Township. The Howell Property has considerable environmental constraints towards its development (i.e., wetlands, perennial streams, and drainage issues). Also, its acreage and topography are not conducive to the building of athletic fields. This location is better suited to be left as wooded, open space and the Township should look into developing nature trails and other forms of passive recreation on the site as opposed to active recreation facilities. Though there are many walking trails in the area, additional trails were sited as a need in the public survey. Development of a master plan is necessary to determine the future development of this 90 acre area. (See Appendix B, Figure 2B for a property site location map.) • Fiore Site The Fiore Property has much potential. This site offers several vistas of the river valley, contains an existing road, and has a fairly even terrain. Consequently, the cut and fill requirements associated with parking lot and ball field development would be less intensive than most of the indicated sites. Another advantage to this site is that it contains a possible connection to the Youghiogheny River Trail. Though part of the property is under USEPA and PADEP cleanup, there is sufficient acreage to develop a recreation complex. A recreation complex could be developed upgradient and distant from the clean-up area. If this site were chosen, it has the stigma attached to it as a hazardous waste dump. A public involvement campaign would be needed to convince parents it was a safe site for recreation. The site is also advantageous because of the property owner’s willingness to negotiate to make the property acquisition more feasible. The major disadvantage of this site is that recreation development and associated traffic could create additional noise and increased traffic due to sporting events. The traffic could create problems with residents along Henderson Road, Oak Street, and safety concerns at the intersection of Buena Vista and Henderson Road. This problem can be alleviated. Mitigation would involve over half of a mile of new roadway extended from Henderson Road in addition to the extensive upgrades needed on Henderson Road approaching the site. The area is along the 100-year floodplain and is relatively flat. Utilities and roadway access are not readily accessible, but could be made available. (See Appendix B, Figure 3B for a property site location map.) • Seven Springs Site At the time of the study, this twenty (20) acre property was for sale. The site is adjacent to both a golf course and residential properties. Though it contains twenty (20) acres, the site location, orientation, and size are not conducive to active recreation development.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  20. 20. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 17 Site distance and set back requirements from the highway create potential driveway access safety concern. This site will receive no further consideration. (See Appendix B, Figure 4B for a property site location map.) • Boston Riverfront The Boston Riverfront Park has utilities, immediate trail access, and is a conducive site for recreation. However, it is almost fully developed with little potential for additional recreational development. Portions of the property are included in the 100-year floodplain. It is not desirable to make significant changes to the site to meet current recreation needs. No further study or consideration for this site to house a recreation complex will be conducted. (See Appendix B, Figure 5B for a property site location map.) • Round Hill Park – Soccer Site This site currently hosts the area soccer fields. However, expansion for further recreational needs would be expensive due to the growth of grading necessary for additional parking, site drainage, and storm water management. There are also conflicts with the existing agricultural operations. While this section of Round Hill Park is isolated from other land use, utility service to this high elevation property would also prove to be costly. (See Appendix B, Figure 6B for a property site location map.) • Round Hill Park – Nike Site This site is isolated from other recreation land use and is compatible with the farm use of Round Hill Park. Fields located in the area are not presently part of the farm operation and could be converted to recreational use with reasonable cut and fill limits. The site is accessible from Skyline Drive off of Pine View Drive. Access and egress issues, along with utility availability, will need to be studied in further detail. There is water and electricity accessible to the site. However, the site is not compatible with a Council of Government (COG) operated shooting range for local police officers that is currently located in this area. Topography issues also exist as narrow hillsides prevent a cohesive complex and require extensive roadways. (See Appendix B, Figure 7B for a property site location map.) • Round Hill Park – Northern Site This site is located near the intersection of SR 0048 and Scenery Drive. A perennial stream runs through the site. Set back and permit requirements are a hindrance. During the public involvement process, considerable discontent was registered among adjacent property owners. This site is located adjacent to the high school football stadium, but a point of access and close proximity to the intersection of SR 0048 and Scenery Drive is a concern. Set back requirements from the roadway and stream location limit the site’s development for a recreation complex. The required amount of acreage for a building, parking, storm water management, and other amenities is likely to be too great for this area. (See Appendix B, Figure 8B for a property site location map.)JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  21. 21. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 18 • The Higher Ground Gospel Church (“Church”) Property The Church Property was a late consideration in the feasibility study, but seems viable. It is centrally located within the Township, behind the municipal building and has an existing baseball field with utility, access, and zoning capabilities. Also, the existing church can serve as a very capable multi-purpose recreation building. While the property has sections of favorable topography, its lack of acreage makes the construction of soccer fields to be virtually impossible. Also, property acquisition is an issue. It is recommended that this lot be developed into a baseball complex with a recreation building, trail, and event area. (See Appendix B, Figure 9B for a property site location map.) • No-Build Alternative The No-Build Alternative is another consideration within a feasible study. It is utilized if all of the other sites and recreation ventures are determined to “not be feasible.” This concept addresses areas to improve in order to better meet Township recreation needs, rather than adding more facilities to an area.The following criteria were utilized to evaluate the feasibility of the properties with regard totheir use as a recreation center: Zoning Capability • Recreation center complex is compatible with surrounding land use, planned development, and comprehensive plans. Utility • Utilities (gas, electric, water, and sewage) are on-site or nearby. Access/Traffic • Site is centrally located, with good roadway access and potential site drives can be placed with good sight distance. • As a potential traffic generator, a recreation complex will likely not be detrimental to the roadway’s level of service (LOS). Environmental • Overall environmental condition of the site is good with no visual signs or odors of hazardous material releases, stressed vegetation, or surface water discoloration. • Adjacent properties show no visual signs of contamination. • Environmental constraints (floodways, wetlands, streams, etc.) would not restrict development. • If developed, on-site storm water runoff is manageable. Acreage • Acreage is sufficient for a multi-purpose building, recreation fields, parking, storm water management, etc. Area is large enough to meet current demand and future needs (20+ acres are required). Topography • Availability and access to flat, level sites for building(s) and athletic fields are practical and feasible without excessive engineering or cut and fill requirements.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  22. 22. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 19The site analysis of the aforementioned properties is illustrated in Table 3 below. Table 3. Site Location Analysis EVALUATION CRITERIA Poor Fair Good Zoning Compatibility Environmental Access/Traffic SITE Topography LOCATION Land Use Acreage Utility 1. Howell (90 ac. off Lincoln Road) 2. Fiore Property 3. Seven Springs Site (20 ac.) 4. Boston Riverfront 5. Round Hill Park - Soccer Site (Existing) 6. Round Hill Park - Nike Site 7. Round Hill Park - Northern 8. Church PropertyAlternative AnalysisAfter analyzing the project study sites, the Fiore Property and Church Property were determinedto be the most conducive to recreation center development. The Fiore Property offers substantialacreage of flat lands, scenic views, and a natural connection with the Youghiogheny River Trail.While more limited in size and scope, the Church Property offers a centralized location, anexisting building, an existing baseball field, and is linked to the municipal building. These siteswill be carried forward for detailed study in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department ofConservation and Natural Resources (PADCNR) Feasibility Study requirements.The next step of the feasibility study was to determine if there were legal restrictions on the twoselected properties. In addition, a recreation need study was required to determine whatrecreation facilities are best suited to meet local demands and how these properties were bestsuited for recreation sites.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  23. 23. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 20V. LEGAL FEASIBILITYThe Church Property is currently for sale and is listed by Howard Hanna Realty. The parish hasbeen dismantled. Accordingly, there are no known reasons as to why the Township could notpurchase and develop the property.Discussions have occurred with owners of the Fiore Property. While parts of the property areunder reclamation by the PADEP, sections of the property along the western border are notcontaminated and are available for use. The owner(s) have interest in developing the remainderof the property. There may be conflicts among heirs or caveats attached to the sale or dispositionof property. There is also the possibility of the Township to obtain a 25-year lease. If this werethe case, it would be recommended the Township only place soccer fields on the property withno buildings.As the Township continues to develop, the Township officials should consider a Townshipordinance regarding the preservation of open space and setting aside land for recreation. Inrecent years it has become common practice across Pennsylvania for municipal governments torequest that property be set aside for recreation when developers create plans for residentialproperties. Residential developments increase the need for local government to providerecreation spaces and services. A resolution merits consideration of adoption by Townshipofficials.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  24. 24. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 21VI. USAGE FEASIBILITY The usage feasibility explores how practical the addition of recreational amenities would be in the Township. It also helps determine the best use of the preferred alternative sites. This concept is based upon both the current demographics of the area, the recreation facilities that are currently available to the public, and the types of recreational facilities being considered to meet the recreation needs of the community. Population Analysis People have different recreation interests due to differences in age, family status, income level, health, and other variances in demographics. Therefore, it is critical to identify the following characteristics listed above, especially the present predominant age groups within Elizabeth Township, as well as to project these age groups into the future, so that the Township can effectively plan recreation centers that are the most practical and feasible for its residents. Elizabeth Township’s population as of 2000 is 13,839 residents. The Township’s population has slightly decreased in size over the past forty (40) years and is projected to do so in the future. Population Sizes Table 5 - Elizabeth Township Population Statistics Population Current Statistics Projections 2000 % Change in Population 2010 2020 Population from 1960-2000 13,839 -2.26% 12,488 12,967 Elizabeth Township is also an aging community. The median age increased from 39.3 years in 1990 to 43.3 years in 2000. Residents age 35 and older comprise almost 73 percent of the Township’s population. The largest age group is the 35-54 year olds comprising 41.4 percent of the population. This type of age group typically forms the backbone of a community. There is often a high percentage of homeowners in this age cohort, with higher incomes and less demand of public services. With an increasing median age and a large “middle-aged” group, Elizabeth Township must plan accordingly for the future of the area. JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  25. 25. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 22 Table 6 - Elizabeth Township General Demographics (2000) POPULATION Demographic Number Percent Under 5 years 664 4.8% 5 to 9 years 824 6.0% 10 to 14 years 913 6.6% 15 to 19 years 852 6.2% 20 to 24 years 581 4.2% 25 to 34 years 1,375 9.9% 35 to 44 years 2,093 15.1% 45 to 54 years 2,273 16.4% 55 to 59 years 825 6.0% 60 to 64 years 739 5.3% 65 to 74 years 1,391 10.1% 75 to 84 years 1,012 7.3% 85 years and over 297 2.1% Total Female 7,198 52.0% Total Male 6,641 48.0% Total Population 13,839 100.0% Median Age in 1990 39.3 years Median Age in 2000 43.3 yearsElizabeth Township has a relatively homogeneous population with a much lower percentage ofminorities than the state (2.6 percent versus 14.6 percent). In 2000, the racial make-up of theTownship consisted of 97.4 percent white, 1.7 percent African American, 0.3 percent Asian, 0.4percent Hispanic, and 0.6 percent “Other.” It should be noted that the African Americanpopulation declined 0.6 percent from 1990 to 2000. Table 7 - Percentages of Ethnic Groups Within Elizabeth Township 1990 2000 Demographic Number Percent Number Percent Population 14,712 100.0% 13,839 100.0% White 14,312 97.3% 13,473 97.4% African American 334 2.3% 234 1.7% Native American 10 0.1% 6 0.0% Asian 46 0.3% 38 0.3% Hispanic 53 0.4% 51 0.4% Other 10 0.1% 88 0.6%Elizabeth Township is comprised of primarily family households, living in owner-occupiedhousing units with married couples. Three quarters of the households in Elizabeth Township arefamilies of which 62.5 percent are married couple families. One third of the households haveindividuals younger than 18 years old, while another one third of households consists of at leastone individual over 65 years old.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  26. 26. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 23 Table 8 - Elizabeth Township General Demographics (2000) HOUSEHOLDS Demographic Number Percent HOUSEHOLD BY TYPE Family households 4,105 75.1% ...With own children <18 years 1,547 28.3% Married-couple family 3,419 62.5% ...With own children <18 years 1,243 22.7% Female householder, no husband 499 9.1% ...With own children <18 years 224 4.1% Non-family households 1,362 24.9% …Householder living alone 1,213 22.2% …Householder >65 years 629 11.5% Households w/individuals <18 years 1,678 30.7% Households w/individuals >65 years 1,817 33.2% Total households 5,467 100.0% Average household size 2.50 - Average family size 2.92 - HOUSING OCCUPANCY Occupied Housing Units 5,467 96.3% Vacant Housing Units 211 3.7% Seasonal/Rec/Occasional Use 12 0.2% Total Housing Units 5,678 100.0% Homeowner Vacancy Rate 1.3% - Rental Vacancy Rate 4.3% - HOUSING TENURE Owner-occupied housing units 4,618 84.5% Renter-occupied housing units 849 15.5% Total occupied housing units 5,467 100.0% Average household size (owners) 2.56 - Average household size (renters) 2.14 -A key to the continual growth of Elizabeth Township is to attract businesses and develop a laborbase. Attracting a strong labor base needs to include young people with diverse backgrounds andeducations. Elizabeth Township needs to develop a recreation facility to accommodateteams or groups that will be multicultural in gender, age, and ethnicity.EducationElizabeth Township school enrollment is illustrated in Table 9. The highest percentage ofstudents is enrolled in elementary school. The percentages of students enrolled in the variouslevels of education correspond well with the demographics of the area. Thus, most, if not all,children in the area are enrolled in some level of education.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  27. 27. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 24 Table 9 - School Enrollment in Elizabeth Township (2000) Demographic Number Percent Nursery school, preschool 259 8.1% Kindergarten 175 5.5% Elementary school (grades 1-8) 1,382 43.3% High school (grades 9-12) 879 27.6% College or graduate school 494 15.5% Total population (>3 yrs.) enrolled in school 3,189 100.0%The level of education accomplished consists of much smaller percentages of the “over 25” agegroup. Less than half of these residents are high school graduates. However, ElizabethTownship holds higher numbers than both the county and state in the percent of high schoolgraduates and Associate’s Degree holders. Elizabeth Township was equal to the state in thepercentage of residents with their Bachelor’s Degree (14.0 percent), but had less than AlleghenyCounty. Table 10 – Educational Attainment in Elizabeth Township (2000) Percent of persons 25 Percent of persons 25 Percent of persons 25 and older that are and older with their and older with their high school graduates Associates Degree Bachelors Degree Elizabeth Township 42.3% 10.0% 14.0% Allegheny County 33.9% 7.1% 17.3% Pennsylvania 38.1% 5.9% 14.0% Table 11 - Household and Family Income in Elizabeth Township (1999) HOUSEHOLDS FAMILIES INCOME IN 1999 Amount Percent Amount Percent Total Households/Families 5,484 100.0% 4,158 100.0% Less than $10,000 375 6.8% 101 2.4% $10,000 to $14,999 347 6.3% 150 3.6% $15,000 to $24,999 627 11.4% 380 9.1% $25,000 to $34,999 788 14.4% 608 14.6% $35,000 to $49,999 946 17.3% 790 19.0% $50,000 to $74,999 1,348 24.6% 1,189 28.6% $75,000 to $99,999 560 10.2% 474 11.4% $100,000 to $149,999 370 6.7% 352 8.5% $150,000 to $199,999 68 1.2% 59 1.4% $200,000 or more 55 1.0% 55 1.3% Median household income $42,463 - - - Median family income - - $50,740 -JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  28. 28. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 25 Per capita income - - $20,904 - Median earnings: Male full-time, year-round workers - - $41,145 - Female full-time, year-round workers - - $25,988 - Households with… Earnings 4,112 75.0% - - …Mean earnings $52,898 - - - Social Security income 2,042 37.2% - - ..Mean Social Security income $12,552 - - - Supplemental Security income 109 2.0% - - ..Mean Supplemental Security income $5,385 - - - Public assistance income 108 2.0% - - …Mean public assistance Income $2,151 - - - Retirement income 1,334 24.3% - - …Mean retirement income $18,041 - - -Elizabeth Township’s median household income in 1999 was $42,463, with approximately 42percent of households earning between $35,000 and $74,999 annually. The Township’s medianincome is relatively higher at $50,740 annually. Both the median family and household incomesare slightly higher than the state’s median income level.Three quarters of the Township is categorized as “earnings,” while over one third of thepopulation receives Social Security income, and another quarter receive a retirement income.Only a fraction of households receive either supplemental security income or public assistance.The median income for male full-time workers is substantially higher than females (men earn 37percent more than women in Elizabeth Township). Table 12 – Family and Household Income (2000) Median Family Income Elizabeth Township $50,740 Pennsylvania $49,184 Median Household Income Elizabeth Township $42,463 Pennsylvania $40,106Marital StatusElizabeth Township has a dominant population of married couples (see Table 12). However,even a small amount of single-parent households can have a significant impact on the ability of afamily to partake in recreational activities.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  29. 29. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 26 Table 13 - Marital Status/Grandparent Care in Elizabeth Township (2000) Demographic Number Percent MARITAL STATUS Never married 2,299 20.1% Now married (except separated) 7,406 64.7% Separated 139 1.2% Widowed 893 7.8% ..…Female 766 6.7% Divorced 715 6.2% …..Female 440 3.8% Population 15 years and older 11,452 100.0% GRANDPARENTS AS CAREGIVERS Grandparent living in household with one or 13 - more own grandchildren <18 years Grandparent responsible for grandchildren 7 -With 1.2 percent separated and 6.2 percent divorced, there are 854 single-parent homes inElizabeth Township, which affect recreation needs. Single parents generally have less time toget children to and from recreation facilities and programs. The large amount of area thatElizabeth Township makes up also has an impact. Some children cannot walk or bike tofacilities or program sites. Less free time available for single parents and the location offacilities and programs can impact how often a single parent can transport children to and fromactivities and sites.Developing a User ProfileA review of Township demographics revealed that residents age 35 and older comprise almost75 percent of the Township, with seniors, age 65 and older; representing 19.5 percent of thisstatistic. Therefore, the recreation center must meet the needs of these age groups, as well as theyoung. Several key-person interview respondents indicated the Township needed to develop arecreation center to make the Township more attractive to young adults. A recreation center wasalso cited as an attraction to retain or attract the 20 to 34 year old cohort into the Township.Currently this age group only accounts for 14.1 percent of the Township population.National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)StandardsA comparison of available recreation facilities in the Township to the National Recreation andPark Association (NRPA) Standards is illustrated below in Figure 17. Table 4 provides asummary of Elizabeth Township recreation facilities. Appendix C includes an illustration thatindicates the location of each of these facilities in the Township.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J
  30. 30. Elizabeth Township Feasibility Study Page 27The “National Standards” have been adopted by the NRPA as the current means to determine arecommended ratio of acreage of open space in comparison to population or per capita. Thepurpose of the publication is to underscore the most important objectives of the park andrecreation planning process; to ensure that a community knows how to go about securing enoughof the right kind of land to provide the scale of recreation space system the majority of thecitizenry desire.In growth impacted communities such as Elizabeth Township, land for parks and recreation isoften at a premium and needs to be acquired in a timely manner before land is lost forever. Thesame is true for those elements of the community landscape which should be protected throughsome kind of community open lands preservation program.JTC-jrs:A04355Jan-07 PBS&J