York Twp. explores adding multi-purpose recreation building at park

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch
York Twp commissioners hired JMT to design a conceptual plan for a Multipurpose Recreation Building. (Submitted/photo)

York Township officials are considering constructing a multi-purpose recreation building in the township-owned park near the York Area Regional Police Department off Oak Street. 

Commissioners approved spending $23,150 to hire Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, a township-based architecture, engineering and consulting firm, to design a conceptual building plan. 

Board president Robert Steele said he doesn't favor the site. Steele cast the one dissent in the 3-1 vote. Commissioner Robert Kessler was absent. 

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Steele said he believes the building would be beneficial, but he doesn't think the proposed site's access is very good. He added that he doesn't want to lose the soccer field where the building would be constructed. 

"There are other lands in the township that I'd like to put it on. I don't know that I have enough money to buy the land, though," he added.

The York Township staff supports the proposed building site, Commissioner Albert Granholm said.

"This is the site that a majority of the staff, after looking at the cost of land and the availability of the land, think is big enough to do something like this," Granholm said. 

Other parcels of township-owned land have limitations, such as slopes, that would increase the cost of constructing the building, Granholm said. An improved access road could be added, he said, but purchasing new parcels of land would "add tremendously to the cost."

"So, we can look at other parcels, but I think the end cost you would incur would almost doom this from the beginning," Granholm said. "This is costly, no doubt, but in order to build this, we're going to need to spend a fair amount of money." 

The building, he explained, would "house a number of multi-use courts, three or four of them, multi-use rooms, administrative areas and support areas."

The township budgeted $50,000 to hire JMT, Granholm said. 

Commissioner Paul Knepper said his "biggest concern is finance."

"About five years ago, York Township did declare itself to be a debt-free municipality," Knepper said. "We did it during some of those harsh economic times."

He noted it's a "developable" site, but he doesn't want to incur a lot of debt.

Commissioner George Jones said he is "pleased" with the location. And, he said, he thinks it will be a township asset. 

Steele remained hesitant to support the proposed location, he said, because he wants to keep in mind future generations. 

"Many years ago, before I was a commissioner, the township commissioners were a bunch of wise folks," Steele said. "And they got this land as we know as the township park to make facilities for a small soccer playground. And, I look back at that. They were really thinking ahead for the citizens of the township ... about tomorrow. With that in mind, I'd hate to lose it, the recreation facility, to a building."