Land bought from Excela could become new park along Route 30 in Hempfield

Oct. 30—Hempfield residents soon could have a new park more centrally located in the township as officials look to revamp land recently purchased from Excela Health.

Of the 43 acres comprising the property along Route 30 near Mt. Pleasant Road, 14 acres could be designated for a park featuring a splash pad and fitness and nature areas. A new road and pad foundations for future developments on the property that would be funded by a Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant also are planned for the site.

Proposals for improvements come more than a year after the township purchased the land in a $4 million deal with Excela, which bought the property for $3.75 million in 2015 in hopes of building an orthopedic center.

Supervisors paid the health care provider $1 million from a general fund, while also transferring funds from an existing $3 million RACP grant.

Township leaders are looking to develop the property, which is adjacent to

UPMC's Weatherwood Manor and Excela's Westmoreland Women's Health facility. It is near the township's border with Greensburg and South Greensburg and is next to a residential area off the Route 30 Summit Drive exit.

------

Related:

—$4M deal: Hempfield purchases 43 acres from Excela, agrees to transfer grant

—Hempfield residents asked to give input on 2 proposed township parks

------

During a workshop session this month, Aaron Siko, director of parks and recreation, presented plans for the park.

"For so many years, we've been asked about something that is more centrally located than Hempfield Park, so we thought that this property... would be a great opportunity," Siko said.

According to Siko, officials determined a need for the park through master plan surveys and from community feedback on the township's comprehensive plan.

Renderings for the site show two parking areas near a pavilion and deck. A promenade and boardwalk lead to a nature park, which is located next to a splash pad and plaza. A multi-use building near the fitness park will have space for concessions and storage. An asphalt trail will loop around a meadow filled with existing vegetation.

The space has been dubbed Weatherwood Community Park.

The first phase of the project is expected to cost $4.1 million. Supervisors on Monday approved an application for a 2022 Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant totaling $1.5 million. Officials plan to cover the remaining balance using other grants, the Hempfield Parks Fund and township contributions.

A $2.1 million RACP grant will focus on making improvements to the site.

That will include clearing the area and performing earthwork and grading. Pad foundations for future buildings, a new roadway, a trail system and on-site utilities — including proposed stormwater facilities — will be constructed. The grant also will be used for lighting and landscaping along the road and trail.

Winters noted that future development on the site has not been determined.

It was not clear when work might begin on the property.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan by email at mtomasic@triblive.com or via Twitter .