By Kalea Hall
The dream of an indoor activity center is becoming a reality in Poland Township Park.
NiSource Midstream Services donated $90,000 to install waterlines to the center, and an additional $200,000 in verbal commitments from private funding have been obtained.
An announcement about the new facility will be made at 11 a.m. today at Poland Township Park featuring state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd; state Rep. Ron Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th; Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti; Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro; representatives from NiSource; and others.
“I just think it could be huge for the entire community,” said Zel Bush, Poland Community Baseball Association president and the Indoor Poland Activity Center president.
Ideas for the new center sparked last year after Mark Naples, former township trustee, suggested the idea of an indoor community center to Bush. Located between Moore, Cowden and Miller roads, the park has 11 soccer fields, a playground and pavilion. Additional improvements are expected in the future on the property that is owned by Republic Services and operated by Carbon Limestone Landfill. The land is leased to the township for $1 annually.
“I was very excited because our organization is paid to rent facilities and we had an opportunity to not have to rent a facility,” Bush said.
The Indoor Poland Activity Center will allow for various sporting activities including volleyball, wrestling, baseball, soccer and softball in addition to family and community events.
There also will be space for conferences and meetings in the $600,000 facility that is expected to be completed in June 2015.
NiSource, the company that brought the Hickory Bend plant along with Hilcorp affiliate Harvest Pipeline to a 90-acre site in New Middletown, has donated to other area projects in the past, including $40,000 to emergency services in Springfield Township, $1,000 to Springfield Soccer Association and $15,000 to Poland Township for a student-resource officer.
“We are really happy to contribute positively to that new center,” said Sarah Barczyk, NiSource spokesperson.
Ungaro called the activity center a home run.
“I think it is what the area needs,” Ungaro said.
Donations for the new facility still are needed. Email IPAC.Poland@gmail.com if interested.