Collier Community Park’s ball fields and numerous courts officially opened Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new deck hockey rink.
Local and state dignitaries, along with sports radio host Mark Madden, cut the red ribbon to welcome residents to use the deck hockey rink and the other amenities that are sprouting up in the 72-acre park.
Most in attendance could not believe how much work had been done in the past nine months to transform the former Nike Site military base with barracks and old buildings into a state-of-the-art park.
But Madden said the best is still to come when kids and their families are playing in the park and the sparkling new deck hockey rink.
“If you want to see a bigger change, come back in a few months and see all the kids playing here,” Madden said. “(The hockey rink) will become a rallying point for a lot of people.”
Madden remembered teaching street hockey to kids using tennis courts in Penn Hills. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins have pledged to donate enough hockey equipment for four youth teams in Collier Township.
“It’s great to see this facility sprout out of nowhere,” Madden said. “It’s great to see the centerpiece of this facility is the deck hockey rink.”
The transformation has been years in the making.
Initial designing began in 2007 and the community offered more input in later years. But the past nine months have been astonishing as the old fitness center and barracks were razed last year, giving room to build soccer fields, basketball courts, a deck hockey rink, playground and many other amenities.
There is more work to do with only 15 acres out of the 72-acre plot developed.
“It’s hard to believe in nine months we took an old army facility and turned it into a park,” said Bob Caun, who is Collier Township’s codes and zoning officer.
Others, however, were also impressed with the improvements made to Collier Township.
“You’ve come a long way, baby!” Allegheny County Councilman Mike Finnerty said, acknowledging the work by the township commissioners and employees. “We’re looking at a new day in Collier Township.”