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Pirates Charities and the Heinz Endowments partner to renovate Sanguigni Field in Brighton Heights
07/07/2011 11:11 AM ET

Pirates Charities and The Heinz Endowments, in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, Astorino and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, today officially re-dedicated Sanguigni Field in Brighton Heights. The field is part of the John Merry Sports Complex, which is home to more than 300 youth baseball and softball players in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The field was selected by Pirates Charities and the City of Pittsburgh because it was in need of renovation and had significant water drainage and erosion issues caused by the topography of the field. With the guidance of Astorino, an overall renovation plan was developed that specifically addressed the water problem using green practices. Environmentally-friendly elements were used throughout the project, which will now provide an educational opportunity for children and adults using and visiting the field in the future.

"We are proud to bring this group of partners together to rebuild this field and make a long-term positive impact in our community," said Bob Nutting, Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities. "Not only have we helped to rebuild a ball field in the Brighton Heights community, we were able to show how such projects can be done in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way."

"This is a great day for our young people and for Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. "This new and improved ball field provides improved recreational opportunities for our youths and at the same time teaches them the value of going green. Our City's rebirth is not just about new skyscrapers downtown, but ensuring that the quality of life in our neighborhoods gets even better for the young people of Pittsburgh."

Some of the green features incorporated into the project include a bio-retention swale constructed in the outfield that catches rain water before it reaches the playing field, the addition of a Rain Garden to avert downstream flooding, and the installation of a pervious concrete sidewalk and a grass-pave system that allows water to percolate into the ground while providing support for maintenance vehicles and protecting the grass. Recycled and locally-sourced materials were used wherever possible in construction.

Both dugouts have been refurbished, rather than replaced, using sustainable plywood with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) stain. This stain minimizes the negative effects that standard stains and paints with a high VOC have on the environment and the health of people that come in contact with them. The new backstop behind the plate was made from recycled rubber truck tires.

A solar-powered waste receptacle and scoreboard have also been added to promote recycling and save on electricity. The waste receptacle will reduce the amount of materials ending up in landfills and the scoreboard will use 120 times less power than the old traditional electric scoreboard.

"The Pittsburgh Pirates' significant commitment to environmentally friendly business practices has set a national standard for professional sports," said Heinz Endowments President Robert Vagt. "We are proud to be a partner with Pirates Charities in a project where our two most precious assets interact - children and community recreational spaces. There is nothing quite like a transformed neighborhood ball field to teach young people fundamental values - from sportsmanship and fair play to sustainable design and good environmental stewardship."

The playing surface was revitalized through aeration and over-seeding. New sod was not necessary, thus avoiding the need to dispose of the old sod in a landfill. New landscaping, including the installation of the Rain Garden by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, was added adjacent to the playing field. Several new trees were planted that will improve air quality and provide natural shade. The new trees are all native or adapted landscape species.

"The Brighton Heights Athletic Association is honored and thankful for the generosity of Pirates Charities and The Heinz Endowments. Their efforts have revived our little league field and raised the level of pride within our organization," said Mike Gavlik, President of the Brighton Heights Athletic Association. The Sanguigni Field renovation is an extension of the Pittsburgh Pirates' "Fields for Kids" and "Let's Go Bucs, Let's Go Green" programs. "Fields for Kids" is in its third year and has provided more than $250,000 to 68 individual youth baseball and softball organizations in the greater Pittsburgh area to help renovate baseball and softball fields. The "Let's Go Bucs, Let's Go Green" initiative began in 2008 at PNC Park and emphasizes recycling, composting, water and energy conservation practices. As a result of these green practices, today 44% of the waste generated at PNC Park is recycled rather than disposed of in landfills, which is among the very highest diversion rates in Major League Baseball.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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