South Fayette commissioners clear way for construction of TopGolf plan at Newbury

South Fayette commissioners have cleared the way for TopGolf to move into the Newbury Development.

TopGolf, an indoor driving range pictured here, will begin construction of a new facility at Newbury Market in August. Photo:Photo courtesy of TopGolf.com

South Fayette commissioners have cleared the way for TopGolf to move into the Newbury Development.

The commissioners unanimously voted during their Wednesday meeting to terminate a lease with Newbury Development Associates, allowing the TopGolf project to use the nearby Koppers soccer fields for sitework.

The approval comes in conjunction with the board’s decision in April to approve a site plan to TopGolf, a three-level indoor driving range facility. Township manager Ryan Eggleston said Newbury can now use the soccer fields, which are located behind the commercial development, for sitework aside from the construction of the venue.

“With them moving forward specifically with the TopGolf project, the reality is they are preparing sitework,” Eggleston said. “This is the paperwork that’s necessary to officially close out that lease with them for the soccer fields.”

Solicitor Robert Garvin said the South Fayette Soccer Association previously confirmed they have “no further use” of Koppers Fields. TopGolf officially announced Tuesday it will begin constructing the 65,000-square-foot golfing complex at Newbury Market in August. The facility, which will be TopGolf’s first in Pennsylvania, is expected to open next summer.

“We have made finding the perfect location in Pittsburgh a priority over the last several months,” said Devin Charhon, director of real estate development for TopGolf. “The northeast has seen a very fast-paced population growth, and with the vibrant nature of downtown Pittsburgh, this area has been very attractive for a TopGolf venue. We look forward to offering residents a new destination for year-round indoor and outdoor entertainment.”

The company announced TopGolf Pittsburgh will include about 3,000 square feet of private event space and 102 hitting bays that can host up to six players at one time. The company estimates it will serve 450,000 visitors in its first year of operation in Pittsburgh.

The board also unanimously approved an expansion of The Watson Institute, a school serving children with disabilities.

David Heath, project manager at Gateway Engineers, said the expansion is a four-classroom addition to the southern wing of the building, as well as adding 17 parking spaces.

“This item just shows the great things that Watson Institute is working on up there,” Eggleston said.

Commissioner Jessica Cardillo abstained from voting on the transfer of the 2016 surplus to the capital reserve fund, which passed 3-0, due to the absence of the amount being transferred. Eggleston said after the meeting the township is still “finalizing” the surplus from 2016.

The board discussed establishing a volunteer firefighter credit program, which would enact earned income and real estate tax relief to volunteer firefighters and EMS workers. The motion was tabled to the July meeting due to questions that arose about the eligibility period, the amount of tax relief and where the person is living versus where they are volunteering.

Shawn Emerson, a partner from McGill, Power, Bell & Associates, presented the 2016 audit to the board, which will vote on it in July.

“The communication, as far as how the financial reporting system works, we’re very comfortable with it,” Emerson said.

The board also unanimously approved advertising an ordinance for the off-leash dog zone at Fairview Park and the hiring of Markus Buchanan as a full-time South Fayette police officer.

At its July meeting, the board will discuss a new emergency operations plan and a committee to work on the zoning code update, as well as the aforementioned audit, off-leash dog zone and volunteer firefighter credit.

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