The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Family savors completion of Hanlon Sports Complex !

Erie, PA. – Hanlon family proud that facility project completed in Millcreek

Paige Hanlon and her family members felt a wave of emotion when the last portion of the entrance sign was moved into place at the David P. Hanlon Community Sports Complex.

“I was brought to tears. My dad was, too. I think we all were,” said Paige Hanlon, David Hanlon’s widow, of the intimate family moment when the project was completed several weeks ago at the corner of 38th Street and Caughey Road. “It was a very touching moment.”

Shortly after David Hanlon died suddenly at age 46 after he suffered a heart attack while jogging in 2003, the Millcreek Township School District named the site that included McDowell High School’s baseball and softball fields after the school’s former athletic director. However, Paige Hanlon and district officials had a grander vision for a complex that would replace a student parking lot and grass field on the plot of land across from the high school.

The sign’s recent completion brought to an end a $2.5 million, 15-year effort that had become a passion for Paige Hanlon, her three children, Collin, Braden and Peyton, her father, John Pulice, and the extended Hanlon and Pulice families.

The official ceremony to mark the opening of the facility will wait until late August when the school district is likely to recognize the facility’s completion before the football team’s home opener. Until then, Millcreek officials and David Hanlon’s family will continue to bask in the sight of young people using the facility.

Dream becomes reality

Millcreek schools Superintendent William Hall said he felt especially proud of the project on a recent weeknight when he saw the complex teeming with activity as dozens of young people utilized the turf field, tennis courts and basketball courts.

“It was very rewarding. I guess I’d say it was very validating,” Hall said. “We knew it was going to be a focal piece for our district, and we couldn’t be happier about it.”

The Hanlon Community Sports Complex includes a multi-sport, artificial turf field with a walking track, two outdoor basketball courts, outdoor restrooms and a new parking lot, along with the baseball and softball fields and tennis courts that already existed on the grounds.

Although the facility is designated for school district activities first, it is called a “community sports complex” because the public can utilize the courts and fields, in some cases by signing up on the district’s website.

The new turf field does not have lights, so it can be used only during daytime hours. Gus Anderson Field still will be the site of varsity activities, although the Hanlon turf field could be used for junior high and junior varsity football games, along with practices for a variety of sports teams at different levels.

The complex was part of a larger McDowell construction and renovation project that was funded through a $28 million bond.

Plans for the improved complex were on hold for more than 10 years before the Millcreek School Board approved the project in April 2015. The district broke ground on the new complex late in 2016.

Family affair

Despite the long wait for the facility’s completion, Paige Hanlon never gave up hope.

She said the project was especially dear to her family and not only because her husband’s name was on the project.

Paige Hanlon and her four siblings — Kim, Traci, Holli and Jon — remained close to the project throughout the construction. Literally.

“We all live within a quarter mile of McDowell High School,” said Paige Hanlon, who has been a first-grade teacher at Grandview Elementary School for 32 years. “The fact that we all live so close to it, this is something that has been a big part of our family and extended family. My kids and I have been very involved in the whole process since the project began.

“My dad is retired, and he was there every single day this spring proudly watching the construction of the archway. He would report to me each day what was done so I was sure to pass by on my way home from work.”

Although the completion of each segment of the renovation has been exciting for the family to watch, the installation of the entrance sign in June was particularly meaningful.

Paige Hanlon joined with friends to organize football tailgate parties to raise money to fund the sign.

“We’ve had tremendous support from so many friends who helped with donations, running the tailgate and attending,” she said.

Paige Hanlon and her children helped design the sign and also picked out the stone for the base.

“We love the final project and have had so many compliments from the community,” she said.

Terry Carrara of Carrara Steel donated the steel and steelwork. “He’s a very dear friend of my father’s. I can’t thank that man enough,” she said.

The weekend that the sign was completed, all three of her kids joined her at the complex.

“It was bittersweet for us because he’s not here to see it,” Paige Hanlon said. “But generation after generation of our family as well as the residents of Millcreek Township will get to use it. It’s a blessing to have David’s name on it.”

Paige Hanlon said “Field of Dreams” was her husband’s favorite movie. The features a man who hears a calling to make a baseball field. So it’s ironic that the movie’s most famous line is, “If you build it, they will come.”

She’s seeing that passage come to fruition at the Hanlon Community Sports Complex with not only teams and young people but also families spending time together.

“David was all about being a great Dad,” Paige Hanlon said. “Athletics were obviously important to him because he was an athletic director. He passed away exercising.

“I think that his name being up there would not be David’s main focus. The thing that would make him very proud is seeing so many kids using it. He loved Millcreek and McDowell. I have no doubt he is looking down with tremendous pride and our family is beyond grateful.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !


www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PlanFinalGuideAd

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*