$250,000 state funding to help Montco Football Group install sod

HORSHAM, PA – The sports fields at Kohler Park are notorious for flooding during big storms and rendering them virtually unusable during heavy rains.

The Horsham Soccer Association have realized this and have recently started seeking financial assistance to enable the addition of artificial turf to the park, located at 1100 Limekiln Pike in Horsham Township.

This week it was announced that State Rep. Todd Stephens, a Republican from Montgomery County whose district includes the park, was able to help secure $250,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority that will help with desired improvements on the Kohler sports fields.

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“Kohler Park is located in a floodplain, which makes football fields unusable for days after rain events due to safety concerns,” Stephens said in a statement. “The addition of grass soccer fields will allow young athletes to safely participate in soccer and other activities. I am proud to have helped secure these funds so that our young athletes can continue their love of soccer .”

The upgrades at Kohler Park will include the installation of a new synthetic turf surface for use during football games and other small side games, according to Stephens’ office.

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The improvement project will also include the installation of yard drains and pipes that will help resolve drainage issues.

Stephens noted that the Horsham Soccer Association had already raised an impressive $700,000 for the project and that this injection of additional funding would help move the project forward.

Football association board member Bob Kent previously told Patch that the group had secured a number of sponsorships from local businesses such as Bimbo Bakeries in Horsham, as well as backing from Stephens and State Senator Maria Collett, a Montgomery. County Democrat.

Other sponsors who have provided financial assistance include the Horsham Township Commercial Development Authority, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, Temple University and US Mortgage Corporation, according to the football association.

This list is not exhaustive, as others have also volunteered to provide financial assistance.

Football association board member Anton Kuhner told Patch in an interview that the group started raising money for the improvement project around June or July 2021.

Kuhner said it has become increasingly difficult over the years to maintain the fields; one fall it rained so much and so hard that it almost completely destroyed the fields, he said.

The fundraising, he said, began with the help of Horsham Township itself.

“They have always been very supportive of our project,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can within their means, but we always knew we had to fundraise.”

Kuhner credited Rep. Stephens, whose own children participate in the soccer program, for helping secure additional revenue.

“He saw the issues firsthand,” Kuhner said. “We just started meeting and identifying grants.”

The association also dipped into its reserves and organized various raffles, festivals and other means of trying to obtain funding.

“Any way we can to find money from grants and sponsors,” he said.

Kuhner said the football association would ultimately like to see future new grass pitches open to other youth sports groups and the wider community because the Horsham community can be united.

The goal for now is to get construction started after the fall season, but that would depend on obtaining property permits and also additional dollars.

The ultimate monetary goal is around $1 million, Kuhner said.

A graphic provided to Patch outlining the project shows the proposed addition of two grass areas – one 100 meters by 60 meters and the other 55 meters by 30 meters – as well as an on-site rain garden.

The Horsham Soccer Association is due to hold its second annual Autumn Festival on Saturday, which will also act as a fundraiser to try to secure additional funds for the project.

The program is scheduled to take place at the Kohler Football Grounds off Limekiln Pike in Horsham between 4 p.m. and 10.30 p.m.

The event will feature food trucks, a DJ, outdoor movie screenings, a dunk tank and various games with prizes.

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About Irene J. O'Donnell

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