Soldiers Field
Soldiers Field Update #7
July 2023
Over the past month, since we posted Update #6, the Foundation and the members of the Real Estate Committee have continued to meet with our Solicitor and Landscape Architect/Engineering firm to refine the plans for Soldiers Field. During this time, we have compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions document to collect and combine individual questions we have received either by email or on Facebook. We are also including an email from our engineering firm which addresses porous paving questions. 
If you have additional questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to the Foundation at
Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation
Soldiers Field 
Frequently Asked Questions
July 13, 2023
Does the current design utilize green construction practices and stormwater management practices (porous pavement, bioswales)?
  • The majority of the parking spaces (37) will be reinforced turf with an ‘EZ-Roll’ system. This will be 100% porous and will be maintained in a lawn condition. The remainder of the spaces (12) will be porous asphalt which will allow rainwater to drain through the pavement. The design also incorporates rain gardens which are above and beyond the requirements of the Township.
  • Given the slope of the parcel, rain gardens were incorporated instead of bio-swales in strategic areas to capture and filter / infiltrate stormwater. The intent of the raingardens is to reduce any point source discharges of stormwater from impervious surfaces associated with the parking area.
  • The current design does include a paved entry loop and exit road. While these are impervious cover, the site plan incorporates the rain gardens which are designed to capture and filter any runoff from the paved surfaces.
What if we require a design for the site that uses only pervious/porous surfaces?
  • It will be difficult to use pervious paving in the entrance area as South Londonderry Township will likely require that the entrance area which connect to their public road be of asphalt material.
  • Notwithstanding the entrance being impervious, the best pervious material to use would be porous asphalt paving. This material would allow for water drainage through the surface to a further layer of gravel before the water is drained into the soil.
Is there any downside to this type of Porous Paving?
  • The porous paving material would be approximately 20 – 25% more expensive than the traditional asphalt. This would add in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 to the cost of the project.
  • The porous pavement needs to be vacuumed two to three times each year to ensure that the porous material does not clog. Once clogged the material would drain the rain water the same as traditional asphalt.
  • In a heavy storm, the porous pavement would perform no better than traditional asphalt as a result of the clay subsoil which would limit drainage of the water below the paving.
  • The clay subsoil would also limit drainage throughout the year and might result in water being stored and surcharged beneath the porous pavement, and could lead to warping of the pavement.
  • Porous pavement is not recommended for the access drive aisles and other areas where wheels will be making sharp turns, this can lead to ‘rutting’ of the porous material. [See email below from Steve Gergely for additional information]

Are we considering other porous paving alternatives?
• We have explored other porous alternatives including Porous Pave and AgTec Heavy Duty
Driveway and Truck Parking Grid Pavers.

A resident suggested that we use the same paving material as was used in Chanticleer Gardens. Can’t we use that for all of our pervious paving?
• The material used by Chanticleer, Porous Pave, does not have a grade of paving that is suitable for automobile traffic. As to the walking paths, we have reviewed the use of porous paving and are concerned that the design of the porous paving may cause significant damage to tree roots under the path. This is because porous pavement will require a deeper base as well as terracing of the base. [See email from Steve Gergely for additional information]
A resident suggested that we use AgTec Heavy Duty Driveway and Truck Parking Grid Pavers. Can we use that paving?
• This material is not appropriate for our use. While the AgTec paver, in theory, allows grass to grow through the paver material, our use is a full sun use. The downside of the AgTec paver is that it heats up in full sun which provides a challenging environment for grass growth. This outcome is evident in the paved area near the Porch and Pantry.
Why do we need paving at all since we have already completed the stormwater management work?
  • The primary function of the drainage swale completed last fall was to capture and reroute the stormwater coming from north of the property from Shay’s field and Timber Road. Notwithstanding this, the field itself and its clay soils are not capable of draining quickly during and after a large storm. As a result, the engineer still recommends the EZ Roll grids and either porous or impervious paving.
Why do we need any driveway or loop road at all? Why not just use EZ Roll grass grids?
  • We believe that the drive and loop road provide structure and guidance to visitors parking in the area.
  • Simply having an open field would result in a hodge podge of parking unless a parking attendant is hired to guide visitors.
If the zoning application is approved by South Londonderry Township substantially in the form originally proposed, could the improvements be completed in stages, or could only a portion be completed?

• It is possible that the improvements could be completed in stages but this would need to be confirmed by the zoning officer. We need to clearly understand how the Township would view partially completed work at the site.
Why did you include ADA compliant parking in your original plans?
  • As noted in update #6, the handicapped spaces shown on the original plan are not intended as parking for patrons attending events in the Campmeeting and Chautauqua. These spaces were included in the plan to help those who would want to explore the paths, monuments and Rails to Trails. In fact, the paved spaces on the original plan were included to provide reliable year- round parking for these uses.
  • It should be noted that the PA Chautauqua recently approved the addition of 4 additional handicapped parking places in its parking areas.
  • Notwithstanding this, we believe it is important to provide handicapped parking in the plan.

Several residents have stated that they do not understand why the Foundation would spend so much money on paving and lighting for an area which will see most of its use just three months per year.
  • We believe that the parking area within the Soldiers Field Nature Area is an improvement that not only provides year-round parking for the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail and visitors to Soldiers Field itself but will also allow for overflow parking which will provide for the safety of summer visitors to other activities in Mount Gretna. These visitors are currently forced to park on the shoulder of State Road 117.
  • We have already received two requests regarding use of the field for parking. One is for before the season (May) and one is for after the season (September)
We have been asked why we need to have permanent lighting.
  • Much of the need for overflow parking is the result of evening performances at the Playhouse in combination with other activities within the Campmeeting and Chautauqua. Without lighting it would not be safe for visitors to walk to the parking area without adequate lighting. This lighting is required by South Londonderry Township to the extent the parking is open after dusk.
  • We believe that by providing a lighted ADA Compliant walking path and appropriate lighting in the parking area that visitors to the area will have a pleasant and safe experience returning to their vehicles.
  • We are working with our Landscape Architect to ensure that the parking lot and pathway lighting is downward directed and meets the minimum requirements of South Londonderry Township for parking lot and walkway lighting.
  • We have no plans to use the lighting from Labor Day until Memorial Day weekend.
Soldier's Field email from Steve Gergely
Wed, Jul 5, 10:28 AM 
In response to your inquiry about the use of porous paving at the Soldier’s Field project, I wanted to offer the following comments:
·       Porous paving relies on permeable soils to allow the passage of water from the paving course, through a clean stone subbase below, over an uncompacted sub-base into the soil below.  This differs from standard paving which is installed over compacted modified stone over a compacted sub-base. The stone area beneath porous paving is greater (at let 12”) to provide an appropriately sized storage volume for runoff. The porous paving is simply a conduit to the sub-surface best management practice (BMP) which is the stone bed.
·       The use of porous paving is not recommended on slopes over 5%. In addition, the stone sub-base under the paving must be level, otherwise water that passes through the pavement to the stone below will follow the grade and could compromise the pavement at lower areas or create an unwanted discharge point or points. If porous pavement were utilized for the walking path or the access drive from the parking area to Timber Road, much of which will be on grades at or approaching 5%, the excavated area would be much greater to accommodate terracing of the stone, as well as the need for significantly more stone than the compacted modified stone base that would be used for standard pavement. If the intent is to have minimal disturbance to the surrounding wooded areas, less excavation is preferable in the interest of protecting existing tree root systems.  
·       When our office designs porous pavement, we typically only specify porous pavement under the parking stalls themselves, and not the access drive aisles. The reason for this is that standard paving, consisting of a base and a wearing course, is more durable and will hold up better to the higher traffic volumes associated with access drives, as well as frequent turning maneuvers into and out of parking spaces, which can ‘rut’ out porous pavement.
·       If porous pavement is used for the parking stalls themselves, because they will be adjacent to raingardens, any overflow from the paving will flow to the raingardens for infiltration / evapotranspiration. Due to the presence of wetlands at the southeast corner of the field, it is very unlikely that the soils will provide much if any infiltration capacity. The raingardens have been designed to be shallow (6”) and with water tolerant vegetation to provide for water uptake through the root systems. If porous pavement is used at the parking stalls, it should be understood that water will likely not infiltrate and could surcharge through the pavement in larger storm events. If this happens, it will run off as it would with standard pavement and still end up in the raingarden areas, which are strategically placed downslope of the paved areas associated with the parking lot and access drive.  
·       For porous pavement to be successful, a regular (2 – 3 times a year) regimen of vacuuming must be adhered to. Due to the significant tree canopy adjacent to the project, a higher frequency may be necessary. Once the pavement becomes clogged, it will not infiltrate any longer. We have seen this happen on some of our projects.  
·       From an environmental perspective, my position is that paving the walking path with standard pavement with a constant cross slope (2%) will allow water runoff from the trail to be directed into the adjacent woodlands and will not cause any point source discharges. This will also entail the least amount of excavation and potential damage to existing trees.
I hope this helps answer your questions, please feel free to contact me if you need anything else.

Volunteer activities, public walks and programs are being discussed and planned.  Efforts to remove invasive species, plant trees and shrubs and other beneficial projects will commence in April and May of 2021.  Members of the Soldiers Field Volunteer Brigade will be notified of future activities.  To be added to the Brigade mailing list please contact us at
Soldiers Field Meadow

Soldiers Field Meadow
Visitors in Soldiers Field
Visitors to Soldiers Field

Local Press Coverage

Lancaster News Article


Additional information is available by calling 717-964-3270

To support future projects at Soldiers Field, you can do so by making a donation to the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Foundation.
The Chautauqua Foundation operates within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Charitable donations are tax deductible.