COAL TOWNSHIP - Township commissioners are looking to build an indoor basketball facility at Arch Street playground.

A grant application for $250,000 is pending with the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for the first of a two-phase project to construct two indoor courts. Commissioners envision the courts inside a pole building complete with locker rooms, bathrooms and a concession area. It would be built where the tennis and basketball hard courts are currently located, parking likely to the rear.

Craig Fetterman, commissioner chairman, said after Thursday's meeting of the board of commissioners he understands the township would be stepping on the toes of its neighbor, Shamokin, since it would seek out area youth teams to play at the proposed gymnasium, noting that it would have ground level access.

The Shamokin Youth Basketball League (SYBL) is a longtime tenant of the American Legion Building in downtown Shamokin. The gymnasium is located on the third floor and is not handicapped accessible. The league also uses the Ralpho Township and Line Mountain Elementary gyms.

The Shamokin Youth Girls Basketball League (SYGBL) plays at the Shamokin Area Elementary Annex on East Arch Street, and also practices at the main elementary school.

Ideally, Fetterman said, the township street department would prepare the site and construct the building. That could be enough to meet the requirement to match 15 percent of the grant total. Volunteer help would be sought from local trade unions and contractors. The Lower Anthracite Regional Recreation Committee (LARRC) is also involved in the project, he said.

While basketball would be the main focus of the gym, it's planned to be multi-purpose. Fetterman noted volleyball could be accommodated as could indoor soccer practice. He also said batting cages are a possibility; anything that would support the facility.

All of it hinges on the state's acceptance of the township's grant application.

The township received a grant last year totaling $100,500 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for improvements to the Arch Street playground. It is required to match that total with township funding or in-kind services.

In other business

The commissioners announced Route 125 in Coal Township and Shamokin would be milled and resurfaced in 2016, according to a letter from PennDOT.

A rail crossing in Lower Excelsior is planned to be upgraded, much like what was installed at Eighth and Water streets in Shamokin, township manager Rob Slaby said.

Properties at 12 S. Poplar St. and 1600-1602 Pulaski Ave. are to be purchased from the county repository list for $500 each and be demolished with Keystone Grant funding.

An annual allocation of $10,000 was approved for the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library.