Ryan Eggleston moved to South Fayette in June 2012 to begin working as the township’s municipal manager. Eggleston grew up in Titusville and worked as the city manager for Greenville in Mercer County and Oil City, before coming to South Fayette. He holds a degree in political science and history from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in public administration from Gannon University. He and his wife, Julia, will be married 10 years this summer and have two boys and two girls, ages 2 to 8. “It’s crazy to think it’s been this long already. Definitely loving it and very much enjoying it. We’re settling in and consider this home,” he says. “It’s a great place to be.”
You’re originally from northwestern Pennsylvania, so what attracted you to South Fayette and the position of township manager?
Coming from up in northwestern Pennsylvania, I’ve always consider Western Pennsylvania my home. A couple things, specifically, drew us to South Fayette. From a professional standpoint, it was a great opportunity, lots of room to grown, a lot of economic development percolating. It’s very rewarding. It’s a different dynamic managing (South Fayette) rather than the ‘shrinking city’ component. This was an opportunity to come around with the growth. How do you grow and how do you grow smartly?
Personally, we love the amenities with so many around here and in nearby communities. Being a short drive from Pittsburgh and all the cultural things it has to offer – sports, arts, theater. And the schools were a draw as well.
A young, professional family seems to be the exact demographic South Fayette is catering to. What is your favorite part of living and working in South Fayette?
One of the things I really like in my role and being the township manger and a resident, it gives me a really good pulse and day-to-day understanding of what is happening in our hometown – even nights and weekends, when I’m not in the office, just out and about.
We try to be engaged in the different sports programs – soccer, basketball and baseball with our kids – and some of the extracurricular activities. We really feel like it’s been a place we’ve enjoyed it. I’ve worked with a lot of great people in local government, but I feel like the team we have in place here, from managers to rank and file, it’s just a great environment.
South Fayette’s slogan is “A community growing together.” Not long ago, the township was mostly farmland. What challenges do you face as one of the fastest growing municipalities in Allegheny County?
We love the fact we’re growing, but it can at times be taxing on our resources. That goes back to the great team we have in place and people who care about moving us forward. There’s a great opportunity for us to be a diverse community. Our strongest demographic is young, working professionals with children. As we grow as a community, how do we diversify and make this as a place (for young families) or folks who have retired, how do we make it attractive for someone to be here and long-term where we have more than just single-family home with kids in the school district? It’s a great place to be, but you want that diversity – a well-rounded neighborhood.
What are the services people have come to expect from South Fayette and what do they want to see in the community?
Parks and recreation are an area that continues to grow with the desire of people to come in and use those amenities. Community space, indoor or outdoor, continues to be a need where we must grow. Obviously, the library is a space that we do a lot of work out of a very small space. I always look at it and say all of these services for less (in township taxes) than what an average family pays for a sewage bill in a calendar year. What are you getting for your buck? Access to parks, walking trails and community assets.
The (proposed) community center falls into the need for better facilities. We’re getting on that and that is still out there and the forefront of our thoughts. Multi-purpose outdoor fields behind Boys Home Park that will have new fields and alleviate the need for recreation space. That’s what we’re focusing on for priority needs.
Where do you see South Fayette 10 years from now?
My hope would be for South Fayette – the general community of residents and business owners – that this is the ideal place to be in Western Pennsylvania. When people talk and think of communities that are the shining example of how local government should be, that we’re one of, if not the first one, people are talking about 10 years from now, and talking about it for all the right reasons.
A community that really is growing together and trying to further that diversity between commercial growth and housing, so we can attract school-age families, young professionals and seniors who have lived here all of their lives and might want to downsize.
We’re really excited about the opportunities that are on the horizon for South Fayette Township.