Monday groundbreaking for Chartiers Community Center

January 3, 2013
The architect’s rendering of the new Chartiers Township Community Center

The Washington County Redevelopment Authority has announced that the Chartiers Township Community Center groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Arnold Park, 2010 West Pike St., Houston.

The 9,100-square-foot, one-story building will include a banquet room, kitchen, multipurpose room, office, conference room, concession stand, meeting room for the local senior citizens group and restrooms.

Contracts totaling $1.4 million have been awarded to four prime contractors, including Kusevich Contracting Inc. of Etna, Allegheny County. Hayes Design Group of Bridgeville is in charge of design and oversight.

“I’ve been with this project for 100 years,” quipped John Marcischak, township supervisor and former member of the local parks and recreation commission.

“When I was with the schools, they said, ‘We need someone to work with the senior citizens.’ When Harlan Shober came on board, he started to pick the thing up and it started to grow stronger at that point. From then on, it grew with clarity.”

Shober, now a county commissioner, said the township purchased the original 31-acre site before he was elected supervisor, and the Patsch family donated another 13 1/2 acres.

Donations to the community center project over its 17-year planning stage were more than $200,000 from the senior citizens group, $350,000 from the former Arden Landfill Trust Fund, $500,000 from the state Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program and $500,000 from the local share of gaming revenues from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, administered by the Washington County Redevelopment Authority.

“You take advantage of things that are given to you,” Shober said Wednesday. Waste Management, owner of the landfill, helped to prepare the site, and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, which also operates in Chartiers Township, removed dirt needed for its newest car barn at no cost to the township, which resulted in a pad-ready site.

The township hopes to open the center in October for use as a recreational facility and place for meetings, fundraising events and weddings.

“The kitchen won’t be totally equipped, but it will be functional,” Marcischak said.

Arnold Park already contains a picnic area, parking lot, entrance road and observation deck for high school biology students studying marsh habitat. Township funds plus a matching grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources paid for the first phase. Lighting, water and sewer lines and a restroom were built later, and the Arnold family added a pavilion.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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