TRIPIL receives grant for YWCA renovation

December 25, 2013
A conceptual drawing of what the YWCA building in Washington might look like after renovations

Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living of Southwestern Pennsylvania, a community center in Washington, will receive a $1.5 million state grant to renovate the 80-plus-year-old former YWCA building, state Sen. Tim Solobay and state Rep. Brandon Neuman announced Monday.

TRIPIL purchased the building in January 2012 for $325,000 to provide services for people with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. TRIPIL plans to open the former YWCA facility as a community center after renovating the historic, 27,000-square-foot, three-level building on West Maiden Street. The project could cost as much as $8 million.

“This grant is much needed and will make our community a better place,” said Neuman, D-North Strabane. “I look forward to seeing our community continuing to grow with great projects like this.”

The $1.5 million grant will be awarded through the state Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program.

“The grant is tremendous news for the people of Washington and a sign that top state officials are convinced of the value of the project,” said Solobay, D-Canonsburg. “These grants are not easy to come by, and you really have to prove yourself.”

The building housed the Washington branch of the YWCA from 1929 to 2002. Preliminary work already has begun at the site, including preparations to remove asbestos and preserve the architecture.

Ken Kulak, architect with C-M Services, McMurray, called the building “Elizabethan Revival style” and said there’s no other architecture like it in Washington or Greene counties.

Steeply pitched slate gable roofs, hexagonal leaded windows, decorative stone icons and a central bay flanked by two other bays mark the building as Elizabethan Revival, which became popular in the 1800s.

TRIPIL hopes to finance renovations through a combination of grants, loans, gifts, federal and state tax credits and the local share of gambling proceeds from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.

Kathleen Kleinmann, TRIPIL CEO, said the state grant will potentially help fundraising efforts by attracting contributors.

“We’re very excited,” Kleinmann said. “This is a significant step, and it’s very big news for the people of Washington.”

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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