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South Hills

Jefferson Hills exploring community center idea

| Friday, June 1, 2018, 11:00 p.m.

Talk of building a community center in Jefferson Hills has circulated for years.

Now, leaders are moving forward to further explore the idea.

They want to know: What the community wants in a center, how much a project like this could cost and where a possible community center could be built in Jefferson Hills.

“It's time to dip our toes in the water,” said recreation board member Brian Konick, who said recreation board members have been kicking the idea around for nearly two years.

Jefferson Hills Council on May 14 unanimously approved a proposal from Core Architects for $15,000 to conduct a feasibility study for a new community/recreation center.

The study will weigh community interest and gather feedback from residents regarding what they want to see in a community center.

It will review possible costs and determine locations where a community center would be feasible.

Several new members joined the recreation board in 2014, with a mix of parents of young children, high school students and graduates. The group revived Community Day, which is now in its second year.

The group has explored the idea of adding a community center in Jefferson Hills, visiting Bethel Park's center and seeing what others have to offer.

Typically, community centers include athletic courts from basketball to volleyball, a walking trail, a recreational gym and meeting rooms, Konick said.

It's yet to be determined what a community center in Jefferson Hills would include. That's part of what the study will reveal: What do Jefferson Hills residents want in a community center?

“First and foremost is: is the community behind this, as we believe it is? Then, how to outfit it,” Konick said.

As recreation board members explored the idea, what sealed it for them was looking at a 2010 Comprehensive Recreation Plan for the borough. The number one request from residents was that the borough add a community center, Konick said.

“We have the best recreation board we have ever had,” council President Christopher King, said in a statement. “They have taken the initiative on numerous parks and recreational projects and upgrades as well as bringing Community Day back to the borough. This study is just another example of their progressive approach in following a recommendation that came out of our 2010 Comprehensive Recreation Plan. We look forward to seeing the results.”

As part of the study, residents will be asked to provide input.

Information likely will begin disseminating to the community in early July. Updates will be posted on the borough website, www.jeffersonhillsboro.org. The study is planned to take a couple of months.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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