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Community Center could be township centerpiece in Chartiers

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:40 p.m.

A plan to build a community center with space for senior citizens' activities has been more than 30 years in the making and could be the centerpiece of a multiple park development in Chartiers.

Whether the community center goes forward as planned at Arnold Park depends on construction bids due by Oct. 9, township officials said.

Chartiers has collected $1.7 million toward the project, including $250,000 from the Chartiers Houston Area Senior Citizens, $500,000 from the township's share of gambling taxes from the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and $100,000 from a gas-drilling lease with Range Resources, said Richard Metzler, chairman of the board of supervisors.

The concept of creating a community center began in 1980, but a lack of funding hampered the development, said John Marcischak Sr., secretary of the Board of Supervisors and a former member of the parks and recreation board.

Officials expect the community center to be about 9,300 square feet and include a senior citizens' room, small kitchen and general-purpose room and large banquet room that can be rented by residents.

Over the years, donations have helped push the plan along, Marcischak said.

In 1995, the Arnold family gave 31 acres of land next to Chartiers-Houston Junior/Senior High School, and about two years ago, the Patsch family gave 13 acres adjacent to that for athletic fields, Metzler said.

It's become more crucial to develop green spaces in Chartiers as business developments boom in the area, including in North and South Strabane, officials said.

The community center would kick off township-wide development of parks, Metzler said. The 44-acre Arnold Park is undeveloped.

Growth in the central Washington County area has included gas drilling-related operations, shopping centers, hotels and the Meadows, Metzler said.

With the increase in the tax base, the township expects to develop vacant park land that has been donated, starting with creating a master plan, Metzler said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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