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North Fayette's new community facility expected to be boon for area

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:19 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Lin Nalesnick (left), former librarian and president of the Western Allegheny Friends for the Enhancement of the Library, and volunteer Cathy Scott check the call numbers on books recently shelved in the new Western Allegheny Community Library on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, in North Fayette.
architectural rendering courtesy of DRS Architects
North Fayette plans to build to replace its community center, built in the 1950s, with a new one at a cost of $4.5 million. The Western Allegheny Community Library, which had been renting space in the center for more than 20 years, will move into its own building, purchased last year for $895,000.
architectural rendering courtesy of DRS Architects
North Fayette's new community center will be about a mile south of the existing one, and will be a three-level, 27,000-square-foot building with a lounge and banquet room for rent. Tennis and basketball courts at the township building will be moved to the newcenter.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Eric Moody of Don Farr Moving and Storage shelves books on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, in the new Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette.

Construction of North Fayette's new community center will be delayed by a year and will cost about $1.5 million more than planned, but township leaders expect the finished project and a relocated library to be key amenities for a growing population.

“With any kind of luck as we move forward — we have a good relationship with (the library) — that will continue,” township Manager Robert Grimm said.

North Fayette plans to build a $4.5 million community center on New Park Road Extension that will include an indoor gym, track and playground. The center will be more than twice as large as the existing center on Steubenville Pike, the first part of which was built about 60 years ago, Grimm said.

The township initially expected to finish construction of a $3 million community center by July 2014 on part of the 9.127 acres it is buying from Charles and Elizabeth Kelly for $180,000.

But questions about the legal description of the property delayed the sale, Grimm said, and the planned size of the building increased, pushing up the price tag.

Now that the legal issues have been resolved, the township expects to soon finalize the land purchase, start construction of the center in spring 2014 and finish work by July 2015, Grimm said.

The Western Allegheny Community Library, meanwhile, is moving to its own building on Bateman Road after leasing space in the community center for more than 20 years.

Grimm said the library, which receives funding from Findlay, North Fayette and Oakdale, will have more flexibility in providing programs and services in its new, bigger quarters.

“The new community center does the same thing for the township,” he said.

North Fayette's population growth prompted a move to more recreational offerings. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew about 14 percent to 2,663 residents, according to Census Bureau data.

“We recognized that for us to be able to accommodate our existing programs and growth, that we need this space,” he said.

Neighboring Findlay recognized the value of recreational amenities when it built a recreation and sports complex near Leopold Lake on Route 30 between Imperial and Clinton, Findlay Manager Gary Klingman said.

Completed for $5.5 million in 2005, the complex includes two lighted basketball courts, lighted soccer fields, a skate park and a dek hockey rink.

“We think that's part of the equation for people to consider — the schools, recreational opportunities, the access, the affordability,” Klingman said.

North Fayette officials said their current community center is too small, has insufficient parking and cannot meet federal accessibility standards.

The new center will be about a mile south of the existing one, and will be a three-level, 27,000-square-foot building with a lounge and banquet room for rent. Tennis and basketball courts at the township building will be moved to the center, Grimm said.

Parks and recreation programs will expand, including those for senior citizens and elementary school children. The center will be built next to Donaldson Community Park on Donaldson Road, which has a mile-long trail that will be extended to the center.

The existing 13,000-square-foot community center has a smaller gym, meeting room and two programming rooms. The township leases part of the building to District Judge Anthony Saveikis.

The township hasn't decided what to do with the building once the new center opens, Grimm 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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