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Bethel Park plans hearing on $13.8M YMCA

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By Eric Eisert
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The $13.8 million YMCA planned where the Bladerunners Ice Complex sits on Church Road will be the topic of a public hearing on Oct. 28 before Bethel Park Council.

The Spencer Family YMCA would supplant a longtime YMCA in Upper St. Clair. The new Y would feature a gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and fitness and wellness facilities in a 74,033-square-foot building, according to the Downtown-based YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

One of the two sheets of ice at Bladerunners, which would continue to operate into 2014, would be retained in the new Y.

Bethel Park Council set a public hearing on a zoning application for the YMCA for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28, as part of a regular committee meeting. The property is zoned as a conservation district, along with nearby Bethel Park High School.

The Bladerunners building would be renovated to hold the Spencer Family YMCA, said Richard Perallo, vice president for facilities and construction for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. About 13,000 square feet would be added to the interior by adding a second floor, said Deb Moore Ellsworth, spokeswoman for the YMCA.

The building conversion could begin next year or in 2015, she said. Perallo said money still is being raised for the project. The YMCA has not made a formal decision about when Bladerunners would close, but the nonprofit is working on a plan to provide the public with access to the ice during the Y's construction process, which would take about 12 months, Ellsworth said.

“It's our hope to provide a smooth transition for the kids and families who currently use the ice, without any period of shut down,” she said.

Municipal planner Jerry Duke said the YMCA already has received a variance from the zoning hearing board. The YMCA could not host hockey tournaments or have an outdoor swimming pool.

Council could vote on the YMCA's zoning at the Nov. 11 regular meeting. Perallo said the YMCA plans to put its 5,000-square-foot building on McMurray Road in Upper St. Clair on the market soon. Part of the funding for the new Y is slated to come from the sale of the Upper St. Clair property, Ellsworth said.

The Y will bear the name of YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh board member Larry Spencer, who has donated $2 million to the project.

Eric Eisert is a freelance writer. Trib Total Media staff writer Tory N. Parrish contributed to this report.

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