McKeesport church ramps up accessibility
When First United Methodist Church in McKeesport was built in 1925, an accessibility ramp was not in the plans.
As a consequence, some with disabilities have had difficulty entering the building, especially the sanctuary.
Thanks to S.M. Improvements, that 88-year-old oversight has been corrected with a 60-foot ramp that allows access for to all who want to worship at the Cornell Street church on Christmas Eve and throughout the year.
“The parishioners are thrilled,” Pastor Deborah Kociban said. “It's wonderful to be able to invite those to church who couldn't come before.”
The ramp was dedicated last week, but a larger celebration is planned when the weather improves, Kociban said.
“When the church was built, there were no guidelines for accessibility,” she said. “No one thought about a ramp, but it's been a need for a long time.”
Church council president Bob Reist said accessibility has been a concern since before he began serving on the board of trustees 15 years ago.
He was prompted to get the project moving by a recent baptism at the church.
“A man came and he was in a wheelchair and we couldn't get him in the church,” Reist said.
Blueprints had been drawn years ago, he said, and there have been fundraisers and capital campaigns through the years. Donations by Peggy Plowman Kremer, Penny Plowman Modrick and Diane Plowman Perun in memory of their parents, longtime church members Lou and Leota Plowman, made the project a reality. Money from the church's Memorial Fund also was used.
“Our parents joined the church 62 years ago,” Perun said. “They went to many churches and when they came to this church they knew this is where they wanted to be.”
Perun said her sister Peggy is “very active” in First United Methodist.
“So when we had this opportunity, we decided this is what we wanted to do in their memory,” she said.
Kociban said the architecture was a problem, but S.M. Improvements' Howard Morgan said the project took only about a week and a half to complete.
“It's the longest ramp I've ever done, but I enjoyed doing it,” Morgan said. “I hope the people like it.”
The church's next project will be to build a handicap-accessible bathroom.
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport car chase suspects returned to jail
- McKeesport educator honored by nomination for Athena Award
- Mon Valley bridges moved up to rapid replacement list
- McKeesport crash sends motorcyclist to hospital
- Elizabeth Township hires manager, assistant
- East Allegheny students, teachers return to class after 16-day strike
- ‘Porky’ of Operation Pork Chop case to enter plea
- Duquesne designated a Live Well Allegheny school system
- McKeesport Area students partner to run school store
- Contract talks move forward in Duquesne
- New investment booming in N. Versailles