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Belle Vernon, West Newton Rotary Clubs foot bill for picnic shelters on trail

Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Matt Terchick of the West Newton Rotary; Betsy Manderino, vice president of the Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter; and Sam Cover, president of the Belle Vernon Rotary (from left) stand next to one of six new covered picnic tables along the Youghiogheny River Trail.

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Saturday, July 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

To support the Youghiogheny River Trail, a part of the Great Allegheny Passage, two local Rotary clubs donated six covered picnic tables available for the public's use.

The wooden tables, made with pressure-treated lumber and a shingled roof, were built and installed along the trail over the past several weeks, said Bob Hand, president of the Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter.

The Belle Vernon Rotary donated $2,000 for four tables; the West Newton Rotary donated $1,000 for two tables.

“Our Rotary, Belle Vernon, is trying to partner with Westmoreland Yough Trail Chapter because we think it's a great thing for the community, for young families to be able to go out and walk and see the nature,” said Sam Cover, club president and a trail chapter member. “That's a beautiful area, and it doesn't cost them anything.”

The benches are located between mile-markers 31 and 41 on the trail through Westmoreland County.

The Youghiogheny River Trail is a section of the Great Allegheny Passage, which runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., Hand said.

Construction plans for the tables came from the Westmoreland County Parks Department, Hand said.

The clubs bought lumber, and then volunteers cut the wood to size and installed the tables on site, Cover said.

The group tries to contribute to the trail often, he said.

“Every year that trail gets more and more usage,” Cover said. “As a Rotary, we think that (the trail) is something that we should try to endorse and partner with, continue to keep that viable for years to come.”

The picnic table project is important because it's easy to see the money being put to use, said Matt Terchick, treasurer of the West Newton Rotary, who worked with the Belle Vernon club on the benches.

“You see it being used every day because it's a tangible, viable entity — the trail,” Terchick said.

Locals use the trail on the weekdays, and out-of-towners take to the path on the weekends, he said.

The West Newton Rotary took interest in the trail because of its location as a “trail town,” Terchick said. The club took on its first major trail project several years ago, he said.

“We thought the trail was going to be a really viable entity for the community,” Terchick said. “And we were going to try to do whatever we had to do to make the trail viable.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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