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Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission director plans to retire

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Aaron Loughner | For The Penn T
Cheryl Kemerer has announced she plans to retire as director of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission, perhaps as early as January.

The Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission soon will be looking for a new director.

Cheryl Kemerer, the director since September 2003, said Monday that she is planning to retire, perhaps as early as January. Kemerer, 55, plans to care for a grandchild who is due to be born in October.

She choked up in making the announcement to PTARC board members.

“It's been very rewarding for me,” Kemerer said of the job.

Earlier this year, a Westmoreland County judge ruled that Kemerer and four other former Hempfield Township employees were entitled to lifetime health and life insurance from the township. As a result, PTARC board members voted 4-3 in April to give her a $250 monthly payment for opting out of a premium covered by PTARC.

In recent months, Kemerer has taken time off for four eye surgeries, including one that was scheduled for Wednesday.

PTARC board members might begin discussing a succession plan as soon as their next meeting on Aug. 4. Kemerer, who is receiving a $46,000 salary this year, is the second director since PTARC was created in 2001.

She came to PTARC after working for Hempfield Township Parks and Recreation for 22 years.

In the last couple of years, some Trafford and Manor officials have questioned Kemerer's leadership of the rec agency.

Last year, Trafford Council decided to have the borough manager apply for a grant to refurbish Westmoreland Park instead of Kemerer. In March, Manor Council gave notice that it intends to withdraw from the intergovernmental agreement the created PTARC and pull its $3,035 in annual dues.

But PTARC board members generally have been strong supporters of Kemerer's. Nick Petrucci, who was among those who hired Kemerer, called her a “very, very hard worker” and credited her grant-writing skills.

Kemerer has overseen grants to improve parks in Penn Township, Trafford, Penn Borough and Manor. One project that is wrapping up this summer is at Penn Township Municipal Park, where a public ceremony to dedicate an enlarged pond with fishing habitat and walking trails is scheduled for June 25 at 6 p.m. at General Forbes Pavilion.

“Without her, it's hard to tell where (PTARC) would be,” said Larry Harrison, a Penn Township commissioner and PTARC board member. “Certainly not as far along.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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