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West Newton's Simeral Square set for opening

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Simeral Square, with its scenic river views, is finished at last and will be opened to the public during a celebration on Saturday, June 1, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Simeral Square contractor, Dennis and Ramona Fleeher of Cecil wrapped up construction last week with a substantial completion date of May 23 and a final walkthrough on today (Thursday) at 3 p.m.

Residents, neighbors and visitors are invited to attend the Simeral Square Opening Day Celebration from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The first of weekly Farmers' Markets will include Wendel Spring Farms from Herminie and Greenawalt's Farms from West Newton featuring local vendors selling homemade jellies, apple butter, noodles, syrup, seasonal herbs, unique jar vegetables, zucchini relish and rhubarb.

In addition to fresh eggs, folks will be able to place orders for fresh raw milk. Tom's Bees will be on hand selling locally produced honey. Each month local farmers will have seasonal produce available including corn, green peppers and vine ripened tomatoes.

In the fall, corn stalks pumpkins and gourds will be available.

The Farmers' Markets are funded in part by a grant from Highmark. Also at the market will be representatives from Mary Kay, Celebrating Home and Country Home.

Music during Saturday's celebration will be provided and is donated by DJ Coop, DC LACE Productions.

At 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., special acrobatics will be performed by Ben Sota of Zany Umbrella Circus of Pittsburgh. This internationally known circus arts company will feature “My Grandfather's Circus,” two, 50-minute solo shows based on stories from the Great Depression about overcoming adversity. The award-winning show was written for children in the Gulf Region affected by Hurricane Katrina and was performed at the White House. Everyday farming objects are manipulated and come to life through juggling, rope walking and other acrobatics. The performances are sponsored by a grant from the Westmoreland County Local Arts Program.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. featuring comments by Downtown West Newton Inc. representatives, public officials and funders to be followed by a balloon release.

Refreshments will be served and keepsakes will be offered.

The event is sponsored by DWNI, owner and operator of Simeral Square. Project funders include the Appalachian Regional Commission, USDA Rural Development, the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development, Westmoreland County Dept. of Planning and Community Development, the Progress Fund, The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, The Mon Valley Initiative, the Pa. Watershed Foundation, the Pa. Port of Pittsburgh Commission and local donors through the Bricks & Amenities Campaign. Downtown West Newton, Inc. thanks everyone that supported Simeral Square – the community, public officials, donors, contractors and especially volunteers. A rain date will be announced should the event be cancelled.

Simeral Square is named for the Simeral family ­— early pioneers that settled in West Newton to operate a trading post and river ferry service at the site. West Newton was once known as “Simeral's Ferry.” The property was most recently an abandoned gas station and dilapidated building that sat vacant for some time and has undergone an environmental cleanup.

This former brownfield has been redeveloped into a community park to be used for numerous outdoor activities throughout the summer and fall. Simeral Square is located in downtown West Newton along the Youghiogheny River and provides residents and visitors views of the river and the Great Allegheny Passage Trailhead and opportunities to spend the day in the downtown to shop and dine. To find out more about Simeral Square's Farmers' Market and other activities planned for this season, visit the DWNI website at or call 724-872-0100.

George Sam is DWNI's Simeral Square project coordinator.