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New strategy plan for Connellsville Community Center coming

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 12:52 a.m.

Connellsville City Councilman Gregory Ritch has presented a new strategy plan for the Connellsville Community Center to council and Mayor Charles Matthews, but not to members of the center's advisory board.

Ritch said the center is ultimately owned by and the responsibility of the city.

“We will be providing direction and guidance to the advisory board and the employees and we're going to work a strategy plan to form a mission statement,” he said. “Any questions concerning the community center should come through the city. The advisory board does not run that center, but I appreciate what they've done so far.”

Advisory board Vice Chairman Gary Colatch said it is confusing for them to know exactly what the purpose is of the advisory board or what direction they are to take when they are unsure if any work they put into a plan is even going to have an impact or be canceled.

“We have some goals and agendas we would like to see move forward and we would like to see the center move forward in a way that would benefit the community,” he said.

Colatch added that if the city's plan is to develop the theater with that in mind and develop it with the use of the Porter Theater as the primary draw, then he and advisory board chairman Jim McIntyre would probably be interested in continuing to serve on the board.

However, Colatch said the city has talked in the past about maybe putting in an ARD program.

“I think that would be going in the wrong direction,” he said. “There are a lot of things holding the center back, but the two things it has going for it is the theater and the development of the second floor.”

Ritch said former advisory board member Robin Bubarth did not give a reason for her recent resignation. Calls placed to Bubarth were not returned by press time.

Ritch was unable to provide his strategy plan by press time, saying he wanted to get feedback before he released any details.

“I would like for other members of council and the mayor to offer different perspectives on it,” he said. “We need to be unified as we move forward.”

The advisory board will meet 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 108 of the Connellsville Community Center on Fairview Avenue.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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