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Greater Connellsville Area Community Center's finances, plans discussed

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

Greater Connellsville Area Community Center Advisory Board members, Mayor Charles Matthews and board liaison and Councilman Greg Ritch on Friday again discussed the center's finances and plans.

“I want this advisory board to know the financial situation of the community center down to the penny,” Ritch said. “It's important that everyone is aware of the finances.”

Community Center maintenance contractor Gary Barker reported that the new Market discount store, on the lower level of the center, is doing well and another business is ready to open.

“Babies and More will be selling baby clothes and gently used baby items,” Barker said. “She is going to start moving her inventory in tomorrow, so she can be ready for her grand opening on March 1.”

Barker also reported that Connellsville Township Elementary School students visited the center on Friday.

“There were about 130 to 140 kids who came to see a movie,” he said. “It worked out well, and I already have the theater cleaned and ready for the Recreation Board movie on Sunday.”

Several events are planned for the community center, and space is being utilized, Barker said.

The flea market was deemed a success and will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.

A crafts show will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month.

Doors will open for vendors for both monthly events at 7 a.m., Barker said. There will be a $10 table fee for anyone who wants to sell at these events, and admission to both events will be free.

The board discussed keeping the gymnasium open during these events to allow children to play while their parents shop.

Ritch reported rental of the gymnasium has increased.

“The use of the gym is increasing,” he said. “Instead of it only being used for two hours every week, it is being used for six.”

Board member Sue Wagner said she acquired a grant last year that must be used by April 30. She proposed an alumni dance with members of the community invited.

“I would like to have a dance and invite former students and graduates,” Wagner said. “I would like to target that audience.”

The board voted to hold a dance from 7 to 10 p.m. April 6 in the center's gym.

The thrift store is nearly ready to open. Donations of shelving, clothing and household items and volunteers are needed.

Matthews told the board that he is pleased with the direction members are taking and their handling of bills.

“As long as you pay the bills and we don't have to take any money out of the city coffers, then I am happy,” Matthews said.

Board Vice Chairman Gary Colatch said plans are in place for next year's Christmas event, and the Christmas Concert will be held in Porter Theater.

“This year the Porter Theater will hold the Christmas concert,” Colatch said. “The Connellsville Christmas will pretty much center around the center itself.”

Ritch told the board that he is pleased with the progress made.

“I want to thank the board,” Ritch said, adding that it will receive full support from the city. “We will support activities that you have and any venture that you have. I think it great to have an open communication with everybody. I do believe that if we continue to exchange ideas, it will be to everyone's benefit.

“With some passion and desire, we're going to take off here,” he said.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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