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Resignations force Connellsville board to suspend action

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

The Greater Connellsville Area Community Center Advisory Board voted Friday night to suspend acting as a board, citing recent members' resignations.

“We don't feel we can contribute as a board,” President Gary Colatch said after he and board members Sue Wagner, Dolly Tissue and Kate McCombie unanimously voted following an executive session.

The city's initial concept was to have five members on the advisory board. When eight individuals responded, council decided not to deter anyone willing to help. Council, therefore, agreed to seat all eight.

Resignations have followed, however — including two earlier this week from Patty Firestone and Ron Michaux. Only four members remained on the board.

Early in the meeting, Connellsville Councilman Greg Ritch informed the board he received correspondence Friday from a revitalization committee interested in getting involved in the center. But because there wasn't time to notify the committee, he didn't have any details.

Ritch said the board was considered active, although it was down to four members. Council and Connellsville Mayor Charles Matthews will be open to anyone interested in filling what was originally the one empty seat.

“The city will not turn any volunteers away that have an idea,” Ritch said.

Ritch, however, was absent after the board reconvened from the executive session and voted.

Colatch said the remaining members are willing to contribute to the community center on an individual basis. As for the future of the advisory board, Colatch said Matthews and council can appoint a new board or go with a revitalization committee.

In other business, Daniel Cocks with ArtWorks Connellsville and Downtown Connellsville presented the board with a list of ideas for the community center.

The first and biggest idea was to rename the building with a recognizable name for Connellsville, such as “The Harold Betters Events Center” or the “Johnny Woodruff Events Center.”

“It's very important to keep Connellsville's finest in the spotlight, whether they lived over 100 years ago or a few years ago,” Cocks said. “This is Connellsville's heritage.”

Other suggestions included having a grand opening of the theater; showing movies on holidays; holding dinner theaters; having an open house for event planners; offering a one-of-a-kind conference center in Fayette County; providing office space; using the gym for ice skating; hosting workshops; and renting retail space rather than renting storage space.

Cocks also suggested having road signage to the building; advertising options; partnerships; fundraisers; and a website to attract people to the building.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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