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Summer rec program pitched in Irwin

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The YMCA wants to run a recreation program this summer in Irwin, similar to programs it operates in other communities.

Scott Heasley, executive director of the YMCA in Wilmerding — which serves the Irwin area — said he wants to begin planning the program.

Heasley spoke to IrwinCouncil this week, but council did not take action on the proposal.

“I find that children, especially in summertime, need positive opportunities in the community,” he said. “Kids have energy, so you either give them a positive outlet or, unfortunately, they use negative outlets.”

Heasley said he and council President John Cassandro have been discussing such a program for several months.

The borough would provide space at Irwin Park, and the YMCA would provide the staff.

Irwin residents likely would be the primary participants, but the program would be open to any children. The programs targets children between 5 and 14 years old, but it could be expanded if there's a need for separate teen programming, Heasley said Thursday.

He pitched a partial-day program that would run six to eight weeks on weekdays.

Heasley said he expects programming would cost between $5,000 and $6,000. A similar YMCA-led program in Turtle Creek costs about $5,200.

State funding directed to the borough is a possibility, he said. Cassandro said the community could raise money, too.

“The big need will be to work together with the borough to help then leverage the rest of the financial resources to be able to provide (the program),” Heasley said.

Activities could include basketball, dekhockey, kickball, relay races, science components and the arts.

“Already we have interest from Pitt ... to bring in a science program,” he said. “We know that during the summer children tend to have a recession from their educational needs.”

The partial-day program could be a boon to the borough's business community.

“What are parents going to do for two to three hours? They're going to shop, and they're going to go to the businesses that are here,” Heasley said.

Heasley said he hopes to establish a program meaningful enough that it could continue through the school year.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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