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Building to fall, park to rise in Mt. Pleasant

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
The Wood n’ Reflections building, formerly the Penn Theater, in Mt. Pleasant Borough, is being demolished by Odell Minifield Construction of Pittsburgh to make way for a small park.

Parks are always a huge asset to any town, and once the dust settles and the debris is cleared, Mt. Pleasant Borough will be enjoying a new park on its eastern end.

The Wood n' Reflections building on Main Street is being demolished, and borough officials and the building's former owners are pleased with the potential the now-open site will offer the town.

“Now, when people come into the town from the east, they will see a pretty little park area,” former owner Bob Beck said of the site.

Beck and wife Donna, of Scottdale, owned the business and donated it to Mt. Pleasant Borough last spring.

The Becks' wood-stripping business, Wood n' Reflections, was located at the site that once housed the Penn Theater for many years. Beck said the building needed too much work to be salvaged.

“There were always issues with the roof there,” Beck said. “There was just too much that had to be done.”

Once the Becks donated the building to the borough, it was then necessary to secure funding to tear it down. That funding reportedly was secured through Westmoreland County.

“We were absolutely thrilled to receive the building from the Becks,” Mt. Pleasant Mayor Gerald Lucia said. “Once it's down and cleared, we are planning to put in a nice little park and parking area.”

Lucia added that the site already has improved visibility when traveling.

“Coming down Main Street, you now see Brown's Candy instead of an old building that was an eyesore,” Lucia said. “When it's done, people coming into town will see a little park, and the added parking will be a big asset, not only to the people visiting the park but to the businesses around there.”

Borough Manager Jeff Landy said they have tentative plans drawn up on what the area will look like after the work is completed.

“We have an artist's rendering,” Landy said, adding that the company doing the demolition work, Odell Minifield Construction of Pittsburgh, came in on a Sunday to begin, something they normally do not do.

“They really did us a favor by coming in on a Sunday to start because they knew that the traffic in town wouldn't be as heavy,” Landy said. “That was a really big favor to us that was appreciated.”

Leveling and clearing of the site is expected to take several weeks, then the borough will concentrate on funding needed for the small park.

“The work is already coming along nicely,” Landy said. “We'd like to see it completed by September if possible.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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