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Investing in Connellsville: One man's commitment

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Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

There's new excitement in Connellsville. Residents are waiting to see what will happen to the once-magnificent Aaron's Building. For 30 some years, the old furniture store has sat empty along North Pittsburgh Street.

Residents and several city administrations long hoped that someone would take a chance and restore the century-old building to its original beauty. But with each brick that fell from the structure, hope faded.

Connellsville owes a debt of gratitude to local businessman Terry “Tuffy” Shallenberger. Mr. Shallenberger recently reached a deal with the city and took ownership of the building. He's willing to take a risk — not only on the building's renovation but on the Connellsville community itself.

Shallenberger said he believes in Connellsville. He wants to do what he can to restore the community's vitality.

And Shallenberger is taking that belief to heart.

He also has been instrumental in the construction of the train-display building on Crawford Avenue, which, when it opens, will hopefully draw tourists to Connellsville. Never mind the number of times he has reached out to help various Connellsville organizations.

We should all follow Shallenberger's example. No, all of us can't buy buildings and renovate them, but there are little things we can do — help with cleanups in town or pitch in with various volunteer community-support organizations.

By working together, we can make Connellsville a better place.

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