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Fox Chapel

O'Hara volunteer devotes time to parks, pool

| Friday, July 13, 2018, 1:06 p.m.
At Community Swim Club’s play area, Chloe Kalp, 2, rides the new teeter-totter with Tess Petrucelli, 12. Tess’s father Shamus is vice-president of the club’s board and is proud of the new play equipment.
At Community Swim Club’s play area, Chloe Kalp, 2, rides the new teeter-totter with Tess Petrucelli, 12. Tess’s father Shamus is vice-president of the club’s board and is proud of the new play equipment.

Shamus Petrucelli is devoted to O’Hara, making it a place not only for his family but every family.

“It’s super important for these kids to stay active and have some place safe to go,” he said.

Petrucelli strives for this goal by serving on the township’s parks and recreation committee and on Community Swim Club’s board of directors.

“It may sound sappy,” he said. “I’m proud of this community. Who wouldn’t be?”

No resting on his laurels, he focuses on continual improvements. He points to the foosball, pingpong and corn hole equipment new to the township parks. Made from concrete, the games offer play areas for children and adults.

“I tell everyone our parks and recreation are a huge asset for O’Hara,” he said.

“Squaw Valley [Park] is a destination. We have a great park system and we keep them up to snuff.”

The father of two daughters sees the park system as an advertisement showing the community’s merit. He has served on the parks and rec board for more than eight years.

He also attends a monthly meeting with Community Swim Club on Aqua Drive and said two new projects there support his philosophy.

As vice-president of the board, he worked with other members to install a new play area. It’s within 20 feet of the shallow pool, but sturdy enough that babysitters can climb on it for fun, safely.

The back field on the property has a new pavilion with gas, water and electric. More innovations are planned with cable and outdoor parties for football games, he said.

“We’re starting to do more for the adults,” he said.

He sees programming as a balancing act, a “yin and yang” to satisfy everybody’s tastes.

Petrucelli is open to ideas. Whether gathering surveys from adults or joining in on the swim team’s travels to other pools, he said he wants to make sure Community Swim provides similar amenities.

“Stay ahead of the Jones’,” he jokes with his amiable style.

Volunteering requires extra work but “he just loves it,” his daughter Tess teased.

Petrucelli’s full-time job as a regional VP for AstroTurf also keeps him busy, building and installing artificial sports fields in Pennsylvania and five bordering states.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, Petrucelli decided to stay planted here. With his office in Sharpsburg and his home in the Falconhurst plan in O’Hara, Petrucelli likes to keep his focus on the Lower Valley.

During summer he can be found at the pool most evenings and weekends. Fall means football and winter is hockey.

He takes advantage of the neighborhood just as he encourages others to do through the improvements he works on all year round.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer.

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