Grand opening held for new West View ‘Hub’ community center
Several years of work by volunteers to create a gathering place in West View where children and adults can receive a wide-range of services has come to fruition.
On June 5, community leaders and volunteers hosted a street party to cut the ribbon on the West View Hub — a library, internet cafe, food pantry and center for services such as resume preparation and health and nutrition counseling.
And to top it off, the Hub is located in a unique building and contains some interesting artifacts from the former West View Park amusement park, which closed in 1977.
The grand opening included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, block party and tours of the new community center.
Scott Pavlot, who developed the idea for the Hub and moved forward with the project after consulting with various agencies, businesses and organizations connected to the borough, said the goal was simple: “We wanted to do something to make a difference in this community.”
The Hub is located in the former PNC Bank building next to the West View borough hall in the 400 block of Perry Highway. The borough is renting the building for the project.
“We took advantage of the building’s unique architectural attributes,” said Pavlot, who serves as the Hub’s director.
Former teller stations were converted into an internet cafe with computer terminals, and the bank’s vault is being used as a reading room.
Another unique feature is a theater for children that was built into the fuselage of an actual Boeing 727.
“We picked it (the jetliner’s interior) up at a prop sale after a Netflix series was filmed here in Pittsburgh,” Pavlot said.
Pavlot said the idea for the Hub is an extension of a project at West View Elementary School called the Care Closet, which provides food, clothing and other supplies to students in need.
“The Hub will provide the same things that the Care Closet does, but on a much larger scale for children and adults in the West View area,” he said.
A $68,000 grant Berkeley Hills Lutheran Church obtained from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was used for materials needed for the renovation. The labor was provided by volunteers from the church and the community.
The grant also will cover the cost of books, computers, utilities, internet service and rent for a year.
In addition to the services already available, the Hub plans to offer programs for children and adults.
Organizers have gathered several pieces of memorabilia from the park that will be put on display with plans to host a program to discuss and share memories about the popular amusement park.
While a lot of hard work from a dedicated group of church members and residents helped build the Hub, Pavlot isn’t giving them all the credit.
“Everything about this project has fallen into place in a special way,” Pavlot said. “I like to use the word providence. It’s been 100-hundred percent providence.”
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .