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Go-kart track to open in May at old Dick's site in Monroeville Mall annex

Emily Balser
| Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 8:00 p.m.

A Mars man is hoping to bring a new wave of recreation and entertainment to Monroeville with an indoor electric go-kart facility.

John Gongas, 46, is the owner behind Steel City Indoor Karting, which will feature 20 all-electric Sodi RTX go-karts, conference rooms and arcade games.

The business is scheduled to open in May in the former Dick's Sporting Goods space in the Monroeville Mall annex.

“We're trying to do the best of the best, both in performance and safety,” Gongas said.

Gongas left his job in IT to pursue a dream of owning his own business.

Having worked at a go-kart track when he was younger, he's always had a love for the pastime, he said.

Gongas decided to go for all-electric instead of traditional gas go-karts because they're more environmentally friendly and have less of an odor.

“You don't want to come to a place that's inside and gas,” he said. “It's a dirtier fuel.”

He also said the electric go-karts, which are being custom-made in France, can go much faster than gas-powered karts. They will be capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph. For younger drivers, the speed will be controlled and set to a limit to ensure safety.

Children driving the go-karts will have to be at least 10 years old and meet a minimum height requirement.

Each driver will be required to wear a helmet and be given a briefing on safety measures.

Participants will sign up when they get to the track and then be placed into a heat with other drivers. Each heat can have up to 12 drivers.

Gongas said the objective is to be the driver with the fastest lap time.

The track's barriers will be made out of spring-loaded plastic instead of the traditional rubber-tire barriers that many outdoor go-kart tracks have.

“It's the safest barrier that you can buy,” Gongas said.

“We're trying not to cut any corners at all.”

Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko said it's always good when a new business comes to the area.

He said go-kart businesses are popular, and he's looking forward to seeing how busy Steel City Indoor Karting gets.

“I think it will be pretty exciting,” Erosenko said.

“It's pretty cool that they're coming.”

Gongas said the facility will be available to rent out as a whole or by conference room for events such as birthday parties.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 412-871-2369 orebalser@tribweb.com.

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