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Rec center to be named for cancer victim

| Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 2:10 a.m.

Naming rights have been granted for the future recreation center of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission.

PTARC board members voted Monday to accept a $25,000 donation from the Proskin family in exchange for having the building named after Shelley (Proskin) McGowan, who died June 2, 2004, after a long battle with cancer. The name will be the PTARC/Shelley Proskin Recreation Center.

"I'm very excited," Gary Proskin, Shelley's brother, said last night. "We've been trying to think of something for the last year-and-a-half to fit her personality."

Initial requests were made to Penn Township officials about possibly naming the fields at Municipal Park in her honor. The 1991 graduate of Penn-Trafford High School loved softball.

Calls to the township's athletic association were not returned, Proskin said.

Attentions were then turned to PTARC and its new recreation center, which will be housed at the former kindergarten and library building in Level Green.

Jennifer Miele, a reporter for WTAE-TV, spoke at the meeting as a representative of Friends of PTARC, the fundraising arm of the recreation commission. She said this type of donation could go a long way toward developing the recreation center.

"This building isn't really about a name," Miele said. "It's about fulfilling a dream we're all working for to create a recreation center for this community. We're just so close, and this money that Shelley Proskin's family is donating could make or break that dream." A proposal to perhaps name the building the Shelley Proskin Recreation Center was brought before the PTARC board in June. At that time, some commission members said they wanted PTARC in the title.

Al Baird was the lone commission member to vote against the motion yesterday.

"I'm not voting against the Proskin family. I have nothing against them," Baird said. "I think the building should be named the PTARC building."

Recreation director Cheryl Kemerer said she will now move forward in ironing out the specifics of the agreement. She said the Proskin family planned fundraisers to come up with some of the money, with the family picking up the tab for the rest.

"The more people we have out there in the community trying to raise money for us, as long as they're doing it in a way we approve of, the better," Kemerer said.

The hope is for the recreation center to open in 2006.

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