Plans to move forward with the South Fayette Community Center project are building momentum with a possible vote by commissioners as early as September.
During a public forum Monday night, a community center master plan was presented by Richard DeYoung, CEO of WTW Architects.
The project would be on municipal property and be implemented in two phases.
In the first phase, minor renovations would be made to the municipal building and a building would be constructed that would contain a 20,000-square-foot gymnasium with two basketball courts, an exercise classroom, changing rooms, restroom facilities and a 5,500-square-foot library.
Township manager Ryan Eggleston said the first phase is funded and could be completed as early as 2017.
“Currently, there is $2.5 million in the Star City account. That, combined with the pending sale of the Star City [Cinemas] property for $5 million to Horizon Properties, is expected to cover the cost,” he said.
The public works building would be relocated to Treveskyn Park. Mr. Eggleston was confident the township had funding options available to make the move.
The second phase is conceptual. The current municipal building would be demolished. Additions would include another gymnasium, an elevated walking track, another exercise room, locker rooms, increased community space, new township and police department offices, an expanded library and enhanced outdoor recreation. Funding has yet to be determined, and there is no projected timeline.
Mr. Eggleston called the two-phase plan “prudent.”
For nearly two hours, residents offered feedback. Some wanted more recreational space, while others advocated for a larger library.
Tom Anderson said, “Tell me the statistics that support the need for a gym.”
Paula Simmons, recreation director, responded: “When I started in January, we had nine programs. Now we are… up to 32. We could move some activities indoors during winter.”
Others wanted to build the entire facility now.
“We can save money if we do this all at once,” Jack Ramage said.
Resident Ken Moeslein noted that the Newbury community is building its “own version of a recreational facility for homeowners. Why don’t we tell them to contribute to this facility instead?”
Another resident, Michael Caproni, suggested finding corporate contributors.
Some were concerned about potential tax increases.
“We don’t want people to have to move because they can’t afford the taxes,” Commissioner Lisa Malosh said. “We have to do this responsibly.”
Audience members discussed other local facilities. A swimming pool was mentioned more than once.
“Will residents who live closer to Upper St. Clair want to go there instead?” Cindy Cox asked.
“If we finally have the programming and space available, I think residents will come here,” Lynn Robb said.
Commissioner Joe Horowitz was pleased with the turnout and reminded the public that the plans are preliminary.
“I love what is happening here. Don’t stop. Keep this rolling,” Jeff Morneweck said.
A survey will be on the township website for about two weeks. Residents are encouraged to participate. A video also is online highlighting Monday’s presentation.
Amy Philips-Haller, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.