Big Ben to tie knot at Ohio Township church

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People living near Ohio Township's Christ Church at Grove Farm are used to heavy traffic on Sundays.

But it's going to be especially busy around the church next Saturday as well. That's when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 29, will exchange wedding vows with New Castle native Ashley Harlan, 26, at the church, according to workers there.

Maintenance workers vacuuming carpets at the all-but-empty church Saturday afternoon said they've been aware of the wedding plans for some time.

"We got an email saying, 'Try to keep it low-key,' " said Pete Lawrence, a facilities worker employed by the church.

The chapel at the Anglican-based worship center off Duff Road in a wooded area seats several hundred people. The main building is surrounded by smaller buildings and hundreds of parking spaces.

Guests -- expected to number in the hundreds -- will need to present a photo ID, Mr. Lawrence said.

"I know it's going to be secure," he said. "I guess we'll find out when it goes down."

Mr. Roethlisberger, originally from Findlay, Ohio, met Ms. Harlan, a physician's assistant, in 2005. The couple have closely guarded their wedding plans, with Mr. Roethlisberger admitting his engagement in April, months after rumors first circulated.

Church volunteers and program directors apparently were given an early, but vague, description of the plans.

"We were told there was a big event, that it was going to be crowded," said Charles Groves, who directs a men's Bible-study class at the church.

"We were told, if possible, not to come around the church Saturday because of security."

Ohio Township's police department is just a few hundred yards from Christ Church at Grove Farm. Officers there acknowledged the wedding but said they weren't certain of security or traffic plans.

Business owners and managers near the church said they hadn't been told about the wedding but weren't surprised at the location.

"Ben goes to church there," said Ed Kalchthaler, manager at Mt. Nebo Pizza Roma. "We already deal with a lot of Steelers and Penguins."

Police frequently direct traffic around the church on Sundays, he said, so it's likely to be business as usual for store owners.

Margaret Zierenberg, who's lived near the church for 50 years, laughed when she heard the news.

"It wouldn't affect us," she said. "But I'm sure on that day there's going to be new traffic here."

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