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Mt. Pleasant, PA - In the east end of town, on the site of the former Penn Theater, a unique park concept combining a Parklet with a parking lot will be dedicated by the Borough, Thursday, October 20, 2016. Local residents Bob and Donna Beck donated the property and the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW) used $69,635 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) slum and blight monies to demolish the dilapidated former theater and helped to leverage a $25,000 DCED Keystone Communities grant, kick starting the project.
Several additional grants, local residents, and donated goods made this park a reality. $167,000 additional CDBG funds from Westmoreland County; $13,227 from the Jacobs Creek Watershed; $750 from Mt. Pleasant’s Glass and Ethnic Festival; $1,000 from Mt. Pleasant’s Business District Association; $600 from Republic Services; and the countless volunteer hours dedicated to this park by Mr. Jim Gayton, the architect, all contributed to make this parklet a reality. In-kind services were provided by local resident Mark Krystyniak, the Westmoreland Conservation District, Stone & Company, Anchor Block, Mt. Pleasant Township, the Borough, and the Mt. Pleasant Historical Society.
"This is a model redevelopment project that will make a great downtown even better", said April Kopas, Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland. "Our longstanding working relationship with Borough officials makes projects like these so successful."
Penn Park transcends several historic periods. The coal and coke industry is exhibited by a scaled version of a coke oven and benches that resemble coal. Mt. Pleasant’s glass heritage is honored with glass block and an iron fence that originally encompassed a glass factory in town. Throughout the fence, stained glass is placed to give the park an artistic look and to commemorate the many churches in town. Mt. Pleasant’s past history is told through plaques on the pillars and the iron arch/lighting depicts the 1940’s era, representing the building’s marquee that once sat here.
“Penn Park is a living park, which will continue to grow with the imagination of the community and is dedicated to the enjoyment and education to all who visit here,” said Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy. “It is the hope that it will give a lasting impression and build memories to those who stop by Penn Park”
The focus of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland (RACW) is on reenergizing the county’s core communities and enticing new business, residential, and recreational opportunities. By working closely with community leaders and volunteers, the RACW assists in community revitalization efforts and implements a multitude of programs that are designed and intended to remove blight and improve conditions for low-to-moderate income residents throughout Westmoreland County. Also, the RACW partners with local government and non-profit entities to implement impact projects in the county.
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