By Elizabeth Perry
The Coraopolis Community Development Corporation has decided not to rebuild a community center on Broadway Street in Coraopolis due to prohibitive construction costs.
The nonprofit, which provides a food pantry and organizes summertime Second Saturdays in the community among other projects, will instead choose to renovate an existing building.
“We have big dreams and we hope we can find a space big enough for our dreams,” said Amy Cavicchia, director of programs and community engagement with the community development group.
A new space has not been found yet for the proposed community center, but Executive Director Randon Willard said the group hopes to find one by the summer.
“We continue to have all of our food programs, our food pantry is still located on 4th Avenue,” Willard said. “What we're missing right now is the space to invite
other groups and organizations in to also service our community.”
Cavicchia said the group’s old headquarters, a space they dubbed the garden house when it was donated to the CCDC in 2016, had too many structural issues to save.
“We had mold, the roof had a hole in it, it was leaking. It was really in bad shape,” Cavicchia said.
After consulting with contractors, the leaders of the organization opted for demolition.
Willard said there are no plans to sell the land.
The lot is already host to a community garden that provides fresh produce for the food pantry. The 2,000 square-foot garden produces between 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for the community every growing season, Cavicchia said. There is now 8,000 square feet of available green space, and Cavicchia said they plan to expand and beautify the garden further.
“I’m excited that we’re going to have a huge green space in the middle of town,” Cavicchia said. “It’s a big deal.”
A greenhouse was considered, but Willard said it would be too much upkeep. He and others in the organization are aware of how important maintaining the space is for Coraopolis.
“For Coraopolis, we thought it would be best to keep a green space in the heart of downtown, Willard said.
Cavicchia said green space was at a premium in Coraopolis, which has few parks.