Rendell stops funds for Peters project


McMURRAY - A $1 million grant for the proposed Peters Township community recreation center, announced with much fanfare before Christmas, may be in jeopardy of disappearing as suddenly as a late spring snowfall.

A letter from the governor's office, delivered to the township earlier this month, blames the recession for belt-tightening measures. "It will be the priority of the Rendell administration to focus limited commonwealth capital funding toward projects that foster economic development and growth," wrote Michael J. Masch, secretary of the governor's
office of the budget.

"It has become apparent that a re-examination of the allocation of
commonwealth capital grants is required."

Masch said to retain grants, proposed projects must show an immediate impact on economic development and promise substantial increases in employment and tax revenues.

Although township Manager Michael Silvestri will submit the documentation as soon as possible, he said after the council meeting Monday, "I've taken the position we can't assume we're going to get this grant. I don't know if it's an all or nothing-at-all proposition."

Jobs to be created at the center might include contracts with additional
maintenance workers, instructors and staff.

When news of the grant became public, Peters Township assistant manager Paul
Lauer credited State Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, with helping to bring the money to the community.

Before it knew anything about the grant, Peters Township Council budgeted a $5 million bond issue to cover the cost of building the recreation center. Members of council analyzed the bids opened last week, and Nello Construction Co. had the lowest base bid, $4.5 million. After getting feedback from the township recreation department on what choices it prefers on items like flooring, roofing and construction related to outdoor ballfields, council may award a contract as soon as May 27.