A nonprofit desires to keep the land on which the defunct Churchill Valley Country Club once sat.
Representatives of Allegheny Land Trust stated on May 8 they may be operating to elevate the cash wished to shop for the 148-acre belongings alongside Beulah Road in Penn Hills and Churchill for you to hold it and repurpose it into a public green space for leisure makes use of.
“The stunning thing about this asset is it already has present cart paths from when it became a golfing course,” stated Tom Dougherty, ALT’s vice chairman of improvement and external affairs.
The Churchill Valley Country Club has been owned by using Zokaites Properties LP because in 2013, just months after, it closed in January of the same year. The Wexford-based improvement organization is known for its excessive-cease houses and commercial developments. Dana Zokaites, a employer spokeswoman, did now not return smartphone calls in search of remark.
The membership changed into started in 1931 and had extra than 1,000 individuals before it closed around a decade in the past. The clubhouse changed into demolished in 2016.
An oil and gasoline company in 2015 solicited nearby assets proprietors to sign leases to permit fuel drilling to take place there. Penn Hills and Churchill citizens’ competition to the possibility of oil and fuel exploration led officers from each group to area regulations on fracking, a system for extracting gasoline and oil from the rock using excessive-pressure water, sand, and chemical compounds.
Dougherty did now not say how plenty the transaction will cost the nonprofit.
“It’s going to be a massive amount of money,” he stated, including ALT will improve the cash via kingdom presents and donations from foundations, organizations, and network individuals.
The enterprise hopes to shut down the deal with the aid of March 2020.
“It all has to come back collectively for it to paintings. But that’s sort of what we do – and we’re eager for this one,” Dougherty said.
The agree with, based totally in Sewickley, has received extra than 2,000 acres in Allegheny and Washington’s counties given that 1993. Penn Hills officers currently partnered with the agency to higher defend 143 acres of wooded land inside the municipality that cannot be evolved.
They accept as true with additionally currently is operating to elevate price range to purchase 38 acres in Moon Township for its Montour Greenway Expansion venture.
Dougherty said the Churchill Valley Country Club shows tremendous capability for a public green area, especially because of its proximity to ninety-five 000 citizens within a three-mile radius.
“Having a green space like that in a fantastically populated area turns into very unique and rare,” he stated. “And there’s a variety of statistics that suggests that young domestic consumers, one of the factors they look at are proximity to inexperienced space. That’s one of these things that is excessive on that listing when you’re searching at shifting to a community.”
Besides indirect financial price, the upkeep of the land should help with flooding issues, he stated.
“By preserving it as a inexperienced space, it mitigates flooding from Chalfant Run, which is a tributary to Turtle Creek – which is flood-susceptible,” he stated.
Dougherty said he hopes to satisfy officers and citizens from Churchill and Penn Hills inside the coming days and weeks to garner support for the fundraising efforts.
“ALT in no way goes into tasks where we don’t have a community guide. It’s constantly a collaborative method – it’s crucial we’re working aspect-through-aspect to make those projects the pleasant benefits to the community,” he stated.
The assets lie on 108 acres in Churchill and forty acres in Penn Hills.
Churchill Manager Donna Perry turned into now not at once to be had to comment. Penn Hills Manager Scott Andrejchak stated he thinks the venture could be advantageous for the municipality.
“It might really now not be a bad factor for Penn Hills if it comes to fruition the manner (ALT is) envisioning it,” Andrejchak stated. “But it’s a double-edged sword. It might be assets coming off the tax rolls. So that’s one thing that could reason some discussion. Some may additionally sense they have a higher idea for the belongings.”
Nevertheless, he stated, the municipality will provide paintings with whoever owns the belongings.
“We might welcome them in Penn Hills and paintings with them in anything possibilities exist,” Andrejchak said.
Emily Golling, 25, of Penn Hills, is excited about the possibility of the property becoming a public inexperienced area. She said inexperienced areas could improve property values, and the fee to the municipality might be next to nothing.
“(Council) is continually brainstorming on ideas on how to appeal to younger families,” she stated. “Look at Frick Park, Nine Mile Run, Schenley Park — these are places younger people are going to. Penn Hills needs something like that.”
Golling, who became raised in Penn Hills and lived 1 / 4-mile from the website, commenced a Facebook page three years ago known as Churchill Valley Country Club Land Preservation Effort to gauge hobby in maintaining the belongings. She and any other page administrator reached out to Allegheny Land Trust, which sooner or later expressed interest in buying the belongings.