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 that 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, make 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 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, an employer spokeswoman, did not return smartphone calls in search of a remark.
The membership started in 1931 and had more than 1,000 individuals before it closed around a decade ago. The clubhouse was demolished in 2016.
An oil and gasoline company in 2015 solicited nearby asset proprietors to sign leases to permit fuel drilling to take place there. Penn Hills and Churchill citizens’ competition with 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 not say how much the transaction would 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 what we do – and we’re eager for this one,” Dougherty said.
Based in Sewickley, the agreement received more than 2,000 acres in Allegheny and Washington counties in 1993. Penn Hills officers partnered with the agency to defend 143 acres of wooded land inside the municipality that cannot be evolved.
They accept that, additionally, it is operating to elevate the 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 an inexperienced space, it mitigates flooding from Chalfant Run, 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 in 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 – we must be working aspect-through-aspect to make those projects the pleasant benefits to the community,” he stated.
The assets lie on 108 in Churchill and 40 in Penn Hills.
Churchill Manager Donna Perry turned into now not at once to be had to comment. Penn Hills Manager Scott Andrejchak said the venture could benefit the municipality.
“It might 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 cause some discussion. Some may additionally sense they have a higher idea for the belongings.”
Nevertheless, he stated that the municipality will provide paintings to whoever owns the belongings.
“We might welcome them in Penn Hills and paintings with them in many possibilities, ” Andrejchak said.
Emily Golling, 25, of Penn Hills, is excited about the possibility of the property becoming a public inexperienced area. She said simple areas could improve property values, and the fee to the municipality might be next to nothing.
“(Council) is continually brainstorming 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, raised in Penn Hills and living 1 / 4 miles from the website, commenced a Facebook page three years ago known as Churchill Valley Country Club Land Preservation Effort to gauge the hobby of maintaining the belongings. She and any other page administrator reached out to Allegheny Land Trust, who expressed interest in buying the belongings sooner or later.