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The Independence Township Community Center is one of two school buildings obtained from the Avella Area School District in 1986. The smaller structure built in 1939 was used for elementary school classrooms, lockers, and a gymatorium, until 1984. The larger classroom structure was demolished, and the smaller structure was designated to become the Community Center and multi-purpose recreational facility to serve the residents all age groups of the municipalities within the school district. Independence Township and Hopewell Township in 2016 have entered into an Inter-governmental Cooperation Agreement which together could fund the physical plant in order for all tenants to be supplied as a rent-free community center. Independence Township and dedicated volunteers in the past have made numerous improvements to the center with grants and endless hours of labor and donations to improve the structure. Renovations included the interior of the library, a new roof, a coal fired furnace to a localized high efficiency gas furnaces, refinishing the gymnasium floor, and equipment for basketball and volleyball. The Community Center is set up to display the local history of the area, including a mining car and artifacts from the coal mining industry, the railroad, past downtown businesses, pictures, a school bell, and the original fire engine.

One of our anchor tenants for over 25 years, the Avella Area Public Library, is part of the Washington County Library System and has been an advocate for libraries and the informational service needs of all the people in the Avella area. The library sponsors a summer reading and music program and a fall craft fair. Our second anchor tenant is Avella Athletics Inc., a non-profit organization that sponsors youth sports for wrestling, football, baseball, basketball and indoor volleyball. Additionally, improved facilities can promote meeting rooms for civic and community organizations and provide temporary housing and shelter in case of a local emergency.

The center located in the middle of 2 residential areas has approximately 12,000 square feet of floor space on the main floor. The interior contains 2 spacious rooms for the library, 2 rooms for meeting or conference rooms (one is equipped with a small kitchen), a gymnasium, a utility/security camera room, a complete stage, draw curtain and dressing rooms, 2 restrooms, and the hallway is complete with display cases for displaying area artifacts and accomplishments. The lower level of approximately 4000 square feet is available for remodeling in the future, and the 7 acres of land surrounding the community center is available for future development.

When required, Independence Township has been dedicated in continuing the efforts of improving this facility both financially and with township materials and labor. The parking lot was paved in the last 5 years through a generous donation from Chesapeake Energy. Maintenance of the grounds are done in-house through a 2015 equipment purchase.

The gymnasium is currently available for rental for birthday, graduation, meetings, fund-raising, educational and cultural venues. The rental fees are competitive and lower than similar venues within a 50 mile radius. Improvement of the facilities will preserve a structurally sound building and is the foundation of programs provided throughout the township. It would be impossible for Independence Township to construct new facilities comparable to those present at the Community Center. Improving the current facility would be far more economical and feasible. Currently, the only indoor facility similar to the Community Center is the Avella Area School District. Located 5 miles from the community, their heavy schedule of events and extra­curricular activities makes it impossible for the general public to enjoy adult and additional practice facilities for all age groups. Improving this center would provide recreational and community service groups a much needed central building for additional events.

Project needs, impact and outcome.

  • Benefit residents/ community by offering an affordable place to exercise and spend social time with family and friends or allow residents a common affordable setting to congregate for rest, relaxation and exercise.
  • Create a stronger sense of community. Provide residents with better quality of life, increase property values, make area more attractive to potential residents.
  • Place where residents can encounter others with common interests. Place for social interaction. Continued location to vote.
  • Offer programs for all age groups and interests. Group classes and opportunities for residents to enjoy resources provided by the community:
    • Sports leagues for all age groups
    • Exercise classes
    • Instructional classes/educational classes
    • Senior citizens activities and leisure activities to create new social relationships and wellness
    • After school programs
    • Youth and teen programs
    • Summer camps/programs
  • Place for community celebrations for various occasions
  • Place where community residents can rent inexpensively for a private family function or party
  • Place to house local history and artifacts
  • Place to host events/entertainment for the paying public
  • Helps increase community pride and strengthen resident involvement through recreation and leisure program development
  • Helps with revitalization-an asset considered by businesses when choosing a site for development and when considering the quality of life provided by an area’s recreation and cultural programs.
  • Facility for hosting events to promote event driven tourism
  • Facility for cultural events
    • Theater/dinner theater
    • Concerts
    • Craft and antique shows
    • Dance
  • Place for hosting local clubs and volunteer activities
  • Provide a safe place for youth to gather and participate in various activities

 

Youth Wrestling – Athletics, Inc.

  • Mondays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Tuesdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Wednesdays, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Thursdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

 

Adult Basketball League

  • Wednesdays, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

 

The Community Center is available for events such as parties, birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers, graduation parties, and more on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.