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Study to look at reopening Ligonier Beach

Community group pushing to revitalize Ligonier Beach
Community group pushing to revitalize Ligonier Beach 02:19

LIGONIER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- What was once a summer oasis and popular swimming destination in Ligonier Township for locals and tourists alike is now a vacant weed-infested shell of its former self.

Flooding destroyed Ligonier Beach some six years ago, but since the area closed, there has been a wave of support slowly growing to see the land revitalized and reopened to the public.

Melissa Eller is the president of The Friends of Ligonier Beach, a community group fighting to bring the place back to life. She says that Ligonier Beach, much like Idlewild Park just down the road, could be a big economic generator for the township.

"I can see an outdoor entertainment venue," Eller said. "I can see camping along the streams, I can see a swimming pool, outdoor recreation where people can get outside and be healthy."

Right now, a master site development plan and a pool feasibility study has been award to the Mackin Engineering Firm in Pittsburgh.

The total coast for Mackin's research and development proposals is $100,000, half of which is being paid by The Friends of Ligonier Beach and the other half from a grant given by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Ligonier Township Manager Michael Strelic says that once Mackin's study is complete on what to do with the property, residents of the township can then have their say.

"It was a great asset, and it could be a great community asset again," said Strelic. "But great assets cost money and we are just a small community out here, so we don't have a lot of money, so it depends on not just what the community wants -- do they want basketball, pickleball? -- but do they want to pay for the basketball court and pickleball maintenance? So the pro is it could be a great thing again and the con is that great thing may cost money."

Ligonier Township is going to be holding several public meetings in the near future, once Mackin's study is officially complete. They are asking for the public to attend those meetings and let community leaders know what they want. Until that time, Ligonier Beach will remain closed.

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