Photo: Lindsay Dill
Tom Dougherty, ALT vice president of development and external affairs, at the Churchill Valley Country Club site.
Over 80 years after its construction in 1931, the Churchill Valley Country Club, a long-time golf destination and events venue between Churchill and Penn Hills, closed in 2013. Now the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT)
is trying to transform the site into a permanently protected community green space.
The local land conservation nonprofit acquired an exclusive contract to purchase the Churchill Valley Country Club grounds, where they plan to convert the sprawling 148-acre site into an outdoor space for the “exercise and the enjoyment of nature for residents of these densely-populated east suburban communities.”
“With this special land now under contract, ALT and the members of these communities have a rare opportunity to work together to permanently preserve this treasure for the benefit of current residents and future generations,” says ALT president and CEO, Chris Beichner, in a press release. “Some residents are already enjoying this large, beautiful, green oasis, taking advantage of its more than five miles of accessible, paved trails and unique plant and wildlife habitat.”
However, challenges still remain, as ALT needs the funding to make the transformation happen. To help with this, ALT is launching a community campaign
to raise $100,000 by December 2019. The campaign is one part of a multi-faceted funding plan that includes support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, foundations, corporate partners, and civic organizations.
The community campaign will provide the required matching funds and demonstrate the local support necessary to obtain pending state and private grants.
Beichner states that donations of "any amount" will help to close the funding gap.
“We want to protect and enhance this gem for all to enjoy forever and will need the community’s help to make this happen,” Beichner says. “We have received enthusiastic support from residents and civic organizations from both municipalities, and we are very encouraged by their energy, but this is only the beginning.”
Besides its recreational benefits and its role as a habitat for local wildlife, ALT believes the Churchill site will also serve as a place for environmental education, and as a way to mitigate downstream flooding, as well as an attractive perk for local homeowners and potential home buyers.
Want to know more? ALT will host a public meeting on the project on Wed., August 7 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Penn Hills Public Library (1037 Stotler Rd., Penn Hills. pennhillslibrary.org
You can also make a donation
on the ALT website.