Good Neighbors

Community Comes Together to Create True Community Center

The "HUB" in West View (PA) has some unique things inside. Like an airplane.

What do you do when your town really needs a community center and there isn't one? You get creative about finding some money, get a bunch of volunteers together, and trust providence to make it happen. That's how the new West View HUB was born.

The West View HUB Library has 7500 books so far, all donated.

The HUB will provide a much needed library, internet cafe and programming for the town, which is located just north of Pittsburgh. It's also a salute to West View's unique heritage.

A large group was there, including center director Scott Pavlot and mayor John Henry, to cut the ribbon with a street party and grand celebration Wednesday night.

Pavlot says he knew for a while he wanted to do something for the neighborhood where he grew up, which, like many communities, has faced challenges. Late last year he applied for a grant and gathered an army of volunteers. When they got the grant, the group went to work, transforming the town's vacant bank branch into a gathering place as vibrant as the neighborhood's history.

Teller windows are now computer stations.

The marble teller windows have become computer stations with free wi-fi (many of the town's resident's don't have computer access). The vault is a children's reading room, and the safe deposit boxes a place to store kids' library cards.

Pastor Scott Bryte paints a mural of the Alpine Sky Ride from the defunct West View Park.

The walls are adorned with artifacts from the storied West View Park amusement park (closed in 1977) and a mural painted by the pastor of Pavlot's church. Hand-made book cases line the library walls, and a replica 737 fuselage (below), purchased at a Netflix prop sale, is a small theater space.

The HUB will also offer a wide range of programming for children and adults, all within walking distance of most people who live in this one-square-mile borough. Organizers discovered in their research that many of the education and social services available in the area were out of reach to West View residents because of transportation challenges.

Now those services will be able to come to them, from groups including North Hills Cares , North Hills Community Outreach , Anchorpoint Counseling Ministry , and the North Hills School District . "It's a true community resource," said Pavlot. "This is just the beginning!"

How can you start something good?
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