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Troubles now in the past, PACC continuing to offer plethora of services to town

May 6, 2013

Janell Burkett is pictured in the gym at the Punxsutawney Area Community Center performing a gymnastics routine. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — There is good news in downtown Punxsutawney: The Punxsutawney Area Community Center (PACC) continues to grow under the current board of directors after it came perilously close to closing its doors circa August 2009.

"There's been quite a change at PACC regarding our facilities under the current board of directors," said Rob McCoy, PACC director.

McCoy said he's been helping out at the center off and on since 1998.
"We reformed the board of directors in 2009 after the doors were closed and ran for over a year without a director," McCoy said, adding that he became PACC director April 1, 2010.

"When I was being considered for the position, I knew how much time would be involved, as I was first interviewed for the position," he said. "They offered it to me because I've done it all — board of directors, fitness center board, movie board, and I was a volunteer, too.”

He said there have been numerous changes over time at the community center — one of which was moving the fitness center downstairs to the former cafeteria on the first floor in 2008.

"The fitness center is completely staffed at all times, and there's a volunteer at the front desk where members have to sign in," McCoy said, adding that PACC has gone on to build a nice place where people can work out and get in shape. McCoy said Dave Mancuso, one of the new people brought on as a board member, has helped to build up the basketball program.

"It took a year to get many programs back up and running," he said.

"Punxsutawney Borough Council has partnered with PACC in obtaining grant funds, such as the CDBG money, that was used in replacing the roof on the center."

McCoy said Borough Council helped with the new sidewalks and 90 percent of the 2010 roof improvements.

"We've repainted lobbies and all the hallways downstairs," McCoy said, adding that PACC has also made the bathrooms handicap accessible.

He said Early Headstart has been a real positive so far, renting a lot of space on the second floor of the Jackson building.

"They have helped our budget from Early Head Start, Pre-K Counts and Head Start," he said.

McCoy said Head Start takes up eight rooms, which is guaranteed rent money that comes in to go toward the betterment of the center.

"We're very happy to have Head Starts one, two and three at the community center," he said.

He said they've painted the gym walls and bleachers, which provides a much cleaner look.

Ricky Howard, PACC maintenance person, also did his part, as he tackled refinishing the gym floor and sanded off the old finish, said McCoy.

"We've received some extra help from the PAHS eighth- through 12th-grade Art Club, which has been working behind the gym down at the fitness center," he said.

McCoy said, in the fitness center, newer machines have been purchased and older machines refurbished by installing new cables and repainting the handicap-accessible restroom.

He said that behind the fitness center, there's a former storage area where center visitors can play virtual golf.

"Above the fitness center, in the former school district offices, is where Helman's Boxing is located in the old board room," McCoy said, adding that the Boy Scouts also hold their meetings above the fitness center.

"We've also completed painting the second-floor hallway in the Jackson Building and updating the color scheme from the old orange paint scheme," he said.

McCoy said there have been many improvements to the Jackson Theatre, including the new roof and padded seats.

He also said there are close to 930 seats in the theater now, and the big curtains on the stage have been replaced with a new movie screen, which rolls up if there is a group that needs to use the stage.

"We've painted some of the theater and refinished the stage floor, which put a shine to it," McCoy said.

The center also installed a new sink for the concession stand, which was made possible due to a donation from the Dominion Gas Company.

McCoy said the center has purchased new amplifiers for the Jackson Theatre to improve sound quality for the movies.

"Another change that we made was transforming the old outdoor basketball court into parking for Head Start," he said.

McCoy said he and Rick Howard installed the playground equipment on the grassy playground area to give Head Start a place where the children can
play safely.

Steve Berfeld, Head Start director, said that renting space at the community center has been a godsend for his organization.

"The community center is working well with the community by hosting our Head Start programs," Berfeld said.

McCoy said the recreation programs continue with T-ball registration taking place and games set to begin the first
week of June.

Zumba classes are also being taught by Lacey Williams, in addition to other programs, such as Silver Sneakers.

McCoy said all PACC programs are listed on its website at www.punxsutawneycommunitycenter.org.

He said that none of what the center is able to do is possible without the PACC employees, such as his assistant Bill McGinley and especially the volunteers.

"Thanks to all of the volunteers at Jackson Theatre," McCoy said, adding that it couldn't happen without projector operators John and Frank Test.
McCoy said the fitness center couldn't operate without the Pathstone volunteers who work at the fitness center.

He said to be a Pathstone volunteer one must be over 55 and able to assist people for training.

McCoy said he wanted to thank Teresa Neal, board member, who has helped out in many areas.

He said the donations from area businesses are a big help, and the borough’s help with obtaining grant funding and the school district’s assistance in providing the facilities have gone a long way for providing the community a place to be active and involved.

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