PUNXSUTAWNEY — Our very own Punxsy Phil has always been considered to be royalty as the "World's Only True Weather Prognosticating Groundhog."
Now, he has an entrance to his Groundhog Day home that is fit for a king.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle unveiled the new grand "Arch" during a ribbon cutting ceremony held Wednesday at Gobbler's Knob.
"This is a project that I thought would never get done," said Bill Deeley, Groundhog Club president.
Jeff Lundy, vice president of the Groundhog Club who has overseen the project, said the arch is phase one of a master plan for Knob improvements.
"We applied for a Pa. Wilds grant last year, which includes four different phases, with the first one being to improve the front of Phil's home," Lundy said.
He said the grant was a matching grant in the amount of $4,500 each, for a total of $9,000.
Lundy said the Groundhog Club wants to thank D.E. Limited for helping with prepping the area, removing the old iron gate and preparing the footers.
A bronze plaque will be placed at the arch entrance, for which the club accepted donations from the public in order to have one’s name, a memorial or a professional business listed permanently on the plaque, Lundy said.
He also said that everything connected to the arch was done locally, including the stone, which came from Yenzi's.
"We wanted the stonework to reflect the style of Western Pennsylvania," he said.
Lundy thanked the contractors who worked on the project: Charlie Dobson, contractor; Hughes Engineering, who engineered the project; Halstrom, designed brackets; and Made-Rite Concrete.
He also thanked those who gave donations: D.E. Limited; OSFS Metals, iron work; Smith Hauling, put up the sign; Grange Lime & Stone, gravel; and BFG, e-coating the iron.
Deeley said that Tom Dunkel was the member of the Groundhog Club who gave the project the final push to get it completed in time for Groundhog Day.
Lundy said Katie Donald, executive director of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, was the person who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get the project completed and obtained the grant funding.
Following a presentation regarding the project, the ribbon was cut by the members of the Groundhog Club past and present, while a large throng of community leaders witnessed the unveiling of the new entrance to Phil's Groundhog Day home.
"Everything we do is for the town in order to make it a better community," Lundy said.