If you entered Waynesburg west-bound on High Street, you were probably greeted on the left by an excavator atop a giant mound of dirt and debris. Three buildings were recently demolished in hopes of building a new parking lot for St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
“I think it beautifies the entrance into Waynesburg,” said Rev. Albin C. McGinnis, pastor at St. Ann’s Church. “Those buildings needed to come down 10 years ago.”
The three buildings were once functioning as storage and office space but have been vacant due to their deteriorating condition and asbestos infestation. The demolition process has been a lengthy and calculated one for St. Ann’s church.
“The properties were unsafe and we needed a tremendous amount of money to demolish them and make a parking lot,” Marci Snee, St. Ann’s office manager said.
The buildings were brought completely down by Feb. 20th.
“We’ve had funds set aside for it for the past several years, and just had to wait until we could purchase all of the property,” Snee said.
Safety is a significant benefit of the demolition. More space for parking will move cars off of High Street, creating a safer route for civilians coming to and from the church.
“We have a lot of parishioners parking on High Street with all the heavy trucks, and you’re basically placing your life in your own hands trying to get in and out of your car. It’s just too dangerous to park there,” Snee said. “We are also really happy that we will be able to offer more handicap accessibility in this parking area.”
The parking lot will come in handy to meet needs for many services and programs offered weekly at St. Ann’s, and the plentiful number of people who attend.
“We do have a great attendance,” Snee said. “With the recent merging of parishes into one, we now have people coming from all over the county. We have a nice mixture of people who have been here for generations and who have gone to other catholic churches before.”
St. Ann’s offers mass five out of seven days a week as well as weekly adoration and confession services. They also offer 3 luncheons a week, where Bonner scholars from the university volunteer to serve on Tuesdays.
The parking lot’s completion is to be determined. The church is awaiting permission from the borough to commence with construction upon completely clearing the property.
“We’re really dependent upon how fast they can get construction material out of there,” McGinnis said. “I’m hoping to have paved parking out there by the end of the summer.”
This will be the church’s first paved lot. Since parking will be free and accessible to the public, they hope to place signs indicating its intended use for St. Ann’s parishioners. However, they still see the added facility along with the demolished buildings as a benefit to the community.
“People are saying what a difference it makes already being able to see those the buildings down,” said McGinnis. “They’re excited to have the opportunity in place of on-street parking. Even the people who live across the streets from us will be able to park there. It really is a benefit to the entire community.”