Community Comes Together for Ribbon Cutting on Cheyney University Campus
January 17, 2013
Left to right, Thornbury Township Supervisor Michael Gast, Cheyney University President Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Senator Domenic Pileggi, and Cheyney University Director of Facilities Carl Williams cut the ribbon at the new Township Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The cold wind did not stop Thornbury Township residents from coming to Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Thursday to celebrate the dedication and ribbon-cutting of a project that most people would not discuss around the dinner table. For the residents of nearby College Hill and CU, however, the new sewer treatment plant is a win-win for the University and nearby residents whose 60 year old septic systems and wells reportedly posed potential health problems.
The joint venture between Thornbury Township and Cheyney University wouldn't have come to fruition without the bipartisan support of state and federal lawmakers. Both U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak, who taught an ethical leadership class at CU last semester, and State Senator Dominic Pileggi helped Township Supervisor Dr. Michael Gast and CU President Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital secure the necesssary grants to get the job done. It didn't happen overnight, though. Talks started in 2005 with only $50 thousand on the table. Four years later, Congressman Sestak helped the parties secure $242,000 via an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant. Two years after that, Senator Pileggi helped get the rest--$275,000--thanks to a Safe Water Grant.
Construction work on the low-pressure waste water management system expansion began in September 2012 and wrapped up this month. The system connects up to 32 homes in the College Hill neighborhood to CU's wastewater treatment facility.
"The project is a win-win by providing the neighborhood with a much-needed public sewer system and the University's treatment facility with the flow volumes needed to allow it to run more efficiently, especially in the summer when most of our students are not on campus," Vital told the crowd gathered. That's why, she insisted, the University did not hesitate to assist when Township officials approached CU some eight years ago.
"The hard work, persistence, and follow through by all parties involved," Gast said, "proves that even small neighborhoods can have big dreams."
"It's not glamorous," Pileggi acknowledged regarding the subject matter, "but it is important."
The celebration ended with a township employee securing a ceremonial sewer manhole firmly into place, followed by the dignitaries cutting a ribbon, and the crowd erupting in applause.