By Heidi Kolar
TARENTUM, Pa. – The Tarentum Borough is revitalizing Tarentum in big ways.
The Tarentum Recreational Board is doing many things to help improve the community for its residents and to make it a better place for families to live.
Cathy Blythe, secretary of the Tarentum Recreational Board, said that she began to go to board meetings just as a citizen who wanted to know what was going on in her local community. She was going to the meetings for a year when a member left the board and Blythe was asked to take their place. Blythe filled in for the role of secretary and took on some big responsibilities. Being the secretary, she must record meeting minutes and keep records. She must write all letters to local businesses for donations and any other business the recreational board may need attending to as well.
“I had never felt I was part of the community,” Blythe said, “I wanted to get involved and to make a difference and that’s when I decided to go to meetings. I love being able to make a difference that betters my community as a whole.”
The Tarentum Recreational Board provides safe and fun family activities for all ages. During the summer it offers an eight week program which allows kids to come to the park and make simple crafts. Some crafts they make can be taken home and others are incorporated into the community. The children this past summer created individual pieces of a flag that were then put together to make a giant American flag to hang on the stage in the park during concerts.
The concerts in the park are Wednesday nights throughout the summertime. There is a variety of music, ranging from karaoke to polka. Senior citizens aren’t left out of the fun either. The Tarentum Recreational Board offers senior bingo along with senior crafts as well. All of these events are free.
Aside from the family activities the recreational board provides, it also provides Tarentum with a make-over. The board is currently replacing all the benches in the parks, and local businesses have the opportunity to sponsor a bench. The board is also looking forward to putting in a gazebo. The parks are being used now more than ever. Several new playgrounds for children have been built throughout the park as well. They are fenced in for the children’s safety, and it’s a great way for kids to get fresh air and exercise.
Blythe is also involved with the Abundant Joy Fellowship Church located along First Avenue in Tarentum. Abundant Joy Fellowship also reaches out to the community.
“We try to help where there’s a need in the community,” Blythe said. The church always provides hot chocolate for the Christmas parade each year, and they also sponsor Ladles of Love.
This past summer the church did a community outreach which attracted over 500 people. It was a four day event that the whole church worked together to set up. They had inflatable attractions such as a Velcro wall and a giant water slide. They honored everyday heroes throughout the community such as our local policemen, firemen, and veterans. They had numerous crafts to do and even a few local businesses showed their support; Steel City Pizza provided the pizza for the pizza eating contest.
The last day of the festival was a pig roast and they had 720 ears of corn to husk.
“I told everyone that if we could get all the ears of corn husked and ready for tomorrow that I would blow the inflatables up again,” said Blythe, “In a half an hour all ears of corn were husked and ready to go!”
Blythe also talked about many upcoming events to look forward to this coming holiday season. The Christmas parade is Saturday, Nov. 20, and the recreational board is in charge of the after parade. In the park at the stage area they will have Santa Claus, a toy giveaway, and concessions. On Dec. 10 and 11, the Abundant Joy Fellowship will have a live nativity and on Saturday, Dec. 11, they will also have horse and carriage rides.
The members of the Tarentum Recreational Board hope that by doing small things for the community they can make a big difference. Tarentum once was a proud town, and with a little help the revitalization will be a huge success.