A pavilion being built at Mountz Creek Park in Connellsville collapsed over the holidays, halting further construction until the proper permits are secured. It was being built to honor a Bullskin Township woman who died last August from an accidental gunshot.
According to Connellsville Councilman Greg Ritch, who also chairs the city’s parks and recreation board, heavy winds that swept through the area on Christmas Eve toppled the partially built structure.
“From what I can estimate, some of the construction was not fully completed and secure, and some of the anchors on the (concrete) slab came loose,” said Ritch. “We are reassessing the construction techniques on this pavilion with our city engineer, and with the volunteers that are building this so it does not occur again.”
Tom Currey, Connellsville zoning and code enforcement and health officer, said city officials did not receive the required building plans or permits prior to construction.
Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln said he learned about the collapse on Christmas Day.
“We are currently working to fix the situation,” added Lincoln.
Ritch said he was unaware that a building permit was not obtained.
“Unfortunately there was some shortcuts taken that resulted in the building collapsing,” Currey said.
The pavilion is under construction at a new volleyball court in the park to honor Kylie Marie Sage, 23, who died when her cousin accidentally shot her when he was handling a gun she just purchased.
The courts are built and named after Catherine “Cat” Healy, a Bear Rocks woman that died from injuries she sustained last June in an automobile accident.
Sage attended an opening volleyball tournament at the courts several hours prior to losing her own life.
Melissa Tzan, Connellsville Parks and Recreation Board president, said earlier the pavilion is being built by Sage’s family.
Ritch said the materials and lighting for the project were provided by an anonymous donor.
Both Ritch and Currey said they were grateful that no one was hurt from the collapse, while the next step is to clean up the debris.
“It’s unfortunate because we have a lot of volunteers that put in a lot of time and effort.” said Ritch. “We have to consider every aspect of public safety.”
Once everything is safe, Currey said the builder will need to apply for the proper permits and submit the application to the parks and recreation board for approval.
“Mr. Currey sent a letter to the president of the recreation board indicating that there are certain procedures that need to be followed,” said Ritch.
From there, Currey said council will also need to approve the application because the pavilion is situated on city property. “They need to know who’s going to be responsible for taking care of it, who’s paying for it, who’s going to do the maintenance on it in the future and these types of things,” he said.
Currey said the Connellsville Planning Commission will then have the final say in issuing a building permit.
If approved, Currey said the city would continue to conduct follow up inspections throughout construction.
Tzan said the goal is to have the building re-constructed within the month weather permitting.
Healy was a 2011 graduate of Connellsville Area High School and a sophomore at the time of her death at Penn State Behrend, where she was a member of the volleyball team.
A 2008 graduate of Connellsville, Sage was actively involved in 4-H and participated regularly in horse shows.