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Mount Carmel Area Community Center Inc. (MCACC), a 501(c)3 organization, is working to convert the former American Legion Post 71 building into a community center to serve residents of the Mount Carmel Area School District.

The building, which has been purchased by MCACC, was originally the beautiful Victorian mansion where the Phillips family resided. The building was sold to the American Legion in the 1920s and, in the 1950s, the post added a wing in the rear of the building which served as a “hall.” The large hall, which contains a stage, was a popular venue for a wide variety of events, including community meetings, large fund-raisers, wedding receptions, class reunions and family celebrations and parties.

MCACC’s vision is to establish a community center that meets the social, educational and cultural needs of our primary service area which includes the municipalities of Mount Carmel Borough, Mount Carmel Township, Kulpmont and Marion Heights. MCACC is excited about the opportunity to preserve this landmark when so many former buildings of grandeur have already gone the way the wrecking ball. By transforming this building for this important public purpose, MCACC will be working to promote Mount Carmel area’s revitalization. MCACC wants those it serves to cherish the area’s proud coal region heritage while valuing our future.

MCACC views this project as nothing less than a community development initiative, a project that will improve the quality of life for all. This is the board’s vision for what the center will provide:

· A welcoming and safe location for people of all ages and from all backgrounds
· A youth afterschool program
· A venue for gatherings of all sizes
· Programs to strengthen families, in cooperation with the school district and social service agencies
· Life skills and personal enrichment classes and programs. Programs to include, but not limited to, personal finance, cooking and gardening
· Intergenerational programs in which people can learn from one another
· Mount Carmel Area Historical Society teaching the public about area history
· Senior citizen enrichment programs
· Visual arts programs for people of all ages
· Performing arts programs for people of all ages

This list is not exclusive. Many other suggestions for MCACC programs and activities have been discussed by the MCACC Board of Directors.

Thanks to a $250,000 state grant, MCACC now has a new roof and has completed a necessary asbestos abatement project. A $500,000 grant from the Degenstein Foundation will help us complete some additional renovations and improvements. But more financial support will be needed. According to estimates by our architect, the completed project could cost more than $4 million. This is a major challenge, but we believe strongly in our vision. We know we will need the support of many people to bring this initiative to a happy fruition.