The Area Transportation Authority's (ATA) celebrated the opening of its new Transit Center by hosting a ribbon cutting and open house on Wednesday. The center is located on the ground floor of the St. Marys Parking Garage on Depot Street.
Government officials, including Dave Mitchell from Governor Corbett's office; Mark Adams from state Sen. Joe Scarnati's office, and Fritz Lecker of State Rep. Matt Gabler's office; along with Elk County Commissioner Dan Freeburg, Mayor Sally Geyer, City Manager Dave Greene, and members of City Council and the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce were all on hand for the ribbon cutting. Various ATA staff and members of the community were also in attendance.
David Gordon, ATA board chairman, greeted attendees and offered brief comments regarding the opening of the new center, the first of its kind in the region.
"This is one in a series of efforts that are designed to better expand the service in this area and throughout the six-county region that ATA serves," Gordon said. "Our ultimate goal is to provide transportation to people in our very rural area which is entirely different than the urban settings that most bus companies operate in."
"I think the new building will increase ridership because any developmental project usually leads to more activity and I think that's what our hope is, developmental potential of the transit center as a hub for future transit services right here in the St. Marys area and the outlying areas," added John Lachny, ATA director of marketing and communications.
"I don't think many people understand the hours, weeks and months that have gone into this effort, but [it's] the kind of effort that I feel good about when I become part of it because it's a collaborative effort between multiple agencies," Gordon said. "Government never works and certainly never works right, I think here is a demonstration of what can happen when it does work right. It's a good bit of satisfaction to be a part of this team. To see government agencies actually sit down and work together, often that doesn't happen as they run in different directions. This was a case where state, local and federal entities actually got together and did something to benefit the local people with nobody getting full credit for it, that's the part that I like. It was a team effort."