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‘It is a beast:’ Here are the latest plans for Upper Macungie’s massive new community center

A rendering of the proposed Upper Macungie Township Community Center in Grange Park. (Rendering courtesy of Upper Macungie Township)
A rendering of the proposed Upper Macungie Township Community Center in Grange Park. (Rendering courtesy of Upper Macungie Township)
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An economic driver that will create jobs, generate tourism and let residents play pickleball — these are just some of the benefits that the planned Upper Macungie Township Community Center would provide, according to the nonprofit helping to build it.

“[It’s] a center that will quickly become the region’s largest and best facility of its kind, an accessible space that will truly offer something for every resident, the gateway to the western edges of the Lehigh Valley, an instant township treasure and truly the heart of our community,” said Laura McHugh, vice chair of the fundraising nonprofit Upper Macungie Community Fund, during a Thursday presentation to township officials.

Originally identified as a goal by the township Board of Supervisors in 2011, would include a 130,000-square-foot indoor soccer field that comes with a surrounding running path, indoor basketball and volleyball courts, lounges, a workout area, a cafeteria and classrooms.

Using a video presentation that showed new renderings for the project, McHugh explained to supervisors that the facility could host many uses such as sporting events, celebrations for birthdays and graduations, concerts, classes and conferences — while serving as an emergency shelter in the event of natural disasters.

A rendering of the proposed Upper Macungie Township Community Center in Grange Park. (Rendering courtesy of Upper Macungie Township)
A rendering of the proposed Upper Macungie Township Community Center in Grange Park. (Rendering courtesy of Upper Macungie Township)

Other amenities would include health fairs and screenings, support groups, vaccination clinics and an athletic trainer, according to the presentation.

The community center would likely draw up to half a million users every year, McHugh added, and would generate enough revenue to independently sustain itself. No subscription rates have been determined yet.

McHugh said the Community Fund nonprofit has raised $20 million in funding and is awaiting $16 million in pending grants, and hopes to do a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project by the end of the summer.

Kal Sostarecz, the assistant township manager and director of community development, said township funds would also contribute toward the project, which is estimated to cost around $50 million in construction.

Current partners for the project include Air Products, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Jaindl Farms, A-Treat and Alvin H. Butz Inc.

Later during their meeting Thursday, supervisors unanimously approved motions that will advertise bids for the project to determine specific construction costs, and will allow township staff to negotiate with local residents and businesses for contributing to the center.

“It’s beautiful,” board Vice Chair Sunny Ghai said. “It is a beast, if you will call it that. It’s massive, and like any beast, you have to feed the beast. It’s going to be a lot of resources, obviously.”

“At the moment, it does look like it, once built, will be self-supportive,” Supervisor James Brunell said. “I think the major climb is just getting out of the ground, getting a roof overhead and getting going.”

Residents who wish to see the video presentation for the community center can do so on .

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