UnCommon Grounds Gets Grant for Downtown Aliquippa Park

Herb Bailey, minister director of Uncommon Ground Café, examines site for new park.

By David Taube
Beaver County Times

ALIQUIPPA, Feb 26, 2016 -  — A longstanding proposal to create a community park next to Uncommon Grounds Cafe could finally become a reality.

City officials are reviewing a way to help the cafe take over vacant property next to the building on Franklin Avenue. The cafe’s ministry director, Herb Bailey, said the site could have a splash pad, basketball court and music performance area that includes a covered stage.

“This plan for the park has been in place for about nine years, and so this is the culmination of a dream,” Bailey said. “It’s really exciting to finally … be at the cusp of groundbreaking.”

An agreement would involve the city handing property and responsibility over to the cafe’s parent organization, Church Army USA, a ministry affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America.

Uncommon Grounds Cafe serves food, but its leading objective is to serve people. The cafe is run by evangelists and volunteers who seek to transform the community through a Christian message and outreaches.

When Bailey started with the cafe a few years ago, proposed designs envisioned a park next to the cafe. But the project never got past a phase of proposed renderings.

Bailey said he put together a grant and last year received an award notice that a $60,000 federal Community Development Block Grant through the Community Development Program of Beaver County would help the project.

But Bailey said other factors were at play, such as Dwan Walker being elected mayor in 2011. He said the mayor is “excited to write new stories for the community.”

Grading and other work could begin this year, and phases of the project could be finished by 2019 or earlier.