Upper St. Clair taxes worth it

Published May 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm (Updated May 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm)

My wife Kathie and I have resided in Upper St. Clair for the past 35 years and are proud to continue to live there. I think the snow has stopped falling and we all endured a difficult and challenging winter, but it was made easier by the efforts of the Upper St. Clair Department of Public Works and the crews that often worked round the clock to clean our streets and highways. The streets in our neighborhood were always clear first thing in the morning.

I called the Department of Public Works from time to time to offer a compliment on what they do, and sometimes I point out a rut or divot in a nearby street, and about two days later, I see that the problem has been taken care of.

My wife and I have taken advantage of the beautiful playgrounds and recreation areas that are abundant in our community and in our immediate neighborhood. All of the parks and playgrounds have been redone in recent years and they appear splendid.

My children, and now my grandchildren, when they visit, love to play in the parks and love to visit our community library and read books and work on crafts or play games that are found in the children’s department. The kids mention these as highlights of their visit.

We choose not to be members of the new community center because we are able to participate in similar activities without charge ad the Jewish Community Center in nearby Scott as members of the Silver Sneakers program available to seniors who are covered by Highmark insurance. The insurance company wants to encourage seniors to stay fit and stay well.

At the same time, we recognize that the community center is a strong point of community pride and that local realtors show the community center to prospective home buyers as a sales point, and that newcomers are impressed with what is available to them for a membership fee. People in neighboring communities also purchase memberships. I have played basketball there on occasion with members and have to pay only a nominal fee to do so. We also pay an annual membership to enjoy the Woodland Hills Swim Club in our community. It’s nice to have such options.

Our schools, like neighboring Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park, are among the most outstanding educational programs in the state of Pennsylvania. Our two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, are both highly successful in their careers and educations and were prepared for this by the educational experience they had from kindergarten to high school in Upper St. Clair.

We have met many great educators in our schools through the years and believe that the test scores and the high percentage of students who continue their education are proof that these educators must be doing something right. The school facilities are first class and state-of-the-art buildings.

I have always been proud to say I grew up in the Glenwood and Hazelwood sections of the inner-city, but there are no schools anymore in those communities. That can happen in a community where there is insufficient tax support. The swimming pool and ballfields and playgrounds I enjoyed as a youngster have all closed down.

So, I am happy to be living in Upper St. Clair. Yes, the taxes are high, and I have the choice to move if I find them onerous. You get what you pay for, as they say.

My home is located a mile and a half from the post office, two miles from a great library, and the same distance from South Hills Village and a great Giant Eagle Market District, along with a smaller one now in Peters Township, and a great choice of restaurants. We are eight miles from The Point in Pittsburgh. It’s easy to get to attractions in sports and the theater.

Yes, Upper St. Clair and the South Hills of Pittsburgh is a great place to live. It’s about time more people start writing letters to the editor to point this out to the malcontents, critics and naysayers who do little to contribute to improving the place.

It’s also great to have the kind of medical facilities we have within a short drive to suburban or inner-city hospitals. As one gets older, this becomes even more important.

Jim O’Brien

Upper St. Clair

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