When Shona Eakin, CEO of both Voices for Independence and Transitional Paths to Independent Living (TRPIL) was growing up, she took swimming lessons at the YWCA in Washington.
As a person with cerebral palsy, swimming in the Y’s pool provided both physical therapy and exercise.
On Friday, Eakin returned to the building at 42 W. Maiden St. – this time, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The historic, Elizabethan-style building is now the headquarters and community center for VFI/TRPIL, which provide services to individuals with disabilities in Western Pennsylvania.
VFI/TRPIL recently completed Phase I of the renovation of the 27,000-square-foot building, constructed in 1929. That phase – which focused on renovating the lower level and front portions of the remaining floors – included the completion of a training center, offices and an internet cafe.
Eakin thanked the sponsors of the project – Columbia Gas, First Energy Foundation, Monongahela Valley Hospital, Range Resources, and Washington Health System, along with donors who contributed to the capital campaign.
Phase I of the project, which cost an estimated $4.3 million, was also funded by a combination of grants from Washington County Redevelopment Authority and Local Share Account.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eakin noted, VFI/TRPIL has continued to offer services, including peer counseling, advocacy groups and skills training, for nearly 600 people.
Phase II of the project, which will soon be underway, will include a second elevator, widened doorways, installation of carpeting and flooring specialized for wheelchairs, furniture and equipment.