Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

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Oct 04

How do you like your coffee? In Cranberry, it’s with a group.

Posted on October 4, 2016 at 11:30 AM by Jerry Andree

My appetite for coffee has grown considerably over the last few years. 

Back in the spring of 2010, we started a program designed to help Cranberry residents better understand their community.  It was created in response to a mandate from our Board of Supervisors directing us to expand and improve Township communications.  

So we invited residents to join me for coffee and informal conversation about pretty much anything that had to do with Cranberry.  The idea was that face-to-face communication in a relaxed environment would be a good complement to our media communications.

I had heard about this idea from some of my colleagues.  But for a variety of reasons, it was seldom used – most often out of fear of the unknown.

I, too, was a bit apprehensive at the outset.  First of all, there’s no way of telling ahead of time exactly what topics people will want to discuss; they might concern things I either didn’t know much about or maybe wasn’t at liberty to share.  And second, no matter how hard we try, there are still going to be a handful of angry people in our community who might use it as an opportunity to create an unpleasant situation for everyone else.  

That was then.  Now, dozens of Coffee and Conversation gatherings later, these sorts of get-togethers have actually proved to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work here.

For the past few years, most of them have focused around a Township facility.  Case in point is one we recently held at the Waterpark.  We had over 50 people attend.  Many of them were visiting the Waterpark for the first time.  

They asked great questions, got to meet some of our operating staff, toured behind-the-scenes machinery, ate some pizza, had great conversations, and in some cases, even took a dip in the pool.  

Over the past six years, our series has included site visits to the Brush Creek wastewater treatment plant, the Volunteer Fire Company, the Library, the Traffic Operations Center, the Police Department, the Public Works building, and strolls along park trails, as well as topics like solid waste management, school district-municipal relations, County-Township relations, and stormwater management.  Future coffee get-togethers will include another visit to the fire company and to the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course.  We’re always looking for new opportunities to give our residents a look at what makes Cranberry Township tick.  And if you have a topic or location you would like us to pull back the curtains on, just let me know. 

Particularly now, with all the political arguing and posturing going on at the state and national levels, I am hugely thankful to work for a community of residents who are well-informed, who participate in community activities, who support its events, and who are active in shaping the future of their hometown.  This weekend’s Cranberry CUP tournament offers another outstanding example of local residents pulling together for a good time and a great cause.  

Take a walk through Graham Park and you’ll see major improvements taking place with the construction of the new Miracle League Out-of-the-Ballpark Playground.  Or check out the Kids Castle Playground in Community Park – an outstanding facility which was designed and built with our resident’s labor together with support from their donations to our Community Chest.  Those are just two recent and visible signs of a truly great community.  And they’re all because of you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as your ideas for more of these gatherings – even if you don’t like coffee.  You can reach me at
Jerry.Andree@CranberryTownship.org

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