Cranberry attracts residents, jobs and local community
When Joe Taddy and his family moved to Cranberry Township seven years ago, the move was somewhat of a homecoming.
Taddy had previously lived in the township around 10 years prior, and when work brought him, his wife and son back to the region, the change felt natural.
“It was because of the experience I had when I lived here 16 years ago,” Taddy said. “I just loved Cranberry. To me, it was how it was growing — the community and the people. Even though I only lived here for a brief time and moved away, coming here to visit felt like home to me. I was happy to come back.”
While Taddy himself works for #1 Cochran in Monroeville, much of his time outside of work is spent in Cranberry, he said.
“My wife works at Grove City College, and I work in Monroeville, so it’s kind of like the middle point for the two of us — she goes north and I go south. But it’s just for work,” he said. “All of our restaurants and shopping, whatever it may be, are in Cranberry or the outskirts of Cranberry. That’s where we spend most of our free time.”
Taddy isn’t alone among residents of Cranberry who spend a lot of their free moments within the township.
“Cranberry is a community that provides just about everything,” township manager Dan Santoro said. “I was talking with someone recently, and they indicated that you almost never have to leave Cranberry unless you choose to. Whether it’s the stores and the shopping and the retail that support people’s day-to-day lives, to the parks and recreation and amenities, the schools and education that are here, Cranberry is a full-service community that provides everything that most folks need.”
In contrast from ten or twenty years ago, the township sees a mix of people who live in Cranberry and work elsewhere, work in Cranberry and live elsewhere, and live and work in Cranberry, Santoro said.
“There are more people who come to Cranberry to work, or both live and work in Cranberry than those who leave every day and go to work in other places,” Santoro said. “Cranberry is more of a destination from a job perspective. It started as more of a bedroom community to commute downtown, but in the last decade, we have seen change. People want to live here and work here.”
Taddy spends much of his time within his own neighborhood, Cedarbrook. As president of the homeowners’ association for Cedarbrook, he “definitely knows all (his) neighbors,” he said.
“We take our dog on a lot of walks, and we go to the new pet walks at the dog parks,” he said. “I have my HOA meetings, and I like to get out there and make sure that our community is in good shape. I plow the sidewalks in the wintertime when it snows and everything, and that’s just because I like doing it.”
He’s also previously coached youth sports with Cranberry Parks and Recreation, serving as a coach for basketball and deck hockey.
“I want to get more involved in the community and do more,” Taddy said. “To me, it’s just a great community. From living all over the state and seeing all these different things, Cranberry to me is really home."
Taddy’s son, Austin, 16, goes to school at Portersville Christian School, and the family attends Victory Family Church in Cranberry.
Much of the way Taddy’s family connects with the local community is through sports. Taddy himself played in the adult league hockey group at the Lemieux Center in Cranberry for some time.
“We’ve gone (to the Lemieux Center) to watch practices and skate at the public skates,” he said. “We really enjoyed that. It’s something that's great for us and our family, because we’re big hockey fans. That’s been huge.”
Cranberry parks and recreation director Pete Geis said the athletic fields and parks of Cranberry are a draw for both residents and non-residents.
“I would imagine there’s very, very few (residents) who don’t regularly visit our parks,” he said. “When you look at our memberships to our pool, those are predominantly Cranberry residents, but the daily admissions are predominantly out-of-township. I think the same could be said for our pickleball courts, and when we have large disc golf tournaments. Any of the tournaments we have in our parks, you’re going to have a large number of residents and of non-residents.”
The township water park drew around 70,000 visitors this year over a three-month span, he said.
“Many of those are the same people coming multiple times, but when we pull those kinds of numbers, it always doesn’t surprise me,” said Geis. “I do know we’ve put a lot of effort in, and we have a very strong focus on customer service. We get a ton of great comments back.”
When it comes to potential drawbacks of living in Cranberry, Taddy himself doesn’t see much to be unhappy about.
“I really don’t have any complaints about Cranberry Township whatsoever,” he said. “I love the community, and the people and everything. I honestly can't think of anything that I would think down on or wish would change.”
Taddy praised the regular upkeep and uniform design of many buildings in the township.
“I would describe it as a relaxed community that you can feel safe in, that your family is safe in, and that you can have personal growth with your family,” Taddy said. “It’s a clean, safe community that has everything you need, and is a great place to call home.”
“It’s a very family friendly community,” township supervisor Dan Santoro said. “That's why we see lots of families with children that come here. Great school district, great park system, great recreational opportunities for your family.”
Comparing the area traffic to other places he’d previously lived across the state, Taddy said he didn’t find it to be “too much.”
“I think because (growth) has been done so professionally, and the people who are approving of the growth, the people who are involved and are making the decisions on what growth happens and doesn’t, I think they’re doing it right,” he said. “All the different things they're doing to help the traffic and to help the growth, I think it's great.”
Santoro added that traffic can be indicative of economic activity, and explained that traffic will always be present in any area at certain times, Cranberry or other.
“It demonstrates that there are lots of things going on here from a positive economic perspective,” he said. “As far as the capacity of the roadway system, that’s something the township is always focused on. But no matter where you live, there will be times, at peak times, where there is traffic on the roadway, because you don’t build the capacity of the roadway system to serve those brief peak times.”
Cranberry’s growth is often a topic of conversation, Santoro said, but administrators in the township keep an eye on the growth, he added. Per year, the township sees a few hundred new residents enter and settle down at a time.
“We as a board of supervisors strive to make this the best community and a place that people want to be,” he said. “People have this perspective that it’s a very rapid growth, but it isn’t. We’re only seeing 1.5% growth per year. It’s not this rapid, crazy, uncontrolled growth. It's a sustained, manageable growth. That’s because Cranberry is a world class community that attracts people. People want to be here.”