Gerkey Steps In as Moon Township's Planning Director

The former Crawford County planning official began her tenure with the township earlier this month.

Marissa Gerkey spent her first week on the job as Moon's new planning director delving into the township's comprehensive plan process.

"I was really impressed with the [comprehensive planning committee] members," said Gerkey, who attended the group's Dec. 14 meeting. "It's a very strong committee."

Gerkey, a former Crawford County official, was tapped as the township's new planning director in October, when the   her hiring at an annual salary of $63,000.

She replaces former township planning director Adam McGurk, who in April to relocate to New York City. 

Township Manager Jeanne Creese told the board in October that Gerkey was selected for the position following two rounds of interviews. The township has been without a planning director since McGurk's departure.

Gerkey, who has more than six years of experience as a community planning professional, said she was now acquainting herself with the township and her new role.

"It's been really nice," she said of her first days in the position. "Everyone here has been really helpful."

What she'll do for you: "Planning directors do different things in different places, but here I'll be dealing with land use, development and zoning issues. This year I'll be working with the comprehensive plan committee to look at future development in Moon."

First impressions of Moon: "I'm really impressed with the housing stock; the subdivisions are well planned," Gerkey said. "It's also very easy to get around in terms of transportation. The entire township is very accessible."

Interests: Gerkey said transportation-based issues are one of her foremost areas of interest as a planning professional. She's a member of the American Society of Highway Engineers and the Pennsylvania Planning Commission. 

Previous experience: Since 2006, Gerkey served as the assistant planning director for the Crawford County Planning Commission, where she specialized in zoning, land use planning and economic development. 

She said she first became interested in community planning while working as a tax specialist for the city of Pittsburgh.

Returning to Allegheny County: Gerkey is a Brighton Heights native who said she was eager to return to her Pittsburgh roots. She currently resides on the North Side. 

"I wanted to move back to the Pittsburgh area," she said. "Planning jobs are few and far between, so this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up." 

Education:Gerkey earned bachelor's degrees in international studies and political science from Elmira College. She currently is completing coursework toward a master's degree in city and regional planning at New York City-based Pratt Institute.


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