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The French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC) recently completed the installation of a new boat launch along French Creek on Wadsworth Avenue in Meadville. The Joe Cat Launch, named for Joe Catalano, is the result of a multiyear effort by the Catalano family to raise funds to honor the family patriarch. Catalano grew up in the Fifth Ward and was a lover of French Creek, so the launch is a fitting memorial.

French Creek Valley Conservancy worked with the Catalano family to install the launch on FCVC’s Smock Riverwalk property, an eight-acre parcel donated to the Conservancy in 1998 by Chuck Smock. The property has important conservation value as a riparian buffer, vegetated land along the creek that stabilizes the banks. French Creek is an official Pennsylvania Water Trail, and the Conservancy works to encourage water recreation.

The launch is intended to be a walk-in launch; vehicles are not permitted to drive onto the property. A gravel pull-off has been created for loading and unloading, and parking is available at the Wadsworth Avenue Church and the Lincoln Avenue ballfield lot. An official public ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Sunday, August 11 from 1–3 p.m.