Salem dedicates drive into Marc’s Plaza in memory of developers

Members of Salem developer Gene Zilavy’s family attended a ceremony dedicating the drive off of the East Pershing Street extension into the Marc’s Plaza to him on Thursday afternoon. The portion of the street is called “Dolansky/Zilavy Court.” Zilavy, a 1952 Salem High School graduate, died in February of 2016 at the age of 82. Pictured from the left are, Staccie, Carly, Benjamin and Jeffrey Zilavy, his wife, Nancy, Jane Massa, Julianna Silvestri, 4, is held by Steven Silvestri, and Josh Zilavy. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)

SALEM — City officials dedicated a drive off the East Pershing Street extension at the rear entrance to the Marc’s Plaza as “Dolansky/Zilavy Court” Thursday afternoon.

With family members present, Mayor John Berlin read a proclamation honoring Gene Zilavy, and declaring Oct. 5, 2017 as “Gene Zilavy Day.”

Third Ward Councilman Geoff Goll organized the dedication effort.

“It is just in recognition of the lifetime of construction that Gene and Joe Dolansky have given Salem,” he said. Dolansky and Zilavy were partners in construction for 30 years.

“And Southeast Boulevard wouldn’t have happened without them and we’re grateful.”

Last November, the Streets, Alleys & Sidewalks Committee had planned to name the rear entry drive to the Marc’s store after Zilavy, who developed that area of town and Southeast Boulevard, but learned it had already been named Dolansky-Zilavy Court in recognition of the Dolansky-Zilavy Land Development.

At the time, the committee asked Service Safety Director Ken Kenst to have a street sign made and marking the street for dedication at a later time.

While serving in four-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, Zilavy sent every paycheck home to his mother and upon his discharge started the Zilavy Construction Company with $3,000.

With his brother, Edward, they built many homes, professional offices and apartments in Salem while developing the eastern area of the city including Southeast Boulevard, Tanglewood, Kennedy Drive, Edgewood, Park, Oak, Ridgewood and Monroe streets.

The company also donated the property to the city for the development of the East Pershing Street extension.

Berlin noted that Zilavy was “a kind person who loved spending time with family, playing golf, traveling and the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Also attending the ceremony were Utilities Department Superintendent Don Weingart, Salem School Board member Doug Moffett, who also works for the city, and Audrey Null, executive director for the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.