Community Fitness Classes Hosted by Penn State

December 13, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Penn State Greater Allegheny will hold community fitness classes at its new McKeesport Community Center, 410 Ninth Ave., Downtown, a spokeswoman said.

Zumba classes with Tiffani Hurt will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on the following Saturdays: Dec. 16; Jan. 13, 20 and 27; Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24; March 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31; April 7, 14, 21 and 28; and May 5, 12 and 19.

Yoga classes with Anne Mason will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on the following Mondays: Jan. 8, 15, 22 and 29; Feb. 5,12, 19 and 26; March 5, 12, 19 and 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and May 7 and 14.

The center is located in the former YWCA building, just off of Walnut Street.

 
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District Will Try to Save Some GW School Items

December 12, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(All photos: Special to Tube City Almanac)


Demolition of the vacant George Washington School in the Seventh Ward will begin soon and take about a month, weather permitting.

That's the word from David Seropian, business manager for McKeesport Area School District, who said demolition crews are going to try to preserve some items from the 1928-vintage building, which closed in 2014.

"I don't know specifically what's being saved, but there are some things we want to try to save," he said Tuesday.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the demolition is a positive step forward for the school's neighbors on Sumac and Freemont streets.

 
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Former State Representative Sentenced in Gambling Case

December 11, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A former state representative from White Oak who pleaded guilty to his role in a video poker ring has been sentenced to 18 months of electronic monitoring.

Marc J. Gergely, 48, also was sentenced Monday to two years' probation after pleading guilty before Allegheny County Judge Ed Borkowski to violating state election laws and conspiracy to violate state gambling laws, court officials said.

Both charges are misdemeanors.

 
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Board OK's George Washington School Demolition

December 11, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: News

The vacant George Washington Elementary School will be demolished.

At last week’s board meeting, the McKeesport Area School Board voted to withdraw money from the district’s fund balance to tear down the school, which closed in 2014.

Located in the Seventh Ward between Freemont and Sumac streets, the building, constructed in 1928, sits on nearly two acres of land.

In other business, Superintendent Mark Holtzman reported on his recent study of the district, conducted along with Tia Wanzo, assistant to the superintendent.

Holtzman said a mix of staff interviews and surveys were used to collect data on what they believe are the “core values” of the district.

 
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New School Board Members Take Seats

December 11, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: News

Magisterial District Judge Eugene F. Riazzi swore in newly elected McKeesport Area school directors Ivan Hampton, Thomas Filotei, James Poston and David Donato at last week's meeting.

The board unanimously voted for School Director Joe Lopretto to serve again as school board president for 2018 and for Mary Jane Keller to serve as vice president.

"I will try to do the best I can, as usual," Lopretto said.

(Mary Shelly photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

 
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Snowmaking Gets Underway at Boyce Park Ski Slopes

December 08, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

When Mother Nature can't oblige, Allegheny County park employees will.

Workers at Boyce Park last night began making artificial snow for the ski slopes, Allegheny County spokesman Kevin Evanto said.

Snowmaking will continue through 10 a.m. Saturday and also will occur Saturday and Sunday nights.

The ski slopes are tentatively scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16, weather and conditions permitting, and snowtubing will be permitted beginning Dec. 22.

 
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PennDOT Posts Roadwork in Elizabeth Twp., NV Twp.

December 08, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Work will be performed on two area roadways on Monday, weather permitting, the state Department of Transportation has announced.

In North Versailles Twp., crews will be restricting Foster Road to one lane of alternating traffic between Crooked Run Road and Diane Drive so that drainage pipes can be replaced, a district spokesperson for PennDOT said.

The work will be done from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and is scheduled to wrap up Jan. 31.

Crews from Allison Park Contractors Inc. in West Deer Twp. are performing the work, the PennDOT spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, in Elizabeth Twp., Route 48 will be restricted to one lane of alternating traffic near Swiss Alpine Village on Monday and Tuesday as workers conduct drilling tests.

 
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Disabled Parking Available at McKeesport Festival of Trees; Event Opens Today

December 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac file photo)


Drivers who need handicapped accessible parking for McKeesport's 32nd annual Festival of Trees are encouraged to use the spaces in the circle around Jacob Woll Pavilion, a spokeswoman said.

Parking for other motorists is available in the lots near the Renzie Senior Center and the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion.

Sleigh-hay rides will take visitors from Jacob Woll Pavilion to the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and the Garden Club of McKeesport, the spokeswoman said. The wagon runs approximately every 15 minutes.

Arboretum Drive in Renziehausen Park is closed between Sycamore and Tulip drives so that the road can be used for the sleigh-hay rides.

 
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Listen: Mayor's 2017 Budget and 'State of the City' Message

December 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko delivered his 2017 budget message and 'State of the City' address to city council at Wednesday's meeting.

You can download a PDF of the message and read it, or listen to the message here:

McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko - Budget Message - 12-06-2017

Filetype: MP3 - Size: 21.87MB - Duration: 23:53 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)

 
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City's 2018 Budget Holds Line on Taxes, Fees

December 07, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Above: Click to download McKeesport's 2018 budget. PDF reader required.)


There are few surprises in McKeesport's 2018 budget, which holds the line on taxes while increasing spending on capital expenses.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council passed the budget on a 7-0 vote. Property taxes remain at 6.26 mills on buildings and 18.5 mills on land.

One mill represents $1 in taxes paid for every $1,000 for which a property is assessed. Land is typically assessed at a much lower value than buildings.

While calculating a so-called blended millage can be tricky, a house assessed at $48,000 by Allegheny County would pay approximately $300 in city property taxes in 2017.

Council President Rich Dellapenna Jr. said Wednesday night he's "very pleased" with the $23.1 million spending plan. "I give the mayor, the administration and (Finance Director) Tasha Phelps a lot of credit for all of the hard work they've put into it," he said.

 
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Mayor Announces Ambitious 2018 Plans for Paving, Blight Removal

December 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport officials will embark on an ambitious plan to demolish 150 to 200 homes and pave long-neglected streets, Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday night.

Addressing city council before it voted on the 2018 budget, Cherepko said the "McKeesport Rising" project is intended to leverage the proceeds of the $159 million sale of the city's sewerage authority to Pennsylvania-American Water Co.

That sale of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport is expected to close before the end of the year, the mayor said, and should net taxpayers more than $40 million.

"I think it's only appropriate to manage that money as carefully as possible to last as long as possible," Cherepko said, but added that next year's budget also includes $2.5 million earmarked toward capital projects, including blight removal and street paving.

 
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Festival of Trees Opens Thursday at Renzie Park

December 06, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac file photos by Denise L. Ritter)


The ornaments are being hung and the lights are being tested at Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park as preparations come down to the wire for McKeesport's 32nd annual Festival of Trees.

A celebration of the holidays --- and the creativity of local groups and churches --- the festival opens at 12 noon Thursday and continues through Monday, with more than 80 Christmas trees on display, mostly featuring handmade decorations honoring a variety of themes.

Admission is $2 for adults. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with one canned good for a needy family.

Local Girl Scout troops will sing carols and hymns at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday when McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and other city officials hold a tree-lighting ceremony near the intersection of Sycamore and Arboretum drives in the park, a spokesperson said. Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive on a city fire truck.

 
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Trail Town Head: Communities Must Embrace Bike Visitors to Gain Full Benefit

December 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Above: Elected officials led by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald enter McKeesport during a tour of the Great Allegheny Passage in September. Tube City Almanac file photo)


A biking-hiking trail like the Great Allegheny Passage is an economic development opportunity for the communities it passes through --- but only if those towns capitalize on it.

And, said David Kahley, president and CEO of the Greensburg-based Progress Fund, McKeesport hasn't exploited the Great Allegheny Passage to its fullest potential.

The Progress Fund runs the Trail Town Program, which over the past 10 years has invested in 65 small businesses employing 250 people along the "GAP" trail between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md.

"McKeesport has been problematic for us," Kahley said during an interview for Tube City Community Media's radio show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," which airs Sundays on WEDO (810), WZUM (1550) and Internet station WMCK.FM, and is also available as a free podcast.

 
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Contractor Wraps Up Work on New Gergely Park Pier

December 05, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

A contractor has wrapped up the replacement of a fishing pier along the Youghiogheny River at Gergely Park, and next year, city officials intend to move ahead with reconstruction of the adjoining amphitheater.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said Monday that the pier, located along the Great Allegheny Passage hiking-biking trail near the foot of Ninth Avenue, was recently completed by Lutterman Excavating of Salem Twp., Westmoreland County.

In June, city council awarded Lutterman a $173,200 contract to demolish and remove the old pier and construct the new one.

“Everything we do to enhance our fishing pier, the amphitheater, Gergely Park and the Marina at McKees Point will improve our city as a destination,” Cherepko said in an email.

 
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Port Authority Still Seeking Comments on BRT Proposal

December 04, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Port Authority of Allegheny County is continuing to accept comments on its proposal to create a bus rapid transit, or BRT, loop between the downtown and Oakland sections of the city of Pittsburgh.

The project would speed access through Pittsburgh's congested Fifth and Forbes avenues corridor, with buses on dedicated bus lanes running every three to five minutes during peak hours.

But the plan would result in serious changes to the 61 A, B and C bus routes that serve Homestead, Braddock, Duquesne and McKeesport, as well as to the 71-series buses to Wilkinsburg and Point Breeze. The 61C route, which currently connects McKeesport with downtown Pittsburgh via Homestead and Squirrel Hill, would terminate in Oakland, and riders would transfer to the BRT loop for the rest of their journey.

Transit agency spokesman Adam Brandolph says comments are being accepted via email at brt@portauthority.org or by going to the Port Authority's website.

(Architect's rendering of bus rapid transit lanes courtesy Port Authority of Allegheny County.)

 

Phase 1 of Transit Center Makeover Complete; Agency Looks Ahead

December 04, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

With Phase 1 of a makeover of the McKeesport Transportation Center complete, officials at Port Authority of Allegheny County are making plans and raising money to begin Phase 2.

The first phase included demolition of the dilapidated and mostly unused combination bus and train station, addition of 36 new park-and-ride spaces, and new sidewalks, curbs and bus lanes, says Adam Brandolph, spokesman for the agency. It also included new comfort stations --- restrooms --- for transit operators, he says.

"Phase 2 is going to focus on site improvements and is supposed to be much more expansive than the first phase, but we just don't right now have specific details, or a cost estimate," Brandolph says.

 
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