(Above: Paving projects are underway throughout the city and will continue "until the asphalt plants close down," McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko said. Photo courtesy City of McKeesport, via Facebook)
While city workers and private contractors tackle long-awaited paving projects throughout McKeesport, officials are becoming concerned about the amount of trash littering those same streets.
"You can ride down a freshly paved street and see litter all over the sides of it," Councilman Jim Barry said last week. "As fast as you pick it up, it's back down again."
If McKeesport wants to improve its image, Barry said, then along with removing blighted houses and paving streets, "we need to do something about the litter in this city."
Barry said that although he does see city workers out collecting trash, increased enforcement of littering laws might be another necessary step.
"I agree, it is an issue," Mayor Michael Cherepko said, adding that Patterson Avenue is one area where the problem is particularly apparent.
"Our guys will go out there, and pick up every piece of litter, and 48 hours later --- not even that long --- it looks the same again," Cherepko said. "It is an issue, and maybe we should look at some kind of anti-littering campaign."
As for the paving, council on Wednesday awarded a $273,825 contract to El Grande Industries Inc. of Donora, Washington County, for the second phase of construction on Bowman Avenue in the city's Highland Grove area.
Bowman Avenue is a heavily trafficked street and is a very wide street, Cherepko said, and the city was pleased that bids came in substantially lower than expected.
El Grande will reconstruct and repave the street from Lime Street almost to the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge --- a distance of about 0.6-mile.
In May, council awarded a $181,260 contract to Morgan Excavating of Belle Vernon to dig out the existing bricks, install a new roadbase, and resurface the "S-bend" portion of the road.
"We're making the infrastructure improvements that are very much needed," Cherepko said. "Everywhere in town, you will see construction going on."
Elsewhere, streets are being repaved by city crews under the direction of Steve Kondrosky, public works director. "They are working tirelessly to get as much done through the summer months and into the fall, until the (asphalt) plant closes," Cherepko said.
The repairs are part of Cherepko's "McKeesport Rising" initiative, announced in December, which is being funded by part of the proceeds from the sale of the city's sewerage authority last year to Pennsylvania-American Water Co.
Originally published June 10, 2018.