Renovations to several pavilions at Renziehausen Park are nearing completion, and McKeesport officials are gearing up for more improvements to the park in 2019.
At this month's council meeting, Mayor Michael Cherepko said crews from Plavchak Construction Co. are wrapping up work on pavilions 1, 2, 3 and 7. The $184,750 project was funded through the Allegheny Regional Asset District, or RAD, and included new roofs, signage, benches and accessibiity updates.
In September, the RAD board adopted a preliminary budget that includes another $170,000 for construction of a new pavilion at Renzie, as well as the purchase of new playground equipment.
The regional asset district is funded through Allegheny County's 1 percent sales tax. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 18 on level B of the Koppers Building in downtown Pittsburgh.
Besides the capital improvement funding, the preliminary RAD budget also includes $738,548 in operating support for Renzie in 2019.
RAD funding for Renzie has steadily increased in recent years, going from $689,194 in 2016 to $702,978 in 2017 and $717,037 in 2018.
"I think they (the RAD board) have been very pleased with the progress we've made, not just on the improvements to Renzie Park, but also with the commitments made by the city's side," Cherepko said.
He thanked City Administrator Tom Maglicco, Assistant to the Mayor Jennifer Vertullo and Recreation Director Jim Brown for preparing McKeesport's request to the RAD board for 2019.
With the capital funding from RAD in 2019, Cherepko said, the city is planning to demolish the existing No. 5 pavilion, located above Lake Emilie, and build a new pavilion closer to Heatherington Field.
In addition to enhancing the ballfield, the mayor said, the new pavilion also would be closer to the dog park currently being constructed by city crews. The dog park is scheduled for completion in spring 2019, Cherepko said.
Along with the opening of the dog park, he said, the city will be adding about one mile to the fitness trail in Renzie Park. Improvements and repairs to the current trail also are scheduled, Cherepko said.
The city is also preparing for the construction of a parking lot between Jacob Woll Pavilion and the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center, he said.
More upgrades are yet to come, Cherepko said, including the possibility of what he called "major improvements" to Helen Richey Field in partnership with McKeesport Area School District and Penn State Greater Allegheny.
Those discussions are still preliminary, he said.
Jason Togyer is the volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. and editor of Tube City Almanac. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Originally published October 10, 2018.