A special program at McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center will examine the "past, present and future" of the Penn-McKee Hotel.
The event at 1 p.m. June 29 will include McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, Matthew Craig, executive director of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, and Jason Togyer, executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. It is open to the public, a Heritage Center spokeswoman said.
Located on Fifth Avenue near the McKee's Point Marina, the hotel was designed by noted Pittsburgh architect Benno Jannsen and was the site of the first debate between future presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.
After a long period of decline, the hotel closed in 1985, was damaged by at least two fires, and its ownership was hazy. It has now been acquired by the city.
In March, the Young Preservationists presented the city with an economic and architectural feasibility study of the hotel's possible reuses. The study is expected to be discussed at June 4's city council meeting.
A spokeswoman for the Heritage Center said June 29's presentation will include a discussion about the hotel's past, its present structural condition, and potential directions for rehabilitating the building for commercial use.
The Penn-McKee was voted the "number one preservation opportunity" in Western Pennsylvania by the YPA in 2018.
Admission to the program is free for Heritage Center members and a donation of $2 is requested from non-members. For more information, visit the website or call (412) 678-1832.
The Heritage Center is located at 1832 Arboretum Drive in Renziehausen Park, next to the rose garden.
Originally published May 15, 2019.