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Mayor: Practice Social Distancing,
Take Care of Loved Ones

Renzie to remain open; city hall operations continue

By Submitted Report
The Tube City Almanac
April 02, 2020
Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko on Wednesday released the following letter to residents:

With the novel COVID-19 coronavirus making an impact not only on our operations here at the City of McKeesport, but in the daily lives of each and every one of our residents, it is important that we remind ourselves what makes the McKeesport community strong.

As we continue to observe social distancing, hygiene and safety recommendations from national and state officials, it is important that we keep open our lines of communication with our neighbors, local businesses and local leaders.

Check in on folks who may need assistance with food or other services during these uncertain times, and be on the lookout for new information via regional news outlets and the “City of McKeesport — Mayor’s Office” Facebook page for local updates to changes in our services as well as surveys that help the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania determine what resources may be needed in our community.

While it may not yet feel like the same season we enjoy every year, springtime officially is upon us. We are doing our best under the current guidelines to make sure our staff is ready to provide the City of McKeesport with the fresh start that comes with the first signs of spring each year. Public works crews are out in the community making seasonal improvements, and our police and firefighters continue to work around the clock.

At city hall, we are structuring staff and resources to accommodate the people of McKeesport by phone and through a service window between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Rest assured, we are here for you, just as we always have been.

With the weather getting warmer, it’s human nature to want to be outdoors to socialize with friends and extended family, but we can’t let that urge override our sensibilities. Everything we do — and don’t do, in this case — has an impact. Let’s be sure that the impact we make is positive as our nation attempts to overcome COVID-19.

I know many of our residents look forward to seasonal events, including the Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Around Story Time events at the Jacob Woll (Main) Pavilion in Renziehausen Park. Unfortunately, these events had to be canceled in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. You will find a full lineup of seasonal activities planned for the rest of the year as those guidelines continue to evolve.

We hope to welcome back our children’s events, ceremonies, summer concerts and celebrations such as International Village when summer hits. With that being said, keep in mind that the next few months are unpredictable in how we will be asked to respond to COVID-19 in terms of restrictions on how and where we may gather.

Please be patient as our events schedule is subject to change, and know that we can’t wait to get together for each of our seasonal gatherings once regional restrictions are lifted. Until that time, my administration has chosen to close all of the social halls and picnic shelters until the restrictions are lifted.

At this point, there is no plan to close Renzie Park or our neighborhood playgrounds. The parks are open to the public, especially since exercise is encouraged at this overwhelmingly sedentary time in our lives. While the parks are open, we encourage parkgoers to maintain the recommended six-foot distance while walking our trails or using other facilities.

As we have seen in neighboring communities, including the City of Pittsburgh, first responders and other staff will patrol parks more closely to provide reminders of proper social distancing. We will continue to remind people of best practices and temporary equipment closures.

Our basketball courts, for example, have been taken down to a half-court setup to discourage large games and gatherings. We aren’t turning families and small groups away from the court, but we would ask visitors to use their discretion and to come back at another time if the court is occupied.

As always, I am thankful for those who make the City of McKeesport the community we know and love, and because of that, there is no place in the world where I’d rather be when facing a challenge such as this. I invite all of you to join me in “Working Together for a Better McKeesport,” but today that means doing our part to guarantee a safer McKeesport.

Practice social distancing and take care of your loved ones, because the more stringently we adhere to the recommendations from state and national officials, the sooner we will get to enjoy our community for all it has to offer. Please remember that we are here for you, and we are just a phone call away.

Originally published April 02, 2020.

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