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RAD OK’s Renzie Improvements for 2022

City celebrates $250K capital allocation from county board

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
December 09, 2021
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport will receive more than $1 million in 2022 from the Allegheny Regional Asset District for improvements to Renziehausen Park as well as operating funds.

The $118 million RAD budget approved last week includes $783,525 in operating funds as well as $250,000 in capital funding for bleacher improvements, extensions to the walking trail, new exercise equipment, and upgrades to the Lions Bandshell and the dek-hockey court.

“We got what we believe is our full amount (requested),” said McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko. “We’re very grateful for RAD and if the media prints anything, I hope they print that.”

Cherepko said all of Renzie’s facilities were extremely busy during 2021, “possibly because everyone was locked up all last year with COVID.”

Renziehausen Park, along with Pittsburgh’s city parks and the Allegheny County parks system, is considered a regional asset.

“The park continues to look better,” Cherepko said. “We’re proud of that park. It’s a destination not just for our community, but for many communities.”

Dan Griffin, a member of the RAD allocations committee, said in a prepared release the board considers 2022 “the year of the parks.”

“Given their extensive use over the past two years, we want to ensure that our parks and trails are well resourced to remain safe and open spaces for the public,” Griffin said.

More than $7.8 million in capital grants from the Regional Asset District will support improvements to recreation areas, the board said in a press release.

With a portion of the RAD capital funding for 2022, Cherepko and city Administrator Tom Maglicco said McKeesport is planning to install new fitness stations like ones found at Allegheny County’s South Park.

The mayor said the Renzie bandshell has become a destination point of its own because of the Labor Day weekend ribfest, the summer concert series and other events. Improvements to the facility will include exterior repairs and updated bathrooms, Cherepko said.

Several small extensions to the walking trail are planned, he said.

Cherepko thanked members of city council for approving capital improvements to the park from McKeesport’s own funds. Over the past three years, city public works crews have repaved and repaired portions of the walking trail. Signage has been upgraded and air-conditioning was installed at Jacob Woll Pavilion.

“Kudos to each of you for making investments into Renzie Park,” he said. “I think the RAD board sees that.”

Over the past 28 years, Renziehausen Park has received nearly $20 million in RAD funding, according to the board’s website.

The Regional Asset District is funded by Allegheny County’s 1 percent sales tax. The 2022 budget is the largest ever approved by the RAD board, which is projecting total revenue for 2021 of $109 million — the highest on record and a 9 percent increase over 2020, which was marked by lockdowns and closures, especially in the hospitality industry.

The seven-member RAD board is chaired by Dusty Elias Kirk, an attorney and partner at the law firm of Reed Smith. Four members of the board are appointed by the Allegheny County chief executive, two members are appointed by the mayor of Pittsburgh and one member is appointed at-large.

Other grants of local interest include:

Allegheny County Parks: $23.4 million in operating funds and $3.5 million in capital improvements for nine county parks, including Boyce, Round Hill, South and White Oak

Allegheny County Library Association: $7.1 million in operating funds (includes Carnegie Library of McKeesport)

Four new regional assets received funding for 2022: Brew House Association, Radiant Hall Studios, Riverlife and the Rivers of Steel Heritage Association.

Originally published December 09, 2021.

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