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City OK’s Street Paving Contract, More to Come

Spring also brings vacant home demolitions, park upgrades

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
May 11, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Parts of nine McKeesport streets will be resurfaced under a contract awarded this month by city council, with more to come as weather and personnel permit, officials said.

City council awarded a $629,647 contract to El Grande Industries of Donora, Washington County, for paving along Cornell, Coursin, Forest, Reed, Porter, Soles and Steele streets and Evans and North Grandview avenues.

El Grande was the lowest of three bidders, city officials said.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said public works crews also will pave several streets using city equipment, but employ outside contractors such as El Grande to mill — or remove — the old paving. He praised Steve Kondrosky, city public-works director, for work done last year.

“Steve and the guys did an incredible job last year, so the bar is set pretty high,” Cherepko said. “The amount of roads we did in-house is amazing.”

There are 10 to 15 streets on the in-house “priority” list to be paved, the mayor said.

Cherepko said the city has been trying to schedule street-paving around the demolition of vacant houses. “Some of them, like Coursin Street, are being paved now that we have those houses torn down on that section,” he said.

In other business

Cherepko said city employees are getting ready for the summer. “Obviously, we’re getting the parks into condition and we’re prioritizing street-paving. Demolitions are beginning to pick back up.”

One of the city’s demolition contractors, Minniefield Demolition Services, has set what the mayor called a “very aggressive schedule” for tearing down vacant houses, including staging multiple demolitions on the same street at a time.

“For two weeks now, he’s kept to that schedule, which is pretty impressive,” Cherepko said.

Mike Betters Co., Lutterman Excavating and American Demo also are working in the city, he said. “It’s coming at a good time, because it’s like a spring cleanup so to say,” Cherepko said. “It brings up the morale in our neighborhoods when people see these vacant houses coming down. (The administration) is excited, as well.”

City council approved a three-year contract with Property Registration Champions LLC, a subsidiary of Connecticut-based Community Champions Corp.

“A big problem right now is that if people lose a house to a bank, the bank will take that house but not take (responsibility),” Cherepko said. “If the grass gets high or there are other problems, the bank says, ‘We can’t do anything about it.’ It’s been a big headache.”

Property Registration Champions maintains a database that allows municipal code-enforcement officials, police and other authorities to track the ownership of homes and other properties that are in foreclosure and find the people responsible for maintenance, taxes and upkeep.

Council approved a $25,000 contract with Ace Pyro LLC of Munson, Clearfield County, to provide fireworks for Independence Day, International Village and one other event to be announced. The price does not reflect a $6,000 credit for a fireworks display that was cancelled in 2022 due to inclement weather.

Council also approved a new three-year contract with city engineer James Garvin.

Jason Togyer is the volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. and editor of Tube City Almanac.

Originally published May 11, 2023.

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