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Rental Fees at Increased at Renzie's Main Pavilion

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
February 16, 2018
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac file photo by Denise L. Ritter)

The cost of providing air conditioning at Renziehausen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion has led McKeesport officials to increase the fee to rent the facility.

City council unanimously approved an increase of $50 for rentals, taking the cost to $450 for Allegheny County residents and $500 for non-county residents.

The lack of air conditioning had left the pavilion uncompetitive and under-utilized in the summer. But since installing air conditioning in the pavilion, "our costs have risen dramatically," Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "We're looking to balance that cost over 12 months."

The city in November was awarded $80,000 by the Allegheny Regional Asset District for additional improvements to Renzie Park, including upgrades to all of the park's pavilions.

The RAD board also awarded McKeesport $717,037 toward operating expenses at Renzie.

Cherepko said all of the pavilions will receive new metal roofs, while the McKeesport Lions Club is raising money for a complete renovation of Pavilion 4.

"We're looking to add a new fitness program in the park, and we're looking to build a new parking lot as well," Cherepko said. "I predict that with all of the programming we have at Renzie, parking is going to be short this summer, but I think it's a good problem to have."

In other business:

Cherepko praised McKeesport police for getting 98 unlawfully obtained guns off the streets in 2017. More than 100 were confiscated in 2016, Cherepko said.

While officers have been highly visible and aggressive in drug and gun law enforcement, he said, they are doing so while under increased scrutiny from the public, news media and social media.

"As pro-active as they're being, they're doing a really good job, because the number of complaints I've received has been minimal," Cherepko said.

City Councilman Jamie Brewster-Filotei thanked McKeesport police and firefighters for participating in a recent "Kids' Kitchen" at Christy Park United Methodist Church. The event was designed to teach neighborhood young people how to make a simple recipe.

Although the firefighters and police were invited to attend, Brewster-Filotei said, organizers thought they'd just be visiting to eat. Instead, she said, "they actually put on gloves and came in and were helping the kids. It was really nice."

Another 87 vacant and condemned houses have been added to the city's demolition list, Cherepko said. When the next hearing is scheduled in four months, an additional 60 to 90 houses are likely to be scheduled for demolition, he said.

Some of the houses will be demolished by contractors, and others by city public works employees, Cherepko said.

But demolition progress is being slowed in some places by the need for --- and the cost of --- health and environmental permits, and are reaching out to county and state officials in an attempt to get relief.

"In my opinion, it's something we have to work on," Cherepko said. "It's very damaging to all of the communities in the Mon Valley that are struggling to clear up so much blight."

Originally published February 16, 2018.

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