A portion of Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard may be removed to provide parking for what is being called the McKeesport Multi-Media Building. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)
McKeesport is aggressively moving forward to prepare the former Daily News Building for new tenants.
At Wednesday's meeting, city council voted 6-0 to apply for a $200,000 grant from Allegheny County's Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund for renovations and repairs to the building. Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was absent.
The first tenants could be moving into the building as early as May, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
In addition, city public works crews will probably be turning part of Kennedy Park at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street into a parking area for the building.
The work would not affect the statue of President Kennedy or the plaza around it, Cherepko said, but would require removal of the small fountain at the corner.
The building, currently dubbed the "McKeesport Multi-Media Center," has been vacant since the McKeesport Daily News published its final edition on Dec. 31, 2015. The presses and most of the newspaper's equipment have been removed and sold, though its archives remain intact.
The city purchased the building for $1 in late 2017 from the Daily News' parent company, Trib Total Media.
Cherepko said Wednesday that Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation will be the anchor tenant, and that the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office also is expected to rent space.
Tube City Community Media Inc., parent organization of Tube City Almanac and Internet radio station WMCK.FM, also has been asked to rent space in the building, as has the Monessen-based newspaper, the Mon Valley Independent.
The city's goal with the Daily News Building is for it "to break even, at least," Cherepko said. "We're not looking at it from a revenue-generating perspective, but we are looking at the impact it can have on other things that are happening out in the community."
The basic electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems in the Daily News Building are functional and sound, he said. The CITF money, if approved, would be used to make improvements necessary to retrofit the building to hosting new tenants, Cherepko said.
The city is also actively exploring renovations to the Lysle Boulevard parking garage, which abuts the Daily News Building but has been closed to the public for several years.
"We are waiting for final numbers," Cherepko said. One serious concern is whether or not the elevator in the parking garage can be retrofitted and reused, he said.
"What we've decided to do in the meantime is at least create some more parking near the building for now," Cherepko said. "We're moving very quickly on this."
Even if the parking garage is renovated and reopened, the Kennedy Park area would provide parking spaces for the nearby public safety building, he said.
If the parking garage can't be renovated, Cherepko said, the city likely will consider demolishing it and creating a surface parking lot, which could provide up to 100 spaces.
City council also by 6-0 vote approved management agreements with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of McKeesport to operate both the former Daily News Building and the former YWCA on Ninth Avenue, now known as The Common Ground Building.
The authority owns both buildings, but both the city administration and the authority decided it would be more efficient and effective for city employees to manage and operate them.
Originally published March 08, 2018.