Festival of Trees Opens Thursday at Renzie Park

December 06, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

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

The ornaments are being hung and the lights are being tested at Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park as preparations come down to the wire for McKeesport's 32nd annual Festival of Trees.

A celebration of the holidays --- and the creativity of local groups and churches --- the festival opens at 12 noon Thursday and continues through Monday, with more than 80 Christmas trees on display, mostly featuring handmade decorations honoring a variety of themes.

Admission is $2 for adults. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with one canned good for a needy family.

Local Girl Scout troops will sing carols and hymns at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday when McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and other city officials hold a tree-lighting ceremony near the intersection of Sycamore and Arboretum drives in the park, a spokesperson said. Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive on a city fire truck.

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Trail Town Head: Communities Must Embrace Bike Visitors to Gain Full Benefit

December 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Above: Elected officials led by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald enter McKeesport during a tour of the Great Allegheny Passage in September. Tube City Almanac file photo)

A biking-hiking trail like the Great Allegheny Passage is an economic development opportunity for the communities it passes through --- but only if those towns capitalize on it.

And, said David Kahley, president and CEO of the Greensburg-based Progress Fund, McKeesport hasn't exploited the Great Allegheny Passage to its fullest potential.

The Progress Fund runs the Trail Town Program, which over the past 10 years has invested in 65 small businesses employing 250 people along the "GAP" trail between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md.

"McKeesport has been problematic for us," Kahley said during an interview for Tube City Community Media's radio show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," which airs Sundays on WEDO (810), WZUM (1550) and Internet station WMCK.FM, and is also available as a free podcast.

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Contractor Wraps Up Work on New Gergely Park Pier

December 05, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

A contractor has wrapped up the replacement of a fishing pier along the Youghiogheny River at Gergely Park, and next year, city officials intend to move ahead with reconstruction of the adjoining amphitheater.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said Monday that the pier, located along the Great Allegheny Passage hiking-biking trail near the foot of Ninth Avenue, was recently completed by Lutterman Excavating of Salem Twp., Westmoreland County.

In June, city council awarded Lutterman a $173,200 contract to demolish and remove the old pier and construct the new one.

“Everything we do to enhance our fishing pier, the amphitheater, Gergely Park and the Marina at McKees Point will improve our city as a destination,” Cherepko said in an email.

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Port Authority Still Seeking Comments on BRT Proposal

December 04, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Port Authority of Allegheny County is continuing to accept comments on its proposal to create a bus rapid transit, or BRT, loop between the downtown and Oakland sections of the city of Pittsburgh.

The project would speed access through Pittsburgh's congested Fifth and Forbes avenues corridor, with buses on dedicated bus lanes running every three to five minutes during peak hours.

But the plan would result in serious changes to the 61 A, B and C bus routes that serve Homestead, Braddock, Duquesne and McKeesport, as well as to the 71-series buses to Wilkinsburg and Point Breeze. The 61C route, which currently connects McKeesport with downtown Pittsburgh via Homestead and Squirrel Hill, would terminate in Oakland, and riders would transfer to the BRT loop for the rest of their journey.

Transit agency spokesman Adam Brandolph says comments are being accepted via email at brt@portauthority.org or by going to the Port Authority's website.

(Architect's rendering of bus rapid transit lanes courtesy Port Authority of Allegheny County.)


Phase 1 of Transit Center Makeover Complete; Agency Looks Ahead

December 04, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

With Phase 1 of a makeover of the McKeesport Transportation Center complete, officials at Port Authority of Allegheny County are making plans and raising money to begin Phase 2.

The first phase included demolition of the dilapidated and mostly unused combination bus and train station, addition of 36 new park-and-ride spaces, and new sidewalks, curbs and bus lanes, says Adam Brandolph, spokesman for the agency. It also included new comfort stations --- restrooms --- for transit operators, he says.

"Phase 2 is going to focus on site improvements and is supposed to be much more expansive than the first phase, but we just don't right now have specific details, or a cost estimate," Brandolph says.

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Four Hurt as Fire Guts Grandview Home

November 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Editor's Note: This story will be updated with additional details, when available. Corrected at 5 p.m. Updated, 11 p.m. with comments from the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office.

Four people, including a McKeesport police officer, were hurt Thursday morning when fire swept through a house in the 2700 block of Grandview Avenue.

None of the injuries are believed to be serious, said McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik, but the house is "likely a total loss." The family that lives there --- two adults and two children --- is presently homeless, according to rescue workers.

Allegheny County Chief Fire Marshal Matt Brown said the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Neighbors called 9-1-1 at 6:46 a.m. to report the blaze in a two-story wood frame house at the corner of Grandview and York streets.

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#TBT: Daily News Building, Circa 1953

November 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

With the Daily News Building making some news of its own this month, we thought we'd reach into the Tube City Online archives to show you what the building originally looked like.

As constructed in the 1930s, the Daily News building was about half of its present size. Visible in this photo is the original three-story portion of the building constructed at the corner of Lysle Boulevard (originally called Jerome Avenue) and Walnut Street.

Based on the cars, this photo was probably taken about 1953 or 1954.

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Veteran's Exhibit at Heritage Center is a Community Effort

November 29, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

It's a permanent exhibit that's constantly changing.

"To Honor Those Who Served," unveiled this month at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, is a video tribute to veterans from throughout the Mon-Yough area that also includes stories and thank-you messages from local schoolchildren.

More than 70 veterans' names and photos are currently featured, says Robyn Tedesco, executive director of the museum and historical society located in Renziehausen Park, and she's hopeful that new ones will be added every month. Already, another 20 are ready to be included in the next update, she says.

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City Takes Ownership of Former Daily News Building

November 28, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The plywood is coming off of the windows as soon as possible, McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko promises.

After that, city officials will begin the job of cleaning up the former headquarters of the McKeesport Daily News and readying it for tenants. "Then we start lining up what we want to do," Cherepko said Tuesday. "We don't want to close any windows of opportunity."

Ownership of the building was transferred Tuesday from the parent company of the Tribune-Review to the city's Redevelopment Authority. The possible sale of the building by Trib Total Media to the city was first reported Nov. 1.

The building was donated, said state Sen. Jim Brewster, who has been negotiating with the Tribune-Review for months.

"I think it's wonderful on their part," Brewster said Tuesday night. "We're excited, and very thankful to Trib Total Media and (the company's CEO) Jennifer Bertetto for giving this back to the city."

A formal ribbon-cutting has not yet been scheduled.

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One Teen Dead, Another Wounded in Turtle Creek Shooting

November 28, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A 16-year-old from Turtle Creek died Monday night following a shooting in that borough, Allegheny County police said, and a 13-year-old was wounded.

Homicide detectives said the motive for the shooting is "not exceptionally clear" and did not release the identity of any suspect or suspects.

County police said the shooting happened just before 11 p.m. in the 400 block of George Street. When Turtle Creek police arrived, they found the first victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

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