New School Board Members Take Seats

December 11, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Magisterial District Judge Eugene F. Riazzi swore in newly elected McKeesport Area school directors Ivan Hampton, Thomas Filotei, James Poston and David Donato at last week's meeting.

The board unanimously voted for School Director Joe Lopretto to serve again as school board president for 2018 and for Mary Jane Keller to serve as vice president.

"I will try to do the best I can, as usual," Lopretto said.

(Mary Shelly photo, special to Tube City Almanac)


Snowmaking Gets Underway at Boyce Park Ski Slopes

December 08, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

When Mother Nature can't oblige, Allegheny County park employees will.

Workers at Boyce Park last night began making artificial snow for the ski slopes, Allegheny County spokesman Kevin Evanto said.

Snowmaking will continue through 10 a.m. Saturday and also will occur Saturday and Sunday nights.

The ski slopes are tentatively scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16, weather and conditions permitting, and snowtubing will be permitted beginning Dec. 22.

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PennDOT Posts Roadwork in Elizabeth Twp., NV Twp.

December 08, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Work will be performed on two area roadways on Monday, weather permitting, the state Department of Transportation has announced.

In North Versailles Twp., crews will be restricting Foster Road to one lane of alternating traffic between Crooked Run Road and Diane Drive so that drainage pipes can be replaced, a district spokesperson for PennDOT said.

The work will be done from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and is scheduled to wrap up Jan. 31.

Crews from Allison Park Contractors Inc. in West Deer Twp. are performing the work, the PennDOT spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, in Elizabeth Twp., Route 48 will be restricted to one lane of alternating traffic near Swiss Alpine Village on Monday and Tuesday as workers conduct drilling tests.

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Disabled Parking Available at McKeesport Festival of Trees; Event Opens Today

December 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac file photo)

Drivers who need handicapped accessible parking for McKeesport's 32nd annual Festival of Trees are encouraged to use the spaces in the circle around Jacob Woll Pavilion, a spokeswoman said.

Parking for other motorists is available in the lots near the Renzie Senior Center and the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion.

Sleigh-hay rides will take visitors from Jacob Woll Pavilion to the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and the Garden Club of McKeesport, the spokeswoman said. The wagon runs approximately every 15 minutes.

Arboretum Drive in Renziehausen Park is closed between Sycamore and Tulip drives so that the road can be used for the sleigh-hay rides.

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Listen: Mayor's 2017 Budget and 'State of the City' Message

December 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko delivered his 2017 budget message and 'State of the City' address to city council at Wednesday's meeting.

You can and read it, or listen to the message here:

McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko - Budget Message - 12-06-2017

Filetype: MP3 - Size: 21.87MB - Duration: 23:53 m (128 kbps 44100 Hz)


City's 2018 Budget Holds Line on Taxes, Fees

December 07, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Above: Click to download McKeesport's 2018 budget. PDF reader required.)

There are few surprises in McKeesport's 2018 budget, which holds the line on taxes while increasing spending on capital expenses.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council passed the budget on a 7-0 vote. Property taxes remain at 6.26 mills on buildings and 18.5 mills on land.

One mill represents $1 in taxes paid for every $1,000 for which a property is assessed. Land is typically assessed at a much lower value than buildings.

While calculating a so-called blended millage can be tricky, a house assessed at $48,000 by Allegheny County would pay approximately $300 in city property taxes in 2017.

Council President Rich Dellapenna Jr. said Wednesday night he's "very pleased" with the $23.1 million spending plan. "I give the mayor, the administration and (Finance Director) Tasha Phelps a lot of credit for all of the hard work they've put into it," he said.

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Mayor Announces Ambitious 2018 Plans for Paving, Blight Removal

December 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport officials will embark on an ambitious plan to demolish 150 to 200 homes and pave long-neglected streets, Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday night.

Addressing city council before it voted on the 2018 budget, Cherepko said the "McKeesport Rising" project is intended to leverage the proceeds of the $159 million sale of the city's sewerage authority to Pennsylvania-American Water Co.

That sale of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport is expected to close before the end of the year, the mayor said, and should net taxpayers more than $40 million.

"I think it's only appropriate to manage that money as carefully as possible to last as long as possible," Cherepko said, but added that next year's budget also includes $2.5 million earmarked toward capital projects, including blight removal and street paving.

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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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