Letters to the Editor

July 10, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Letters to the Editor

Portion of a December 1932 airplane navigation chart. (Library of Congress collection)

Curious about airport near Tinplate Hil

As a member of the “sport” aviation community, I was having a discussion with like-minded individuals about an aerial picture of the Duquesne bridge area of McKeesport that I saw years ago. 

In the picture was a small airport (a grass field) along the shore of the Monongahela River just downstream from the bridge on the McKeesport side.

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Some Angry Over Boys & Girls Club Changes

July 10, 2020 |

By Nick Zurawsky | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

Participants in the Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club stand outside the now-closed Third Street location. Programming is moving to the nearby Duquesne Education Center. (Submitted photo via change.org)

Some residents are upset over a new partnership between the Duquesne City School District and the Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club that would see programs moving to the Duquesne Education Center.

An online petition to save the club has attracted more than 5,000 signatures.

The petition claims the move will negatively impact out-of-school programming for Duquesne children. It also alleges the change will increase costs for families and reduce the number of children participating in activities provided by the Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club.

“If the 3rd Street DWM Boys & Girls Club closes, there will not be free in-person programming this summer,” according to the petition. “The partnership with the Duquesne City School will only be offering summer online programming for Duquesne students who are in kindergarten through second grade.”

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Kennywood Passholders May Visit Friday

July 09, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Kennywood and Sandcastle will open to season passholders this weekend.

A spokesman announced Wednesday the opening of the two local attractions, which was delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Season passholders may visit the parks Friday (July 10) while the general public may begin visiting on Monday (July 13). Reservations are required and the capacity of each park is being strictly limited.

“We believe strongly in the plan developed by our teams at Kennywood and Sandcastle to best protect the health and safety of all those visiting and working at our parks,” the spokesman said. “We look forward to providing the clean, safe and fun experience we have been proud to offer since 1898.”

For details on changes at Kennywood this year, read our June 30 story, “Kennywood, Other Attractions Reopening.”


City Shifts Housing Rehab Funds

July 07, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

ACTION-Housing constructed this new home in 2019 at the corner of Bailie and Cornell avenues. The agency is partnering with the city to build another, similar home nearby. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials have shifted the city’s housing rehabilitation funds to two different agencies in hopes of breathing new life into projects that had stagnated.

City council this month voted to transfer more than $628,000 in federal Home Investment Partnerships Program grant money from the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to Allegheny County in exchange for the same amount of money from the county’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The city’s vision for its residential neighborhoods is about “more than just demolition,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said. McKeesport officials also want to see new housing constructed and existing homes preserved, he said.

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Kennywood Delays Reopening

July 07, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Kennywood has delayed its planned 2020 opening again, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County.

In an announcement posted on the park’s website, Kennywood said that both the West Mifflin attraction and its sister water park, Sandcastle in West Homestead, would postpone their planned July 11 re-openings.

The parks were scheduled to welcome season pass holders beginning July 6 and the general public a few days later.

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Kennywood, Other Attractions Reopening

June 30, 2020 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

UPDATE: Kennywood announced July 2 that they would not open on July 11 due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County. “Our top priority at Kennywood and Sandcastle is the health and safety of our guests and team members, and the community at large,” the park announced.

Kennywood employees standing six feet apart demonstrate social distancing. Guests will need to make a reservation to visit the park, which opens July 11. Masks also will be required for most patrons age 3 and older, except on water rides. (Submitted photo courtesy Kennywood)

Just in time for the start of summer — and the arrival of hot and sunny weather in Western Pennsylvania — local attractions are welcoming visitors after many were closed, or delayed their opening days, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, which usually welcomes guests in early May, will open to the public beginning on July 11 — but at the 121-year-old amusement park and elsewhere, things will look and be quite different this year.

For one thing, advance registration will be required, said Nick Paradise, director of public relations at Kennywood. Guests who want to visit Kennywood must RSVP at the park’s website, kennywood.com. The park also suggests having alternate dates in mind, in case the preferred date is already booked to capacity.

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July 4 Fireworks Still Planned in City

June 29, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Fireworks illuminate Gordon Street in McKeesport on July 4, 2019. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Although other communities have scrapped their Independence Day fireworks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will go on in McKeesport.

However, there will be no city-sponsored activities on the ground in Renziehausen Park, and officials are suggesting people view the fireworks from the safety of their own homes or backyards.

If necessary, Mayor Michael Cherepko said, residents can drive to Renzie but park and stay in their cars.

Because the display can be safely viewed from a distance, Cherepko said, the city “decided all along that we were not going to cancel fireworks.”

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Construction Projects Will Affect Traffic Locally

June 29, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Construction projects in Dravosburg and West Mifflin this week will impact local traffic, including a detour on Route 885 and the complete closure of Route 837 for two days.

Work will include final paving on Route 885 (Lebanon Road) Wednesday through Friday, weather-permitting, as well as a closure of Route 837 so that crews can reconstruct the Boswell Oil railroad crossing.

Steve Cowan, district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said paving on Route 885 between Mifflin Road and Noble Drive (near Skyview Volunteer Fire Department) will require a southbound detour from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, and from 6 p.m. Thursday to 8 a.m. Friday.

Northbound traffic will not be affected, Cowan said.

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As COVID-19 Cases Set Another Record,
New Restrictions in Place

June 28, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Update: At 7:51 p.m., county officials announced that on-premises liquor consumption must end immediately, but enforcement will not begin until 5 p.m. Tuesday. This story also has been updated with remarks from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

As COVID-19 cases set another new record high in Allegheny County, officials have announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants and are recommending all travelers self-quarantine for two weeks.

At a press conference Sunday, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said “these are severe steps,” but added, “we’re going in the wrong direction.”

Overnight, 96 new cases were confirmed in Allegheny County overnight, breaking the record of 90 cases set Saturday. Those are the highest numbers since the county first began tracking COVID-19 in March.

Last week, county officials said that through contact tracing, they determined that many new COVID-19 patients had been spending time in bars and restaurants.

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International Village Canceled Due to Pandemic

June 27, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Denise L. Ritter photo for Tube City Almanac)

International Village — McKeesport’s signature summer event and one of the largest ethnic festivals in Western Pennsylvania — has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city had been hoping to operate a scaled-down version of the three-day event in Renziehausen Park — offering takeout food only, with no seating and no live entertainment — but Mayor Michael Cherepko said Saturday that vendors surveyed by the village committee were reluctant to participate.

“The vast majority of them weren’t interested in having the village this year in any way, shape or form,” Cherepko said. “They’re concerned about COVID-19 and concerned about having volunteers at their booths.”

It’s the first time in International Village’s 61-year history that the event has been canceled.

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