McKeesport Will Demolish 15 Homes
McKeesport’s 7th Ward is getting a face-lift.
Despite a poor economy, McKeesport continues to attract stimulus dollars to improve its neighborhoods.
Using a $100,00 from Allegheny County, Mayor James Brewster said the city will raze another 15 blighted homes along Bailey Avenue, beginning on July 27.
“We’re tearing down a house every four days,” he said.
Mr. Brewster has worked to remove half of McKeesport’s 600 blighted properties since he took office seven years ago, calling them fire and public safety hazards.
Old, boarded-up houses aren’t the only things coming down in the 7th Ward.
Cornell Intermediate School is being demolished to make way for the new Cornell Elementary/Intermediate School being built on the same property as part of McKeesport Area School District’s $46.4 million plan to build two new schools and renovate a third.
The Cornell construction will cost $29 million and help revitalize the neighborhood, according to Superintendent Michael Brinkos.
It is being developed as a green building that will accommodate kindergarten through sixth grade, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and technology, he said.
A public hearing was held Monday in the district’s board room regarding the school’s construction plans.
In addition to removing blight and replacing a 94-year-old school with a new one, City Council also unanimously approved an agreement with McKeesport Neighborhood Initiative to begin $1.4 million of housing development in the Seventh Ward.
“That will complement the new Cornell school,” Mr. Brewster said.
A Weed & Seed initiative will offer help in the 7th Ward, which is a target area along with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th wards.
As a local branch snags funds from Pennsylvania’s recently passed budget, it will work to fulfill the goals of Weed & Seed, a national program that seeks to improve conditions in high-crime neighborhoods.
The city’s Weed & Seed will have $75,000 from the state and $8,330 from the city for an $83,330 budget for the coming year, said Dennis Pittman, city administrator.
The money is earmarked for prevention and intervention programs and pairs with law enforcement efforts.