Share This Page

New Kensington may get block party

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

New Kensington's annual Independence Day block party won't occur this year, but a city business owner and some volunteers are hoping to offer a replacement in August.

Troy Owen, who runs the Liberty Tax Service branch in New Kensington, approached council on Tuesday about hosting an “Old School Block Party” at JFK Playground beside city hall on Aug. 17.

Owen and fellow organizer Barbara “Anne” Ross said they began planning the event before they learned the Fourth of July party and fireworks were canceled. They noted it could help fill the void this summer.

They tentatively are planning a basketball tournament, a talent show, art contest and other events at the 11th Street playground from noon to 3 p.m. If it rains, they'll bump the event back to Aug. 18.

Owen and Ross said they've run into many people who are nostalgic for the city's atmosphere from the 1980s and ‘90s, which prompted their “old school” theme.

Councilman Doug Aftanas said he thought it was a great idea and noted they were the second group to express an interest in hosting events at the playground this summer. A YMCA-sponsored basketball league also was approved.

Owen said he isn't certain how many people will attend, but he'd love to pull in the same size of crowd that the Independence Day block party usually garnered.

He said they would like to block off 11th Street from Industrial Boulevard to Third Avenue in front of the playground to provide room for vendors. They plan to rent portable restrooms and have volunteers to direct traffic and clean up afterward.

The Clemons family also will have a fundraising booth for Maiyanna Clemons-McCarthy, the 3-year-old girl who is battling a rare type of brain-stem tumor.

Council approved the event as long as Owen presents proof of liability insurance coverage for the event.

Next year's fireworks

Meanwhile, Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba and Kim McAfoose, executive director of the city's redevelopment authority, volunteered to lead the fundraising efforts to bring back fireworks in 2014.

Aftanas said illness prevented his two most active volunteers on the recreation commission — Kathy Males and Robin Laird — from organizing the event this year.

Aftanas said the commission, which also organizes the city's Christmas parade and related activities, has basically been defunct for several months. He encouraged volunteers to come forward to ensure such events continue.

Councilman John Regoli praised the efforts the women have made in the past, especially in raising the estimated $13,000 for the fireworks display.

He said city officials couldn't justify spending that amount of tax money on what he called a “luxury.”

Regoli noted officials have made an effort to maintain and create events for the city, including the inaugural winter festival last fall and the mayor's annual Christmas dinner on light-up night.

“Don't lose sight of the things this mayor has done for the community,” he said.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.