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New Kensington resident complains about corner store

Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 12:46 a.m.

A New Kensington resident asked city officials for help in minimizing drug-related problems he believes stem from patrons of the Buyers Depot corner store.

Phillip Swartzlander, who lives near the Leishman Avenue convenience store, said his home has been robbed and he's concerned about break-ins and reports of gunshots he believes originate with people who hang around the store.

Swartzlander said he's welcomed the reprieve in loitering and littering since the store has been closed in recent weeks. He asked if the city can prevent the store from reopening.

Code Enforcement Officer Anthony Bruni said the business is remodeling and is expected to reopen.

Police Chief Tom Klawinski said store owner Richard Ross has been very cooperative any time city officials have approached him with problems.

Klawinski said last summer Ross brought in new employees, which Klawinski said made a positive impact in crime reports from that neighborhood.

“We've really had no problems up there in the last year,” Klawinski said.

A phone listing for Ross could not be located Tuesday night and the listed number for the store had been disconnected.

Mayor Tom Guzzo and Councilman John Regoli said they've increased police patrols and code enforcement efforts in recent weeks throughout the city to crack down on crime.

Swartzlander said he's noticed a larger police presence and thanked officials for their efforts.

In other business

City Clerk Dennis Scarpiniti said a request to block off Washington Alley near Union Cemetery is under legal review.

Ed Kappler, who lives in the 1800 block of Rebecca Street that borders the alley, told council he had a petition signed by 22 residents asking for the alley to be closed as a public through-way.

But Scarpiniti said he's received requests from a similar number of residents to keep the alley open.

The street straddles the Arnold and New Kensington border behind Real Life Church. Arnold officials also are reviewing the requests.

Scarpiniti said city Solicitor Tony Vigilante will be reviewing the situation to determine ownership and whether the alley was ever formally established as a public street.

Scarpiniti said the situation arose after Rebecca Street resident Paul Lowes complained vehicles using the alley are damaging his house and property.

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

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