Enterprise zone administrator shares optimism with Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce members
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
For two area enterprise zones, it is a time of transition.
The current seven-year enterprise zone designations for the Steel Valley area and for the cities of McKeesport, Duquesne and Clairton will enter their final fiscal year on June 30.
Meanwhile, the enterprise zone designation for Braddock, North Braddock, Rankin and Swissvale will expire June 30, 2015.
The administrator for all of those zones, Charles Starrett, is optimistic about their future.
“We will have some discussions with the state,” Starrett told Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce members at a Thursday breakfast meeting in West Mifflin.
He believes the local enterprise zones can continue their work even if state funding is halted.
Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget holds the line from 2012-13 on funding for Keystone Communities programs, including enterprise zones, at $10.8 million.
Starrett said Keystone Communities brought together “a whole bunch of programs” including enterprise zones. He said the combined list once received $40-50 million in state funding.
Revolving loan funds have had their impact in all area enterprise zones.
Starrett said the Steel Valley revolving loan fund has generated 25 business loans leveraging $40 million in private investment, while state tax credits have leveraged another $60 million in private investment.
Starrett told the breakfast gathering about the upcoming consolidation of four revolving loan funds in the tri-city area into one.
It will take in the enterprise zone based at the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne, as well as the McKeesport Development Corp., Duquesne Business Advisory Corp., and the soon-to-be dissolved Clairton Reinvestment Corp.
Clairton officials have continued their efforts to bring a supermarket into that city, turning attention back to the Paramount Development proposal for a Bottom Dollar Food store there.
Starrett said his enterprise zone was prepared to provide financing for the Save-A-Lot planned then abandoned at the old Blair Heights property near Route 837.
However, he said, “Bottom Dollar Food does not seek public financing or this nonprofit kind of financing we are doing.”
Still, he said, Paramount needs help from the city and its redevelopment authority with acquiring vacant tax delinquent properties.
Bob Haramia of Harvil Enterprises commented that having a supermarket in downtown Clairton seemed to be a better idea than the proposal for Blair Heights.
Starrett hailed Bottom Dollar Food's efforts in Homestead.
“They worked hard, through a lot of obstacles, to make it happen (along E. Seventh Avenue) in Homestead,” Starrett said.
Also in Homestead, Rodriguez Associates is pursuing a $12 million commercial and residential project involving vacant lots and buildings along Amity Street from E. Eighth to E. Twelfth avenues.
That project has moved slowly since it was announced late in 2011 but Starrett said the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency “has a lot of respect for what Rodriguez does,” pointing to that firm's other developments, such as the senior residences it has built near Carnegie Library across the borough line in Munhall.
He said Allegheny County remains in strong support of the Rodriguez plan. Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County owns some of the buildings eyed by Rodriguez.
Starrett took questions on a number of projects in the enterprise zone covering Braddock, North Braddock, Rankin and Swissvale. That area includes the former sites of U.S. Steel's Carrie Furnace operation and UPMC Braddock, both now under redevelopment.
That part of the discussion also focused on the future of the Kenmawr Avenue Bridge, linking Kenmawr Avenue and S. Braddock Avenue and rolling over Norfolk Southern railroad tracks between the Rankin Bridge and the Parkway East.
Port Authority used to roll buses over that bridge, but recently changed four routes, including the 59 Mon Valley and P7 McKeesport Flyer, because of a reduced weight limit to 6 tons.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Serra Catholic High School friary to house foreign students
- 5 Operation Pork Chop defendants sentenced to 5 years probation
- Markosek supports McCord for governor
- Officials in North Versailles fed up with littering
- McKeesport student to celebrate Jackie Robinson’s legacy
- East Allegheny counselors receive national recognition
- West Mifflin public works lauded for efforts
- Steel Valley Bicycle Tour will raise funds for trail maintenance
- Crews fill Duquesne sinkhole
- West Mifflin mayor seeks to use county airport ‘to its fullest potential’
- South Allegheny enters agreement for website advertising