TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

McKeesport to upgrade, expand public works fleet

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

McKeesport Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 3:36 a.m.
 

McKeesport will borrow nearly $500,000 to upgrade and expand its public works fleet.

During Wednesday's meeting, council authorized the city's administration to finalize a $488,584.37 loan through First Commonwealth Bank to purchase two 10-ton trucks, a 1-ton truck and an excavator.

“The city, by no means, is in a great financial position,” Mayor Michael Cherepko explained during the previous night's caucus. “We know where our hardships are and the financially distressed condition we are in. ... To come up with $400,000 or $500,000 all at once is not an option at this time.”

The mayor said public works crews are driving around near-antiques to keep city streets clear in the winter, and the maintenance and funds required to keep those vehicles operational often are overlooked as a budgetary concern.

On Wednesday, the mayor commended public works staff for doing a tremendous job with what they have. After an overnight snowstorm that dropped roughly 6 inches on the city, he said roads were cleared quickly and efficiently.

“A lot of snow came in a very short period,” Cherepko said. “I was out throughout the night with them ... and our streets were in very nice shape.”

While the trucks used for snow removal and road maintenance are necessary improvements, Cherepko said he is most excited for the excavator purchase.

City staff will be trained to demolish many of the 400 or more dilapidated homes in town.

“It's hard to attract new residents and new businesses when you have so much blight,” he said. “If you are paying $8,000 to tear down a house ... you do the math. That money only goes so far.”

So that the city's liability insurance is unaffected, city workers only will take on projects that aren't adjacent to occupied structures.

“Well over half of our homes that are vacant throughout the city are not sitting right next to an occupied structure,” Cherepko said. “These will be the ones the city focuses on to eliminate blight on our end while we continue to secure funding from other sources in order to tackle the blighted property issue.”

Council approved the following:

• Changing the names of Marshall Drive Extension to Lou Washowich Way and Water Street to Joe Bendel Way.

• Entering an agreement with W.G. Land Co. for $41,860 of improvements to the Jimmy Long baseball field in Renziehausen Park. Allegheny Regional Asset District funds will be used for the bulk of the project.

• Amending the mission statement of the Downtown McKeesport Business District Authority to “promote and advocate for existing businesses and attract new businesses” to the city.

• Recognizing April as Fair Housing Month.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read McKeesport

  1. Homestead Cemetery board files for bankruptcy
  2. Local reminisce about Glassport pool
  3. Mon Yough school districts, nonprofits getting by for now with no state budget
  4. Mifflin Road project is on schedule, within budget
  5. More work to begin on Homestead-Duquesne Road
  6. Steel Valley extends superintendent’s contract
  7. 3 charged in carjack attempt in Duquesne
  8. Victim still hospitalized; McKeesport bar shooting hearing postponed
  9. Legos, computers draw students to Elizabeth Forward tech camp
  10. GTECH Strategies volunteers to beautify McKeesport
  11. Charges held against 3 in McKeesport business robbery