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Duquesne primary ballot to contain familiar faces

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 1:56 a.m.

A two-way race for mayor of Duquesne is one of several with challenges on the Democratic Primary ballot.

Incumbent Mayor Phil Krivacek is running a campaign that champions his experience in that position, but his opponent, Burton Comensky, also is a familiar face in city politics.

The mayoral race is one of nine locally in which voters will have more than one candidate from which to choose.

“I didn't know if I was going to run again,” said Krivacek, who was undecided about another campaign until early this year.

Krivacek said he decided to run because he has connections with agencies committed to fostering economic growth in the region and because there is work that remains unfinished in the city.

“We've accomplished a lot in the past four years,” said Krivacek, who's held the office for 14 years. “I've created a lot of friends being here that long. I know what the city is about and what the city wants to do.”

Growth in the city's main business district is one of the mayor's top priorities. Krivacek said he wants to help make that happen by seeing through to completion the Grant Avenue Project, which would rebuild several blocks of Grant Avenue, a portion of Route 837 near Duquesne Plaza shopping center and possibly some of Library Street.

The mayor announced the GAP last year. The project is funded with a $200,000 grant from the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund and has support from the city's Redevelopment Authority and the Duquesne Business Advisory Corp.

Over the past four years, Krivacek has called for greater economic development in the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania's Duquesne City Center industrial park. He's been a proponent of relaxing the county's zoning restriction in the park that prohibits commercial development, though the park remains an industrial-only zone.

The industrial park is an area in which his challenger also would like to see more economic growth.

Comensky, a member of the Duquesne City school board, said, however, he would like to see Dura-Bond's rapid expansion of pipe storage facilities in the park halted so other businesses could expand there.

“I think there can be some development down there with jobs,” Comensky said. “I'd like to see more trucking and warehousing.”

Comensky said he would try to bring more big business into the city if he were mayor. He also said he would try to encourage growth for existing businesses.

For example, Comensky said he would try to rejuvenate Kennywood's long-stalled plans of building a hotel at the old Kmart plaza.

In that same area, Comensky said he would work to open a blocked access road that makes it hard for residents of the Duquesne Place housing complex to get to the Giant Eagle shopping plaza. Comensky said he would like to see a Sheetz convenience store open a location in the city near the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail.

Eight other Mon-Yough communities have multiple candidates running for mayor on the Democratic Primary ballot.

A four-way race in Clairton exists, with incumbent Mayor Richard Lattanzi, Kenneth Barna, Terry Lee Julian and Richard Ford seeking their party's nomination.

Michelle Vezzani and John D. Powell are vying for a spot on the fall mayoral ballot in Dravosburg.

In Homestead, incumbent Mayor Betty Esper is facing a challenge from Henry A. White.

James Beisler and Martin Kvasnak are squaring off for a spot on the fall mayoral ballot in Lincoln.

In Port Vue, the race is between incumbent Mayor Brien Hranics and Thomas Dineen.

The mayoral contest in Versailles is between incumbent James Fleckenstein and Jared Sheedy.

In West Mifflin, the race is between incumbent Mayor Chris Kelly and challenger Frank Stupar Jr.

In West Elizabeth, Susan Bowers-Pershing and Alberta Magill are running as Democrats.

Communities with uncontested mayoral primary races are:

• East McKeesport, Robert Howard (D)

• Elizabeth, Ann Malady (D), David Householder (R)

• Irwin, Daniel Rose (D)

• Jefferson Hills, Jan Cmar (D)

• Liberty, Jane Weigand (D)

• Munhall, Raymond Bodnar (D)

• North Irwin, James Douglas (R)

• Pleasant Hills, Robert Bootay III (R)

• West Homestead, John Dindak (D)

• West Elizabeth, Ralph Harrison (R)

• West Mifflin, John Koczka (R)

• White Oak, Ina Jean Marton (R)

• Wilmerding, James R. Wright (D)

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or

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