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Dollar General proposed to replace departing KFC in McKeesport

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

McKeesport council is considering a site plan for a new Dollar General at the current Kentucky Fried Chicken location along Lysle Boulevard.

Timothy Weinman, president of Greensburg-based Penntex Ventures LLC, presented the plan to officials at Tuesday's workshop meeting. Penntex is the developer of Dollar General.

Morgan Foods Inc., the franchisee of the KFC along Lysle Boulevard, is closing the store no later than Dec. 31, Weinman said.

“Rather than have another vacant storefront on such a prominent corner of the highway in the city, we will come in and we will build a new retail store with masonry and glass,” Weinman said.

A KFC manager referred questions to the store's market manager, who could not be reached for comment by presstime.

The city planning commission and zoning hearing board approved the Penntex plan earlier this year.

The proposed Dollar General would be 9,100 square feet with at least 3,100 grocery items. Approximately 10-12 jobs are projected to be created.

Plans include demolishing the KFC, installing 32 parking spaces, replacing a deteriorating 12-foot retaining wall and replacing the sidewalks along the Coursin Street and Lysle Boulevard sides of the site, along with additional landscaping.

“We are going to make a significant improvement to the city of McKeesport,” Weinman said. “We're going to be spending well over $1 million at this location ... It will be a gorgeous store ... Dollar General is very excited to be here, and I can't wait to get started.”

A resolution approving the site plan is on Wednesday's agenda.

Weinman said construction could begin after Thanksgiving and be completed sometime in April or May. He said the company has a 15-year signed lease with an optional 15 years.

Council president Darryl Segina said the city is looking for more businesses to encourage foot traffic in the downtown area.

Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery thanked Weinman for bringing Dollar General to the city.

Mayor Michael Cherepko said the administration was concerned with the closing of KFC.

“It would have been nice to keep KFC open and also find Dollar General somewhere to go,” Cherepko said. “The zoning (hearing) board did their due diligence by making sure that KFC was going. What I believe happened was the KFC franchise wanted all their stores to renovate to where they would all have a standard look to them. It was going to cost this store $400,000 to $500,000 to do that, and they just decided it was something they weren't able to do ... We are excited, rather, to have Dollar General come in and beautify that corner.”

Councilors are considering a resolution establishing tobacco-free zones in city parks and playgrounds.

Council is expected to enter into an agreement for the purchase of 16 police car computers at a cost of $49,208.60.

Cherepko said the purchase is being made with drug seizure money and will not come out of the general fund.

Sept. 21 through Nov. 10 will be designated as RADical Days in the city.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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