McKeesport residents voice concerns over safety, blight
Hearing from residents who are concerned about blight and public safety, McKeesport officials hosted their first neighborhood meeting on community issues.
The gathering in the Corpus Christi Social Hall along Market Street on Wednesday evening drew few residents, likely because of chilly temperatures and light rain, but those who participated said they want to be open about their neighborhood needs.
“We are going to see if neighborhood by neighborhood we can solve issues in your community,” said Angelia Christina, the city's fair housing officer. “This is not an event. It's a process. We hope to be back here a year from now and hear that we've made a difference.”
Whether concerns are rooted in neighborhoods not getting equal attention or equal resources not being available, Christina said McKeesport officials want residents across town to have the same opportunity for a good quality of life.
Mayor Michael Cherepko's Committee on Community Issues was formed to replace the city's nonfunctional Human Relations Commission and to hear such concerns directly from residents. Monthly meetings will travel among the city's 12 wards as part of the Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD fair housing director Michael Jansen was in the audience.
With Wednesday's session intended to address concerns in McKeesport's First, Second and Third Wards, Christina explained how a broad spectrum of issues can relate to fair housing.
“We are here to address everything,” Cherepko said. “We are going to focus on solutions. Some will be immediate, and some we will have to work on and get back to you.”
Representatives of the city's administration, council, McKeesport Housing Authority and McKeesport Housing Corp. were on hand to hear what residents shared.
Wanting their neighborhoods to be free of drugs, prostitution and blight, Third Ward residents asked what the city is doing to clean up its streets.
Jenny Lind Street resident Lois Brown said her neighborhood is filled with abandoned structures and rundown homes occupied by senior citizens.
“I've been around for five mayors, and I've been active in this community,” Brown said. “The few people left in that neighborhood need to be treated with respect.”
In the area of Spring Street, residents said, conditions have been horrible over the past year with heavy summer rains and a harsh winter. Brown said neighbors feel the roadway and surrounding property gets worse every month, and they don't know if anything is being done to correct it.
McKeesport Area School District will be developing plans for infrastructure improvements in the area of Spring Street once the Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate School project is complete.
Brown said better communication, such as the conversations that took place Wednesday evening, will help to ease residents' concerns because they will understand that plans are in place to improve their neighborhoods.
Residents asked for increased recreation opportunities, which could include voluntary community service projects that could beautify McKeesport's downtown neighborhoods.
Cherepko asked residents to take part in an April 26 cleanup that's in the works. He said details will be released in coming weeks as plans solidify.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, 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.
- C-SPAN bus brings lessons to McKeesport Area students
- Duquesne teachers, district reach tentative agreement
- McKeesport OKs taking vacant homes via eminent domain
- Port Vue upgrades office equipment
- W. Elizabeth council mulls replacing damaged garage
- Melocchi pleads guilty to leading McKeesport gambling ring
- Waterfront’s East Flyover Ramp is subject of contention