Glassport deemed open to 'economic development'
Though the community open house didn't have an official theme, the message in Glassport on Thursday was clear: the borough is open for economic development.
Andrew Schwartz from Environmental Planning & Design LLC told community leaders and potential business and property developers and others attending the event that several areas in the borough could be developed or repurposed for residential, commercial and industrial uses.
Schwartz's company recently conducted, by way of a $30,000 state grant, a study of the borough's economic potential. His presentation included information about potential growth locations around town and suggested uses for various properties.
The study analyzed growth potential in the borough's main business district along Monongahela Avenue. It looked at the potential for development related to the Clairton Connector bike trail and at new uses for properties which included the old Glassport Elementary School and the former community swimming pool.
Schwartz said the borough has qualities that are desirable to developers and businesses including a relatively stable population base and a high traffic business district.
Though it can't be considered an affluent community with an average household income that's just under $40,000, Schwartz said residents are willing to spend their money on shopping, dining and consumer goods.
There are not a lot of shopping opportunities in the business district, Schwartz noted, but added that suggests the borough has adapted to market trends that show most people shop at big box retailers or online.
Along Monongahela Avenue, he noted, there is only a 25 percent vacancy rate for storefronts, which compares favorably to other neighboring communities that have vacancy rates of around 40 percent.
Schwartz gave the borough's housing stock a positive mark, as well.
“There aren't really blighted areas in the community,” he said.
Regarding the bike trail — which is being rerouted from a strip along Allegheny Avenue to Monongahela Avenue — Schwartz said the borough needs to start thinking of itself as a trail town.
“The trail (in Glassport) needs some tender love and care and a personality,” Schwartz said. “You have an amenity that you really want to take advantage of.”
Discussed as well were uses for the Patterson property above the borough and spurring industrial development along a flat parcel of land along Allegheny Avenue between Third and Fifth streets.
John D'Angelo of Glassport Development Corp. said, “This could be the turnaround for the borough we've been looking for.” The development corporation worked with Schwartz's firm on the study and sponsored the open house.
D'Angelo said the event was one of a number of recommendations to come out of the study report that his group is committed to acting on.
One of the development ideas suggested by Environmental Planning & Design is converting the old Glassport school into 50 apartments and building up to 16 townhouses on the surrounding campus.
Cassandra Collinge of the Allegheny County Economic Development housing division asked who such housing might benefit.
“I'm trying to get a sense of who lives (in Glassport) and who they're trying to attract,” she said. Schwartz said senior citizens probably would be the intended tenants for such a development.
Brent Lazar of a.m. Rodriguez Associates took notes during a tour of the properties that took place after the opening discussion. During a stop at the school, Lazar said his company has converted a number of old schools for residential use including the soon to open Lofts of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh.
Lazar said he was interested in seeing the school and generally what Glassport has to offer, noting it was his first visit to the community.
Schwartz noted the old swimming pool site could support the development of 28 townhouses or 10 single family units.
D'Angelo said he hopes to bring more outside developers into the borough in the near future. Next week, he said, he has a tour of the Patterson property scheduled for a Cleveland developer.
Dom Palmieri of Irwin said he attended the open house because he is thinking about starting a business that recycles plastic into synthetic crude oil. Palmieri said he is looking at industrial parts of the borough.
John Palyo of Twin Rivers Council of Governments told prospective developers that funding is available through the Tri-COG Collaborative for developers interested in having environmental assessments performed on brownfield sites.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or email@example.com.
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.
- Vigil at site of homicide remembers slain McKeesport plumber
- McKeesport heritage center event recognizes famous black Mon Valley musicians
- Public comment policy varies in Mon Valley school districts
- Duquesne Elementary School students join the ranks of junior constables
- Police arrest Munhall woman in stabbing of boyfriend
- Hearing delay granted in fatal McKeesport arson case
- Clairton City School District seeks savings in food service management
- White Oak seeks funds to stabilize road
- Steel Valley to post teacher, administrator salaries online
- McKeesport Area students share views during Black History Month panel talk
- Munhall resident pleads guilty but mentally ill for killing his mother