McKeesport church donates land for redevelopment
In hope of reviving the grounds of a former church and school, McKeesport's Corpus Christi parish is donating downtown land to the city's redevelopment authority for expansion of the Marina at McKees Point.
Five parcels that were once home to Holy Trinity and St. Martin de Porres parishes are in the process of being transferred to the redevelopment authority with the blessing of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The lots, located along Seventh Avenue between Market Street and Mulberry Alley, are part of a plan to move the marina's boat storage area and make way for improvements near the Palisades.
“This particular area is a great area for potential development,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “You're a block from the marina. You're a block from the Palisades. For them to gain access to five lots through the redevelopment authority, it could be a tremendous benefit for development.”
The lots have been available for several years.
When the diocese merged three local parishes — St. Mary Czestochowa, St. Pius V and St. Martin de Porres — to form Corpus Christi in 2010, the new, larger entity became responsible for the grounds, rectories and schools that were part of the smaller churches.
St. Martin de Porres was formed in the 1980s, when McKeesport's population declined after the steel industry's collapse, as the result of merging Holy Trinity, St. Peter and Sacred Heart churches.
Holy Trinity became the parish's official home in 2007, when the others were closed. In 2011, that church and school were razed, and Corpus Christi's parish council and financial committee became responsible for repurposing the land.
Late in the summer of 2013, the Rev. Stephen Kresak, who led the parish at that time, entered talks with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of McKeesport through parishioner and finance committee member Harry Walsh, the city's elected controller.
Kresak said the parish had received several offers from private investors that were considering plans that complemented happenings at the Marina and McKees Point as well as the Palisades event center.
“We wouldn't donate it to a private investor, because we couldn't guarantee that their endeavor would benefit the community,” Kresak said. “There was a good possibility, even at that time, of the parish councils donating this property for the benefit of the city at large.”
Once the parish and city agreed on their best course of action, Corpus Christi officials forwarded their request to Pittsburgh.
“We sent it to the diocese and prayed for the best,” Kresak recalled.
Walsh reported to the city's administration and council last week that the donation is nearly official, save the title transfers for which the redevelopment authority will foot the bill.
Without Kresak's continued support of the project, even with his recent move to serve parishes in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, it would not have come to fruition, officials said. He thanked the parish's new pastor, the Rev. Michael J. Maranowski, for being supportive of the plan.
“I think the intent is to vacate (Mulberry) and eventually build a ramp from where they store the boats now into the second floor of the Palisades,” Walsh said.
City councilman Dan Carr, who chairs the McKees Point Commission, confirmed that there are plans for expansion and opportunities for development.
“What we have there is a very nice facility,” Cherepko said. “We're going to continue to enhance that, to market that and to offer events. The marina and the Palisades are true destination points for McKeesporters and people from outside our city.”
Stating that the Catholic church and the city of McKeesport always have maintained a good relationship, he said the gesture of a valuable donation seemed natural.
“The people who made that land possible all lived, worked and worshiped in McKeesport,” Kresak said. “This was our way of giving back. It's something that can be used by everyone for the benefit of the entire community.”
Corpus Christi owns two additional vacant lots in the area of Seventh Avenue. While they are not for sale at this time, city officials said they could have future interest in the land.
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.
- Judge gives Elizabeth Township Authority 3 weeks to decide lawyer fees
- Traffic accident, weather problems cause Mon-Yough roads to close
- Surprise jump in students forces hiring at Elizabeth Forward schools
- South Allegheny directors approve purchase of 120 Chromebooks
- Glassport council moves forward with police station; councilman resigns
- Munhall council president says layoffs possible
- U.S. Trade commission delays drilling pipe dump sanctions vote
- West Mifflin loses KaBOOM! playground bid
- Elizabeth Forward district’s school support staff OKs 3-year contract
- Lincoln amends its seismic testing laws
- West Mifflin may demolish fire-damaged home