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McKeesport Eat'n Park upgrades continue

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 3:46 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Shawn Leber of Murin & Murn Inc. of Glassport backfills to cover underground electrical connections that are part of the new Eat'n Park parking lot on the former Mega Muffler property along Lysle Boulevard in McKeesport.

Crews are developing additional parking spaces around Eat'n Park's downtown McKeesport restaurant to replace those lost in the building of a $15 million flyover ramp.

“This is the final phase of a project that was put into play some years ago,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said on Monday.

The former Martin Alley has been filled in between the restaurant and the former Mega Muffler location and a retaining wall has been built to support new lots behind and adjacent to Eat'n Park's sixth-oldest restaurant.

“The two sites will become one contiguous site,” said Robert Hurley, senior deputy director of Allegheny County's Department of Economic Development. “We also extended the property back a bit (with) a small sliver from CSX so a retaining wall could be built.”

“We are planning the completion of the parking lot in September,” Eat'n Park Hospitality Group spokeswoman Becky McArdle said. “We're also looking to do some exterior work and also some landscaping (but it) depends on the weather.”

Eat'n Park is investing more than $1 million in the parking lot work as well as an expansion and modernization of the restaurant.

“It is nice to see them investing in the future of the city,” Cherepko said.

Roughly the same amount was put in from public sources to help Eat'n Park weather construction of a flyover ramp carrying Coursin Street over the CSX tracks to Industry Drive in the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania's Riverplace Industrial Center of McKeesport.

“There has been a fair amount of drainage that has been put into there, and some grating,” Hurley said. “There has been a leveling of the lot and installation of additional electrical lines. Also, new light piers are being put in.”

Hurley said $700,000 is being spent on the parking lot, including the fill-in of Martin Alley and installation of needed drainage.

Hurley said the Eat'n Park lot will be merged with part of the former Mega Muffler lot. According to the Allegheny County real estate website, RIDC's Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Fund paid James R. and Kathleen J. Allen $275,000 for that property in October 2010.

After the acquisition, the Mega Muffler shop was demolished and two underground tanks were removed.

The various investments have helped preserve approximately 40 jobs at the restaurant.

“You can see a lot more people going there,” Cherepko said.

The Eat'n Park location dates from 1952 but the property has been leased since 1993 by the Homestead-based restaurant chain from WCSR Inc.

Eat'n Park agreed in 2011 to renew for another 10 years its lease of the 27,399-square-foot restaurant and the surrounding lot from WCSR, a family-run company that leases a number of properties to Eat'n Park.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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