McKeesport neighborhood ?Blueprint? guide on its way

| Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

McKeesport is moving forward, and members of the city's Blueprint Community initiative are taking note.

The McKeesport Blueprint Community initiative -- formed to redevelop the city's Seventh Ward as a safe, secure and attractive community -- is publishing its second "Moving Forward" neighborhood guide to further its mission.

The initiative was established in 2005 through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and its partners to provide decent, affordable housing and support services while striving for economic balance in the host community for its residential developments.

The "Moving Forward" booklet serves as a guide to local government, human services and businesses. It is headed for print this week and is expected to be released in March.

During a recent council session, McKeesport Blueprint Community board member and McKeesport Neighborhood Initiative director Lani Temple said the guide will be offered to real estate agents and local business owners in an effort to promote what McKeesport has to offer.

It details McKeesport's history, sharing photos of fond memories. It lists current government and education resources along with health care opportunities, social services and churches. It also highlights prominent McKeesport athletes.

"I am extremely impressed with this publication," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said. "Not only is this going to be used as an informational resource, but it will be a wonderful promotional tool to market the city."

The Blueprint Communities initiative was designed to revitalize older communities through enthusiastic local leadership, strategic economic plans and worthwhile public programming. It addresses a host community's needs while providing a foundation for improvement.

Temple said the booklet is aptly named.

"We truly want to show that McKeesport is moving forward," Temple said. "Even in times that are economically challenging throughout the entire region, state and country, things are happening in McKeesport."

Sherry Ward, a McKeesport Blueprint Community board member and chairperson of crime and safety initiatives for the McKeesport Healthier Communities PartnerSHIP, said community-building efforts can be two-fold in the city.

Ward said McKeesport's residential neighborhoods can be touted as an affordable Pittsburgh suburb, and redevelopment of the city's business districts will stimulate the local economy.

"We're so close to Pittsburgh," Ward said. "But we have things that you can't find in small bedroom communities. We have infrastructure and amenities -- a hospital, library, theater, etc."

Cherepko thanked members of the McKeesport Blueprint Community board for their "exhaustive efforts" in completing the publication.

McKeesport Blueprint Community board members are Temple, Ward, James Haughey of McKeesport Housing Corp., Les Petras of McKeesport Housing Corp., John Bertoty of BlueRoof Technologies, Debbie Molinari of McKeesport Development Corp., Lu Ethel Nesbit of Steel Valley OIC, Greg Bailie of Steel Valley OIC, McKeesport council president Darryl Segina, McKeesport community development administrator Bethany Budd Bauer, Laura Swiss of PNC Bank, Jennifer Teeter of Huntington Bank, Diane Raible of McKeesport Housing Authority and Tracy Janov of Prudential Realty.

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