“Working Together For a Better McKeesport”
Respect, Dignity, Hope, and Love
The Mayor’s Corner
(Excerpt from the 2014 Spring Edition, of McKeesport’s In Community Magazine)
www.icmags.com 724 942 0940
Spring is finally here! We all look forward to this time of year when the grass turns green and the flowers start to bloom again after a long, dreary winter. Hopefully everyone got through the “Polar Vortex” this winter without too many problems. It is so nice to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Now it’s time to head out to Renzie Park to appreciate a walk among the flowers in the Rose Garden, and prepare our own yards for not only flowers, but also vegetable gardens which we relish all summer long.
A great way to get out of the house would be to attend a function at the newly renovated Palisades. We’re excited about the upcoming concert by “The Volunteers”, part of the United States Army Field Band, which is quickly approaching on March 16th. This talented group plays everything from rock, to pop, to patriotic, to country music. Be sure to come out and enjoy this free concert. Tickets are required for admittance, but free tickets are available at my office. Just stop by or call to request tickets. (412 675 5020 x605)
Summer will soon be here and school will be out. Children will have more free time to spend outdoors in the playgrounds around the city that were refurbished last year. Speaking of playgrounds, there will soon be a new one in the city – in Highland Grove. The city is working with Kaboom, and we are partnering with Duquesne Light Company for the project. Obtaining a Kaboom playground is an arduous process with a great deal of paperwork and planning that most people don’t even think about. We will need 200 volunteers to come out on build day – April 25th – to help with every aspect of the project. There is something for everyone to do that day. You don’t need to have construction background, but if you do, that’s great! Checking-in volunteers, helping serve food, or actually building the playground are all jobs that need done that day. It’s only a one day build. It will make a big difference in the lives of the children in the city, and I’m looking forward to not only helping improve the city, but also to enriching the lives of the children, who are our future. McKeesport has been designated as a “Playful City USA”, and this new playground will help enforce that title.
Another new thing in the area is the new Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate School, a long-awaited improvement to our school district. The new building sits on Cornell Street at the site of the old Tech High, a/k/a McKeesport Junior High School, a/k/a McKeesport Middle School. Children in grades kindergarten through fifth are attending classes at the new building. The younger children primarily use one half of the building and older ones the other half. They have’s staggered start and dismissal times, but utilize shared areas such as the gymnasium and the cafeteria in the middle of the building at different times.
After two years in office, I’m excited about the projects and strategies that I have accomplished. Infrastructure improvements are a big issue with many residents, and main roads have been resurfaced – Lysle Boulevard, Walnut Street and West Fifth Avenue. These newly paved roads make it easier to attract new businesses to town. Among the new businesses that have opened are Dunkin’ Donuts, Bottom Dollar, Speedway and L&L Christian Book Store. I’m proud to have these quality businesses, along with others, serving our residents.
We have also instituted many community-based groups that are looking toward our future, and enhancing everyday life in our fair city. These groups include the Mayor’s Select Committee on Crime and Violence, The McKeesport Message Community – a Subcommittee of the SCCV and Youth CAST. These groups focus on the positive, and work to make McKeesport a better place to work and live. All of this has been accomplished while keeping the city afloat during the rebuilding of our economic infrastructure. Running the city may be a challenge at times, but it is one that I look forward to each and every day.
Reprint from In Community Magazine Winter 2013 Edition
Fall is behind us winter will soon begin. Hopefully Mother Nature will once again be kind to us and we will have another mild winter. From a city standpoint, a mild winter is what we hope for. The more that we can save on anti-skid materials and overtime for Public Works employees, the more we can hopefully towards improvements in our fair city.
I trust that all enjoyed the Halloween Festivities put on by the Recreation Commission. They teamed up with local groups to make these events bigger and better, and the result was fantastic! On October 25, the city hosted its first teen event – a zombie walk/mad scientist mash – up. We were lucky enough to have talented actors and dancers from McKeesport Little Theater work with us to make this a fantastic event for the young adults. McKeesport Area High School helped with publicizing the event to their students, helped with props, and supplied actors from the theater arts classes. A great time was had by all in attendance, and the Recreation Commission looks forward to planning the next teen event. The younger crowd was treated to the traditional Halloween parade and party the following day, and the city teamed up with Carnegie Library of McKeesport this year. The library brought their tradition of decorating pumpkins to the party and all children in attendance took home a pumpkin that they decorated themselves!
Speaking of the Recreation Commission, don’t forget the Festival of Trees. This annual event will be taking place December fifth through December 9, 2013 in Renziehausen Park. The park will be decorated for the holidays, and you can view the many trees decorated by local businesses, clubs and organizations. Santa will be there to hear little ones requests, and you can’t take a sleigh hay ride from Jacob Woll Pavilion to the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center, and also to the clubhouse of the McKeesport Garden Club. My family and I always look forward to not only viewing the trees, the children’s activities and musical acts, but also that great ride provided by Public Works employees. Don’t forget the wonderful food sold by the culinary arts students from the high school, and desserts sold by the Semper Fidelis Club!
By now you probably have seen McKeesport Message signs not only in yards, in front of places of worship, and it over area roadways, but now large signs are popping up all over town. These signs are being sponsored by local businesses and community leaders. The goal is to spread the word of Respect, Dignity, Hope, and Love to citizens and visitors alike. The McKeesport Message Committee, a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Select Committee on Crime and Violence, hopes that everyone has taken note of these signs and is practicing these values in their everyday lives. It is especially important in this season of Hope, the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza seasons. It doesn’t take much just a smile or nod as you pass by a neighbor or even a stranger. Maybe you can do something for a neighbor like sweep leaves or snow, pick up litter around your house, or even volunteer just a few hours of your time. My daughter and I are planning on volunteering at a local church for a Thanksgiving dinner. It will be something that I know that she will remember for years to come. My wife and I work hard at instilling these values in our children, and hope that everyone else in the city takes note of these keywords to live by.
On the last note, recycle, recycle, recycle! It will not only help the environment, but will also save both you in the city money. It’s so easy to recycle, and you even save money since you won’t be buying as many garbage bags. In riding around the city, I hope to see more and more recycling bins out for pickup. If you don’t have a bin, use one of your garbage cans in mark it for recycling pick-up. So many items that are currently being put in your garbage, can be recycled – newspaper, cardboard, any colored glass, and plastics such as milk containers and detergent bottles. So little effort is required, but there is so much to gain. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and may God bless.