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Working Together For A Better McKeesport
What a fun and fruitful summer we’ve had in the City of McKeesport! With seasonal recreation coming to a close and children heading back to school, we can look back on the past few months with a smile. In Renziehausen Park, this summer brought the grand opening of the Renzie Spray Ground, the eighth annual Village for Kids, and the 57th annual International Village. We hosted two great Movies in the Park, an instructional basketball clinic at our newly renovated courts, and our annual youth fishing derby. The city held its first triathlon, drawing athletes from across the region to experience Renziehausen Park and our local trail system. I couldn’t be prouder of what volunteers from the McKeesport Trail Commission and other organizations have done to make a name for this city. Those of us who live here have always know McKeesport to be a great place for recreation. Our park, our trails and our marina make McKeesport a destination that is truly enjoyable for everyone. Encouraging more guests to make the most of their time in McKeesport, the McKeesport Trail Commission introduced a new hostel this summer. They converted an old concession stand into a small facility with overnight accommodations for travelers on the Great Allegheny Passage. I was pleased to be a part of the grand opening for this new facility, and I encourage cyclists to stop in and rest along our beautiful riverfront. McKeesporters of today joined past generations for a weekend of fun in that same area for the annual McKeesport Past and Present reunion. With a banquet at the Palisades and family fun day at Moran Field, everyone made the most of their time together. As always the Past and Present committee put on a great program that was enjoyable for all who attended. There are so many volunteers working hard to put on the programs McKeesporters have grown to love. In this edition of In McKeesport Area, you will read about four individuals who have gone above and beyond to make things happen in their community. As always, our Living the Message awardees embrace McKeesport’s message of Respect, Dignity, Hope, and Love. Helene Phelps is continuing the Black Berets with younger generations; Janet Kulis is working with the elderly residents of our local Kane hospital; journalist and historian Jason Togyer is promoting the potential of the former Penn McKee hotel; and Arlen Harper is starting a new gospel jubilee. People like these awardees make our community a unique place with lots to offer in terms of recreation, productivity, and spirituality. If reading about these individuals makes you think of someone who is deserving of a Living the Message Award, please contact my office at 412-675-5020, ext. 605. We always are accepting nominations for future quarters. As we look back on all this summer had to offer, I want to wish everyone a safe and joyful transition into the school year. This fall, we will continue to invite families out for more fun, as we are planning an instructional tennis clinic, a Halloween parade, and many more activities.
Spring is a time for new beginnings, and as I settle into the first year of my second term as Mayor, I am excited to share my renewed enthusiasm for community growth with the people of McKeesport.
I am always happy to discuss positive strides being made by my administration, the city’s many volunteer groups, and residents who have embraced my motto of “Working Together for a Better McKeesport.”
In this spring edition of the In McKeesport Area magazine, readers will learn about individuals who are doing their part to make McKeesport a better place to live, recreational programming guaranteed to please area residents of all ages, and city initiatives that could boost our revenue.
As the McKeesport Message Committee, a sub-group of the Mayor’s Select Committee on Crime and Violence, continues to promote its message of “Respect, Dignity, Hope, and Love,” we are finding individuals all over town to represent these four words in the professional world and their personal lives. The spring 2016 “Living the Message” awardees are Bobbie Billsborrow, Respect; Chris Preston, Dignity; George Smith, Hope; and Masoud Sayles, Love.
The City of McKeesport is home to a wealth of opportunities for people of all ages to enhance their daily lives and even their futures. Young people have a new program in their backyard with the Community Empowerment Association bringing its Workforce Development and Training Initiative to McKeesport. This program, already successful in Pittsburgh, will now serve the Mon Valley from our city.
In addition to new educational opportunities, this magazine will share the City of McKeesport’s impressive calendar of spring and summer activities. With recreation director Jim Brown hard at work in planning new softball and basketball leagues, the city is ready for a boost in athletic offerings in Renziehausen Park. The calendar also includes an exciting event for the city’s playful youth – a Grand Opening for our Renzie Spray Ground. On June 13th this state-of-the-art aquatic play area will be unveiled.
The city’s many recreational programs are made possible by dedicated groups of volunteers who take time to plan and promote them. Without these great people, McKeesport wouldn’t have the resources to put on great events such as International Village, the McKeesport Rib Fest and the McKeesport Lions Club’s Summer Concert Series. The best way to guarantee these programs remain a part of the McKeesport community for years to come is by attending them with our friends and families.
We also had an energetic group of volunteers brave the cold on Martin Luther King Day to participate in community service around Renziehausen Park. Penn State University students and staff from various Western Pennsylvania campuses cleared garbage, tree limbs and other debris from grassy areas. This was a great service to our Public Works Department, whose crews saved hours of labor in their effort to get Renzie ready for spring.
Not only am I thankful for the countless volunteers who dedicate their time to make McKeesport a better place to live and work, but I must thank the city’s staff for doing their part. On a daily basis, we strive to increase our revenue through delinquent tax collection and helping people remain current on their bills. We also are increasing the city’s collection of small fees, including parking. Parking fees and the ticketing process are outlined in this edition.
Last but not least, I must offer a special ‘thank you’ to a generous resident who chose to give back to the community he’s been a part of for his entire life. Julius Bakos Sr. donated funds for much needed equipment in the city’s police, re and public works departments. Not only did Mr. Bakos make this donation out of love for his hometown, but he did it out of love for his late son Julius Bakos Jr.
I encourage everyone in the McKeesport community to read about the great things that are happening in our city. I wish each of you a safe and happy spring, and I hope to see you all in Renzie Park this summer.