Council forms parking authority, debates bullet-proof vest purchases
By Jamie Wiggan
During its April meetings, McKees Rocks council formed a parking authority and hired a new code enforcer, while tabling the more thorny topic of whether to approve bulletproof vest purchases and arms training for code officials.
Following the adoption of new parking requirements for main street construction projects and several recent discussions on parking and traffic concerns, council has formed a parking authority to help the borough manage the issue.
“It would ameliorate some of the parking congestion that’s developed in the first and third wards,” said Councilmember Nick Radoycis when presenting the idea to council on April 12.
Radoycis said the authority could claim various abandoned properties throughout the town and turn them into parking lots that would also generate income for the borough.
The authority could also install metered parking in the business district, he added.
Also weighing into parking discussions, Councilmember Liz Delgado has repeatedly voiced support for enforcing resident-only parking in residential areas where parking is limited.
Council approved the formation of the authority by acclamation April 13.
Photo by Lynne Deliman
Maennerchor Hall makes demolition list
McKees Rocks Council approved a demolition contract on April 12 to tear down the Maennerchor Hall that has stood at the intersections of Frank and Bruce streets for more than 120 years.
The large dance hall took its name from the German “male choir” that was incorporated in 1892 as a music-themed social club.
The club eventually disbanded and the building fell into disrepair.
Council approved a $40,726 contract to Minniefield Demolition Services of West Mifflin for tearing down the building.
The borough recently approved separate demolition contracts for two condemned homes on Church Street and approved an agreement April 13 with a development corporation to rehabilitate up to 10 houses using a $1 million grant secured in December 2020.
Code enforcer hired
Several months after former code enforcement officer Tom McAllister tendered his resignation in November 2020, council approved Zac Cummings, a former Stowe firefighter, to replace him on April 13.
Radoycis, who as chair of finance and administration oversaw the hire, said Cummings was one of two applicants and stood out as the best pick.
“[Cummings] is a family man, lives in Bellevue… he has reputation as a hard worker and enthusiastic,” Radoycis said.
Cummings currently captains the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Company and previously served with Stowe’s volunteer department.
Radoycis, former McKees Rocks fire chief, said he had first-hand experience working alongside Cummings.
Council passed the vote to hire him unanimously.
After consecutive discussions during the caucus and business meetings, council ultimately voted to table a motion approving bullet-proof vest purchases for the borough’s building inspector and code enforcement officer.
Council President Archie Brinza said the proposal was brought to council by the employees following a number of inspections where they were made to feel unsafe.
“They’ve got to knock on doors, they don’t know who’s behind those doors,” he said. “There were a couple of incidents last week and they were pretty scared.”
Others pushed back against the idea.
“I’m having a hard time understanding why they need bulletproof vests when they’re not police,” said Councilmember Sarah Harvey.
Councilmember Chas Maritz mentioned there was also interest in providing arms training for the code officials that, combined with the vests, would cost the borough $4,000 in total.
Faced with differing views and unanswered questions, council voted to revisit the topic down the line.
In other borough news, council approved Bobby Thompson Jr., public works foreman to fill a civil service commission vacancy prompted by the death of former Vice President Kathy Evich.
Maritz, chair of the public safety commission, recommended Thompson over Sto-Rox School Board President Samantha Levitzki-Wright, who also applied for the position.
Levitzki-Wright was approved as one of three alternate commission members. Council is still seeking applications for two more.