By Jamie Wiggan
McKees Rocks council voted to release $1.9 million in PennDOT funds marked for a streetscape project led by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC).
Several McKees Rocks officials had previously expressed caution about releasing the funds due to lingering animosity between the borough and the MRCDC.
However, presenting the motion to the council Oct. 13, Solicitor Megan Turnbull reassured them the project could not progress without the borough’s continued cooperation and approval.
“This is one where there can’t be a runaway train without us sitting in the front seat next to them,” she said.
Design plans project thorough overhauls of the existing car and pedestrian infrastructure, replacing the aging concrete with tree-lined sidewalks and revamped crosswalks.
The renovations will also bring the town’s central business corridor into compliance with ADA regulations.
Prior to the PennDOT grant, funding totaling $1.1 million has also been secured through ALCOSAN’s GROW program and the PA Commonwealth Finance Authority.
President Paul Krisby said he came to support the project after recently learning more about it, but he insisted council should continue to play an active role in steering its progress.
“Without our participation, this goes nowhere,” he said. Krisby also said he would want to get input from business owners.
Although initially formed in 2003 to partner with the borough, the MRCDC has fallen out of favor with some McKees Rocks officials over clashing views on a number of recent development projects.
Tension peaked in early 2019, when State Sen. Wayne Fontana penned a scathing letter urging cooperation from both parties.
Coupled with recent moves to lower the borough’s entertainment tax — lending relief to the MRCDC-initiated Roxian Theatre — this latest move suggests a softening of hostilities.