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Two urban walking routes get council go-ahead

Two new walkways will be coming to McKees Rocks, one around Chartiers Avenue and the other will loop through the "Bottoms" neighborhood (pictured above).  

By Jamie Wiggan

Staff Writer

-McKees Rocks-

Two urban walkways soon arriving in McKees Rocks are intended to promote health and community.

“We’re very excited about being able to support free community access to exercise,” said Rebecca King, a representative of the Sto-Rox Community Health Center and a community liaison for the project. “It’s good for individual health and for the community health.”

The trails — one looping around Chartiers Avenue and another winding through portions of the historic “Bottoms” neighborhood — were mapped out by residents with input and direction from the American Heart Association (AHA).

During two meetings held in early 2020 before the onset of the pandemic, residents sifted through their favorite landmarks, views and architecture, as they discussed what to include in the trails.

Participants were roughly divided over support for a trail spanning the town’s main business corridor or one touring the church steeples and other historic architecture in the flat, open Bottoms neighborhood.

Resolving the issue, Lauren Rauscher, AHA’s community impact director, secured funding for both routes.

“Given the community feedback that there’s a preference for two, we can fund both,” she said during a presentation to council April 12.

Council approved the proposals during its monthly business meeting the following evening.

The proposals included recommendations for crosswalk and sidewalk upgrades to meet safety and disability requirements. Council indicated it would engage in further discussion before committing funding to specific upgrade projects. Following Council’s resolution, new signage will be posted in the coming months to mark out the route and highlight points of interest along the way.

King said she has been assembling community walking groups to use the trails and hopes to incorporate them into planned festivities for National Health Center Week in August.

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