Updated: Aug 5
McKees Rocks business owner and resident Robin Spratt, stands beside her bicycle planter in the front yard of her Wright Street home.
By Elizabeth Perry
Robin Spratt’s Wright Street yard has been chosen as one of the best yards in Sto-Rox by the McKees Rocks Women’s Alliance.
The McKees Rocks Women’s Alliance was formed in late 2021 and is a non-political organization with a mission to create a better environment for the borough.
Women’s Alliance founder, MarySue Noble Flick, and her husband Mayor David Flick noticed Spratt watering her yard and stopped by.
“She wanted to pick a yard once a month,” Spratt said and Flick asked if hers could be the inaugural yard.
Noble Flick said she had put a call out for nominations, but had not received a response, so she and her husband decided to allow the Mayor to choose the first yard.
Mayor Flick said that instead of beating people up with code enforcement as the previous administration had, he wanted to give out citations of merit, to let people know they were inspiring those around them.
Flick said seeing what people can do to make their houses welcoming feeds his soul and he wanted to let them know how grateful the borough was to people who make their yards shine.
That idea evolved into the yard of the month initiative. He remembered Spratt’s yard from his time canvassing in the lead-up to the election.
“She has a sign that says come sit down, and I was damned near tempted,” Mayor Flick said.
Spratt’s yard has always been a stand out to both of them, Noble Flick said and when they saw it from their car, they just knew.
“It’s just so inviting and sweet. We don’t have to search anymore. I like her style, I like her mix with the floral and garden accents,” Noble Flick said.
Spratt owns The Snack Shop on Chartiers Avenue, where she’s worked for 35 years and it is obvious from the first moment in stepping into her yard that she’s a person with an ingrained sense of hospitality. On the bottom of her porch is a sign that says, “Welcome to the Porch.” The Gazette 2.0 reporter who stopped by was immediately offered a bottle of water, a huge boon on the 92-degree day.
Spratt’s yard is as charming and quirky as the woman who designed it; there is a repurposed bicycle that’s become a whimsical flower holder. She bought it from “Mr. Wilson,” the scrap reseller, who put the unique piece aside just for her.
When Halloween rolls around, Spratt puts a full-sized skeleton on the bike.
“I know my neighbors think I’m crazy, but I enjoy my yard,” Spratt said.
Spratt has a sculptured pot decorated with little feet and a grinning face, and a flag with a pitbull that looks a lot like her caramel-colored dog, Gemma, but her favorite feature in the yard right now are her flower boxes. Initially, she didn’t think they’d be nice, but her uncle talked her into getting them. Now she decorates them for every season.
Spratt has lived in her home for 21 years and has taken joy in working on her yard since she bought the place.
“To me, it’s not work, it’s therapy,” Spratt said.
Noble Flick hopes the program takes off, and she is working with local business partners to possibly provide prizes for the winners. Nominees can be located in either Stowe or McKees Rocks.
To submit a nominee, firstname.lastname@example.org.