McKees Rocks and Wilkinsburg Win $6 million in Development Funding


Tracy Evans

Thanks to the Strengthening Communities Partnership program designed by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, community development corporations in two struggling municipalities adjoining Pittsburgh will receive $500,000 each for the next three years.

Tracy Evans, executive director of the Wilkinsburg CDC said the three million it will receive over the next six years would be put to good use.

“Since 2008, we have been working to revitalize the business district along Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg and have made significant progress,” she said. “The additional investment and expertise, which comes as a result of our partnership with the Allegheny Conference, will provide enormous assistance as we move forward with our plan and build on the progress we have already made.”

McKees Rocks CDC Executive Director Taris Varek said the funding will allow them to complete a Main Street plan that will improve the marketability and livability of Lower Chartiers Avenue.

“It will also help us leverage 120 of adjacent industrial property development anchored by the $50 million CSX intermodal facility announced last month,” he said.  “McKees Rocks is a community on the rise that is rich in tradition, history and potential.”

Because of the Conference’s cooperation with the CDC’s applying for state funding, the applications coming from this are show a greater potential to leverage additional funding, which is why the Wilkinsburg and McKees Rocks applications received the highest possible awards in this round of state Neighborhood Partnership Program funding.

“Despite our region’s remarkable transformation over the past 30 years, we still have people and communities who have been left behind,” said Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky. “Through the Strengthening Communities Partnership and participation in the State’s NPP, the private sector can be vital partners in driving economic development in some of our region’s struggling communities.”

The NPP relies on businesses contributing a minimum of $50,000 a year to development projects, which allows for a maximum of $500,000 to be received. Businesses get an 80 percent tax credit in return.

NPP partners in McKees Rocks include Pitt Ohio Express, Dollar Bank and TriState Capital. They join Duquesne Light Company, First Niagara and UPMC Health Plan, which are already participating in the state’s NPP in McKees Rocks.

Wilkinsburg funders include Tristate Capital, Keystone Health Plan West, a Highmark Company and Dollar Bank.


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