McKees Rock, PA another Historically Significant Pittsburgh Steeltown

In the past, the McKees Rocks was a major manufacturing City  known for its extensive iron and steel production. It also was an Indian settlement with one of the largest Indian mounds in the state, built by the Adena and Hopewell peoples. The town incorporated In 1892 and quickly grew to 18,000 people in 1930. But like many Pennsylvania steel towns, McKees Rock has around 1/3 of its peak population now with just under 6,000 souls.

Still some quality urban form here, an ode to its historic significance. Efforts have been underway for over a decade to revitalize the Downtown area led by the McKees Rocks CDC centered on Chartiers Avenue leading to the renovation of historic theater, Chartiers Trust Company, and several other historic buildings. Residential areas is a mixed bag of stability and blight. Hopefully positive momentum can continue in rebuilding the downtown core and a well throughout revitalization/triage plan can stabilize its residential areas.
Click here to review the full McKees Rock Album on my Flick Page

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Convenient access to Downtown with decent public transit service.
* Good economic diversity.
* High number of family households (50%) and decent age diversity.
* Parks aren’t spectacular but a nice dispersal of small and mediums sized ones throughout McKees Rocks.
* Cultural amenities consist of several restaurants, bars, and cafes. Nice cafe has taken over the old Chartiers Trust Company. There was also a recent renovation of a historic theater Roxian Live (now a live music venue) and the Father Ryan Arts Center that supports a children’s theater, dance studios, cafe, and art gallery.
* Very nice historic architecture in the downtown.
* Good tree canopy throughout McKees Rocks due to the hillsides but limited street trees Dwtn. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* No biking infrastructure.
* Pretty high poverty town with a quarter of McKeesport residents living under the poverty line.
* For sale housing is generally in expensive with about 80% of the housing stocks selling below 100K. Some attractive brought selling in the 100Ks. Not a ton of rental product, and what exists is very cheap.
* Neighborhood retail is concentrated in the traditional Dwtn on Chartiers Ave, which is starting to see new life and new stores and the strip mall (Shops at Chartiers Crossing) down the street. The strip mall hosts a Ace Hardware, Aldi’s Some other retail sprinkled throughout McKees Rocks on Broadway Ave, Island Ave, and further down Chartiers but not much.
* High Crime rate about 3 times the US average. Plenty of blight throughout as well.
* No schools within the McKees Rocks borough limits, some decent schools in neighboring Stowe Township which is walkable to some McKees Rock residents.
* Really not modern in-fill other than strip malls.

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