Zelienople a charming Western PA town with lots of history

I only evaluated the urban portion of Zelienople I include areas north of McKim/Beaver and excluded the industrial portions of the city along the Connoquenessing Creek.

This quaint historic town was named after its founder’s (Baron Dettmar Basse) eldest daughter. He arrived to modern day Zelienople in 1802.  The village remained small with only 387 people in 1870 but development picked up a bit with the construction of a commuter line in 1879. The town never really saw a great period of decline. In fact, in the 1970s & 1980s it grew due to the construction of the Passavant retirement community. Just over 3,600 souls now reside here. With the construction of 1-79 Zelienople has become more of a bedroom community for upper middle class families enjoying the town’s walkable charm and high quality public education. Main street runs along Perry’s Highway filled with lots of local specially stores, the Strand historic Theater and much more. The town’s housing stock also includes many attractive historic homes.

Areas that Zelienople could improve from an urban perspective include: the addition of dedicated bike lanes, better racial diversity, a walkable supermarket, and more modern in-fill to built upon the few surface parking lots. 
Click here to view my Zelienople album on my Flickr page

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Solid street grid and connectivity.
* Poverty is low here with a good mix of middle-upper middle class residents.
* 50% of households are family ones but a pretty high medium age due to a large retirement community here.
* Stable housing market with a nice mix of for-sale homes between 100K-350K. A handful of high end homes above 350K.
* Most streets have sidewalks and about half have ADA current ramps. Very good streetscape along Perry Highway.
* Zelienople Community Park holds some excellent recreational amenities (pool, playground, sport facilities, open greenspace, and trails). There is also cemetery and underutilized town square here.
* Cultural amenities include a great array of restaurants, bars, cafes, & brewpubs along with the Strand theater, Zelienople Historic Museum and an art gallery.
* Retail amenities include a good array of boutiques and creative stores, a hardware and drug store, library, post office, banks, and other general retail stores.
* Limited blight and low crime rate here.
* Walkable schools include a Catholic and public grade school. Public school system is highly rated. Middle and Highschool located outside the Borough’s limits.
* Nice historic architecture.
* Good tree canopy throughout although they could add more street trees to their main street. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* While it’s a 30-35 minute drive to Downtown Pittsburgh Zelienople’s only public transit is a couple commuter buses a day to Downtown.
* No bike infrastructure.
* Very Poor racial diversity. Whites make up 97% of the population.
* Rental housing options are limited.
* No Supermarket or hospital within the Zelienople boundaries.
* Limited modern in-fill but some good stuff in the historic main street. 

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