Tarentum, PA- A well built but blighted rivertown 20 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh

Tarentum is located about 20 miles up the Allegheny River from Dwtn Pittsburgh. This rivertown developed after the Civil War, rapidly expanding in the late 19th century and reaching 5,400 residents in 1900. The borough peaked at nearly 10K souls in 1940. But like most Western PA river towns it has been on a steady population decline since WWII and now Tarentum has just over 4K residents.

Tarentum was a well built city and hosts a fairly expansive Dwtn with main street like buildings across several streets and several bulky historic mixed-use buildings (including a large abandonded Opera House). There is also a historic main street along Freeport in Western Tarentum that is largely in-tact but very blighted. Nice homes climb the hill north of Dwtn but most housing is historic worker housing. The oldest homes in Tarentum are near the Allegheny River, which also hosts a really nice riverfront park.

There is some hope for a revitalization of Tarentum. There is a small but dedicated group of local businesses downtown, many well built historic commercial buildings ripe for renovation and most of the housing stock is still in tact. It will be interesting to see if the slow drive of revitalization along 28 reaches Tarentum some day. 
Click here to view my Tarentum album on Flickr


* Consistent sidewalks infrastructure, but modern ADA curbs are hit or miss. More within the biz districts.
* Some nice Dwtn Historic architecture. Mix of nice residential buildings (north of Dwtn) and gritty worker housing (West Tarentum).
* Lots of family households and decent economic diversity.
* Culturally Tarentum has a decent set of restaurants and bars, some live music venues,  a handful of cafes, a nice art gallery, a local museum.
* Crime is very low here but plenty of blight and abandonment. 
* Pretty good urban form remains in Dwtn Tarentum and even along Freeport in West Tarentum (although its a very gritty and underutilized biz district).


* No bike infrastructure.
* Transit access is so  but decent in the Dwtn Tarentum.
* Modern in-fill is limited. What does exist is mostly crummy autocentric uses.
* Rentals are very limited.
* For sale housing is inexpensive. Most product sells between 50K and low 100Ks. Some homes selling in the 100Ks but plenty below 50K.
* Tarentum has a very nice riverside park with multiple amenities but nothing else, meaning park space is not convenient to many of its residents.
* Some nice retail amenities downtown including a local pharmacy, family dollar, post office, a florist, a couple banks, jeweler, and several boutiques.
* Walkable schools limited to one public school.

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