Arnold, PA- a distressed Allegheny River town with good urban bones and neighbor to New Kensington

The land on which Arnold currently stands was purchased in 1781 but it wasn’t developed until the late 1800s. Arnold was originally part of the City of New Kensington from 1891 until 1896 until it incorporated as a separate borough. The portion of Arnold btwn the river and Constitution Blvd is the oldest and most distressed portion of the borough. East of Constitution development ranges between 1900-1940s and generally is more stable. Arnold maxed out at around 11K residents in 1940 and has since fallen to just under 5K.

5th Avenue is the historic business district for Arnold but has fallen on pretty hard times with only a handful of businesses still open and a good number of vacant lots and vacant storefronts. I don’t see much hope for a population reversals in Arnold unless the City embraces immigrants. There is a sliver of hope for this as 4% of the population is Hispanic. A more attainable and likely strategy for Arnold is to spend its efforts revitalizing its 5th Avenue core, removing blight and stabilizing the old part of town, and reinvesting in the newer portion of town between Constitution and Freeport to build on existing market strengths. Arnold has decent density and mixed-use fabric giving me some hope that it could become a decent urban environment once again. There are also some good revitalization efforts occurring along the main street of its neighbor, New Kensington.

Click here to view my Arnold album on Flickr


* Good street connectivity.
* Good racial diversity and decent generational.
* Few 1-beds but good # of 2 & 3 beds that range btwn $800-$1,000.
* While public transit is limited dwtn is only a 25-30 minute drive.
* Decent urban density and good urban bones.


* Sidewalk infrastructure is generally good but very few ADA standard curb cuts.
* Poor public transit access.
* No biking infrastructure to speak of.
* Wide spread poverty and not a lot of income diversity in Arnold.
* A couple of schools in the core of Arnold but poorly rate. Decent elementary school on the eastern edge of town.
* Arnold has a pretty high crime rate and a lot of blight to accompany it.
*Lots of depressed hsg in Arnold selling below 60K but some well maintained product too selling in the 100Ks.  2-beds sell btwn 20K-150K, 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 35K-185K.
* Okay park amenities including a decent river park, a playground and the cemetery.
* Limited cultural amenities including a handful of restaurants & bars, and a couple cafes. Better cultural amenities in New Kensington which is within 1 mile.
* Retail amenities are also limited including a couple banks, a furniture store, a couple boutiques, a couple gyms & dessert joints, a post office, and lots of churches.

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