Sto-Rox is an old and historic community. As it ages it is imperative that we look ahead to ensure positive changes for our neighborhoods. Some areas in our beloved community have admittedly become neglected and in need of attention, making renovation or new  innovation  welcome and timely.

McKees Rocks CDC (MRCDC) is considering the future for one such space at a gateway area of the community at the end of West Carson Street. This area is one of the most prominent entrances to town as vehicles come out Route 51 from the City of Pittsburgh.

MRCDC is focused on the space bounded by the CSX and Pittsburgh & Ohio Central railroad tracks to the north and east, and Chartiers Creek and the Lower Chartiers Downtown area to the south and west. Roughly 90% of this space is occupied by a 1960s era strip mall, The Shoppes at Chartiers, and the Hays Manor public housing development, owned and operated by the Allegheny County Housing Authority.

Here, families in need are concentrated into an isolated space with outdated housing. Unfortunately, violence and illicit activities are not uncommon in this space. The shopping plaza has experienced similar issues and no longer represents a retail setting that matches the trends of today.

By taking a holistic approach, MRCDC’s plan will reinvigorate the neighborhood by integrating commercial and residential aspects into a mixed-use space that will be mutually beneficial. Our goal envisions residents that have better access to quality community services and amenities; improved social networks will lead to more diversity and safer environments and better opportunities for advancement; market and political demand will call for continuous improvement of goods and services.

These plans, as they progress, will be strongly focused on the residents currently living in the area, and working to keep residents there as the neighborhood improves.

Both the area and plan are tentatively called New Town. Conversations have begun with Trinity Development and the Allegheny County Housing Authority that will progress into partnerships. We’ve also been actively listening to the public and the communities affected by possible future development and will make sure that they are a part of the process in the future.

MRCDC approached Carnegie Mellon University’s Master’s degree program in Urban Design to create a number of early concepts for New Town. These conceptual exercises, developed by students over a semester, culminated in the creation of six thought-provoking ideas for what this space could look like. They all incorporate the idea that this neighborhood will be inclusive of all incomes of families and will work to increase the quality of life and the number of opportunities for all that live there. They also present a number of innovative focuses on important issues like transportation, energy generation and sustainability and flood and storm-water controls.

These concepts are meant to inspire ideas amongst residents and stakeholders on the potential for New Town and allow for feedback on specific concepts as this process moves forward.

View part 1 of the concepts. [.pdf]

View part 2 of the concepts. [.pdf]

Please let us know what you think by contacting Jeb Feldman at jfeldman@mckeesrocks.com or by calling 412-331-9900.