Just what does the McKees Rocks CDC do for the Sto-Rox region?

Sonja Reis | MRCDC

Although the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) was formed in 2003 to revitalize the McKees Rocks and Stowe areas, many residents have no idea what this small nonprofit is designed to do.  

By nature, community development corporations are nonprofit, community-based organizations focused on revitalizing low-income communities that have experienced a significant decline. They are incorporated to provide programs, offer services, and engage in activities that promote and support community development. When these groups are successful, they play a critical role in rebuilding community wealth.

16467315_1237339959688551_492035747_nYet, there is a lot of misconception as to the heart and focus of MRCDC says Taris Vrcek, executive director.

While MRCDC does “focus on brick and mortar development, we are just as concerned with the development of our residents,” Vrcek says.

In addition to playing a lead role in economic development, MRCDC plays a strategic role in human development by collaborating and building capacity with partners like Focus on Renewal, Sto-Rox School District, Sto-Rox Family Health Center and the Borough of McKees Rocks.

By listening to feedback from these partners and our residents, three major collaborations have been created which focus on youth, health/wellness and mental health.

“We also strive to provide the places in this community to make people want to stay here and move here,” says Vrcek. “We want our residents to reach prosperity, even if they find themselves today in generational poverty. That’s an overall state of wellness – economics, health and education.”mbtaylorquote

“MRCDC is guided by a strategic plan focusing on commercial development, neighborhood stabilization, and community engagement as vehicles to achieve positive, sustainable change in the Sto-Rox area,” says Anthony T. Skender Jr., MRCDC board president. Skender is a former school superintendent for both Sto-Rox and Chartiers Valley school districts.

Resident Services Coordinator Maribeth Taylor calls the MRCDC the driving force to help improve life both commercially and residentially.

“I get to see the ideas, the best of the ideas and I get to see it to completion and I get to meet a lot of good people in between,” she says. “I just love what I do. I get to help make it a little bit better for the next generation.”