In November 2016, an Urban Land Institute advisory services panel traveled to McKees Rocks bringing with it national experts in the real estate field who studied land use planning and development projects, programs, and policies here.

The week-long visit by these experts resulted in a 57-page report entitled “Rebuilding the Working Communities of McKees Rocks and Esplen.” The report provides an outsider’s view of our town and 16 key recommendations or strategies regarding land use, reinvestment, social equity and poverty.

“Transforming a community is not easy and this provides an exciting, yet realistic roadmap for what is possible, but at the same time challenges us as a community to realize this vision,” says Taris Vrcek, executive director, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation.

One of the many suggestions provided in the report includes adding former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy as a mentor to MRCDC. Murphy, a senior resident fellow with ULI, has extensive experience in urban revitalization including what drives investment and what ensures long-lasting commitment.

A $100,000 grant through the Allegheny Conference enabled MRCDC to bring ULI and its expert panelists from around the country to provide guidance on the development of key areas of lower McKees Rocks and the City’s Esplen neighborhood.

View the report: Rebuilding the Working Communities of McKees Rocks and Esplen