CEC’s Redevelopment Plans Will Help Revitalize Former Steel Town

August 17, 2021

With millions of dollars in state investments, the City of Aliquippa in Western Pennsylvania is actively working to create jobs and grow industries in an effort to revitalize the community, and CEC is instrumental in turning those goals into realities.

Greg Jones of CEC Pittsburgh, a principal in our civil engineering practice with extensive experience in urban and regional planning, recently spoke alongside Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker about the current and future support CEC is providing for development in and around Aliquippa, a once-booming steel town.

Greg spoke about how Aliquippa is geographically well-positioned for new investments because of its proximity to major workforce areas. Among them is Shell’s Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex (cracker plant) in Potter Township a few miles northwest of Aliquippa, which will employ about 600 permanent workers when completed. The others are Pittsburgh International Airport, a few miles south of Aliquippa, and the Aliquippa Industrial Park, which figures to see an uptick in operations as other petrochemicals businesses crop up as a result of the cracker plant.


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Those factors make Aliquippa an ideal area to focus on affordable workforce housing, as well as business and commercial development, which has moved to the outskirts of the City as businesses and industries relocated to be closer to main thoroughfares. A new off-ramp project coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will help drive traffic off of nearby Route 51 and into the heart of Aliquippa, where CEC is focused on planning for robust growth in the city’s business district.

“Development is mostly pushed to the other end of town or outside of it, closer to the highway. Our goal is to use this investment and bring (development) back into town,” Greg says. “With the inclusion of the off-ramp project, which will allow us to get more traffic down here, we can move on to a real mixed-use vision for the former heart of the commercial area.”

Greg Jones
Greg Jones of CEC Pittsburgh speaks with the press during a visit by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to see how state investments in the region will encourage job creation and business development In Aliquippa. Source: Commonwealth Media Services

Pennsylvania has invested more than $11 million to help revitalize Aliquippa. In part, the investments have helped:

  • Remove blighted properties and prepare land for future business development in the city’s East End Development, a 4 ½-acre site slated for housing, retail, commercial, or manufacturing space;
  • Make pedestrian and vehicular safety improvements to the City’s main corridor on Fifth Avenue
  • Grant low-interest loan financing to perform environmental site assessment and remediation work at former industrial sites through the Industrial Sites Reuse Program
Source: Commonwealth Media Services

The state’s funding, Greg stressed, has been instrumental in allowing sites to be investigated for potential environmental impacts of the former businesses (i.e., gas stations and dry cleaners) that occupied certain parcels. That then offers certainty to developers about whether a site is ready for development, or what might need to be done to prepare a site and how much it will cost. The investments will also provide needed access to services for residents who rely on public transportation.

“A big part of this (redevelopment) is that there is lack of services for folks who live on this side. The number of storefronts have dwindled, and everything requires a car ride. If you’re a senior dependent on transit, the transit isn’t as strong in this area. So being able to bring back things that are providing access to food, to jobs, is so important for this area,” Greg says.


Aliquippa Development Plans


“Aggregating land is one of the biggest challenges older municipalities have. And the fact that you’re doing this is a real model for urban redevelopment everywhere. It’s going to be a really big deal for everybody in the near vicinity. What you’re doing is putting the bones to make sure you have everything you need to deal with the inundation of development you’re going to see,” Gov. Wolf said.

Also at the presentation were:

Tom Wolf, Dwan Walker
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker speak at an event touting redevelopment plans in the City. Source: Commonwealth Media Services

 


Media coverage

Click the links below to learn more about this event and the plans for revitalizing Aliquippa:


 

About CEC Pittsburgh

CEC Pittsburgh has more than 300 professionals in air qualitycivil engineeringecological sciencesenvironmental engineering and sciencesmanufacturing infrastructure servicessurvey/geospatialwaste management, and water resources. Additional client services include master planningcultural resource management, and geographic information systems and data management. CEC Pittsburgh is No. 5 on the Pittsburgh Business Times‘ list of the “Largest Pittsburgh-area Engineering Firms” and No. 1 on the list of the “Largest Pittsburgh-area Environmental Firms.

About the Author


CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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