Improvements are on the way for Castle Shannon, and residents are invited to share their ideas.
A meeting will be held by the Castle Shannon Revitalization Corp. at 7 p.m. Monday at the Ice Castle, 990 Castle Shannon Blvd.
“The purpose of the meeting is to get comment from the business community regarding our proposal,” said Thomas Hartswick, borough manager.
The proposal includes applying for a Keystone Communities designation through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The designation would give the borough priority when seeking DCED grants.
Working with the borough on its revitalization efforts is Barry Cassidy, a Canonsburg native who has a planning and development business based in Chester County.
“We’re looking to reposition Castle Shannon and reach the marketplace,” said Mr. Cassidy. “I’m pretty optimistic that we can make a significant impact with the Keystone Communities designation.”
One component of the Keystone Communities program offers 25 percent Enterprise Zone tax credits to private companies investing in rehabilitating, expanding or improving buildings or land located within designated areas.
Castle Shannon is seeking a DCED grant for a local facade improvement program. Mr. Hartswick said about a dozen business owners have expressed interest in participating.
At its Dec. 8 meeting, borough council is expected to approve the application for the grant.
Council has supported improvement efforts for several years, at one point reviving the Castle Shannon Revitalization Corp., a nonprofit group originally formed in 1986 to administer grants received by the borough.
The focus of the revitalization is the business district along Castle Shannon and Mt. Lebanon boulevards, also including some side streets. Among the goals, new owners are sought for vacant properties in the area.
“One of the things that I like about the town is that a lot of the real estate is undervalued,” said Mr. Cassidy, noting that there could be the potential for appreciation once improvements start in earnest.
He said streetscape improvements are targeted along Mt. Lebanon Boulevard, including making sidewalks handicapped-accessible and providing better lighting.
Castle Shannon also is anticipating the addition to the business district of a major apartment-retail complex to be built on Port Authority of Allegheny County property as a transit-oriented development. Such a project often is defined as higher-density mixed-use development within walking distance of transit stations, according to the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.
“It’s a very significant undertaking, and we’re very supportive of getting it underway,” said Mr. Hartswick.
In the meantime, Mr. Cassidy says he’s optimistic about Castle Shannon’s initiative.
“This is a good, solid town,” he said. “Their plans are solid.”
Harry Funk, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.