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MCKEESPORT (KDKA) — With the snip of an oversized pair of scissors and a cheer, a new era was launched in a McKeesport landmark.
The old Daily News building came back to life after just over three years sitting dormant. For 131 years, the Daily News came out of the building on the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko says the repurposing of the building is huge for this Mon River community.
“I think with this opening up and some other things that are going to happen around it, truly you’re going to let people know that there is hope and that our better days lie ahead of us,” he said.
Mon Valley resident and the Second Lady of Pennsylvania Gisele Fetterman agrees.
“In the valley, we’re used to celebrating small wins, but here we’re celebrating a really big one,” she said.
Five entities have now taken up residency in the old building including the Allegheny County District Attorney Mon Valley Support Center.
“Thirty communities are going to come through this location,” District Attorney Stephen Zappala said.
Not only will it save those needing help from the justice system the drive into Pittsburgh, it will also bring the tools of the DA’s office to McKeesport. Tools Zappala says will be made accessible to police officers.
“Every police officer who wants to be trained in these areas, we’re going to make them better police officers in that regard,” he said.
Meanwhile on the third floor, the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University is a beehive of activity.
“Once the Daily News went away, McKeesport lost its voice,” Point Park’s Andrew Conte said. “[This] is to help the residents of McKeesport tell their own stories. So that may be learning photography, learning how to do an interview, learning how to write a story and using those skills to go out and tell their own stories about the City of McKeesport.”
Journalist-in-training Isiah Johnson says the center has given him a way to shed his shyness.
“[Just by] being able to be myself every time I do it. Like, and I meet so many different characters of people. Some people are shy, some people are outgoing, some people will tell you their whole life story,” he said.
Tube City Media, the Mon Valley Independent and Flashover Fire Apparatus round out the initial tenants restoring life to the old building.
Mayor Cherepko says while the city is operating the building, it is not costing taxpayer dollars. The mayor says with just the tenants they already have the building is self-supporting and there is plenty of room for more.