Pennsylvania Environmental Council

As the industries along urban waterfronts have faded, big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have come up with robust master plans — and significant funding — to connect people with their rivers.

But what can smaller municipalities with fewer resources do to revitalize their waterfronts?

Monongahela is leading the way in the fight against abandoned, run-down properties, according to state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

There will be a roundtable discussion in the town on Tuesday evening to address the best ways communities can address the problem of blight, with Monongahela’s success at the center.

“When you go down main street in Monongahela, you cannot believe how different it is from eight years ago,” Bartolotta said. “I think there might be one, maybe two, storefronts that aren’t up and running with really cute businesses.”

The long-delayed Lower Monongahela River Project to replace aging locks and dams is inching forward as funding becomes available, with a new $58.6 million dollar contract awarded to Joseph B. Fay Company to begin construction of a new lock wall near Charleroi.

The four-year contract will include building six reinforced concrete monoliths that will become part of the 260 foot by 35 foot wall. The new wall will be the center divider between two lock chambers that will eventually replace the current locks.

In Mon Valley Steel Towns, Shrunken Communities And An Increase Of Crime

Jul 8, 2014
Holly Tonini / Point Park News Service

The roads into Donora were built for traffic.

The four lanes of state Route 837 meet the Monessen Bridge that once carried bustling amounts of both foot and automobile traffic. But now, not many people have reason to come to this town 30 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, says resident Edith Jericho, surrounded by the relics of the Donora Smog Museum.

Flickr user cssna

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) was in Pittsburgh Monday touting a “major bipartisan agreement” that will free up funds for the country’s inland waterways.

Casey called the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, a “must-pass bill” that has broad support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senator said the poor state of locks and dams along inland waterways is costing Pennsylvania $224 million a year in lost revenue, and that the legislation was written in partnership with industry.