Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival?

Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. Four public media newsrooms are collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state's urban crisis -- and on possible solutions. Keystone Crossroads offers reports on radio, web, social media, television and newspapers, and through public events.

Our partner stations are WHYY in Philadelphia, WPSU in State College and witf in Harrisburg. Read all of the partner stories here.

Pittsburgh’s WQED joins the collaboration as an associate partner. 

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

With New Tools to Fight Blight, Communities Look to Arm Themselves to Reclaim Neighborhoods

With the heavily boarded up community of Homestead as a backdrop, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania released a toolkit to fight blight today.

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Economy & Business
10:30 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Qualified Employees Increasingly Hard To Come By In Manufacturing Sector

Chris Boltz, a manufacturing engineer with Oberg Industries, has been there since 1998. When he decided to attend Oberg's apprentice program instead of attending college, his high school counselor told him he was throwing away his life.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Oberg Industries’ tucked away buildings in Freeport, Pennsylvania are easy to miss.

But inside the nondescript structures are tidy rows of machinery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each. In one department, refrigerator-sized electric discharge machines, which cut metal using wire, sizzle away like cooking bacon. In another, workers operate manual machines. In one room a worker runs quality assurance using a high-tech instrument.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Pittsburgh Land Bank Brings New Tools To City's Blight Problem

Ronell Guy and Councilwoman Deborah Gross in the Northside. They say the land bank will help put blighted properties into productive use.
Credit Irina Zhorov/90.5 WESA

Ronell Guy oscillated between admiration and admonishment as she drove around the California-Kirkbride neighborhood in the Northside.

Guy, who is the executive director of the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing and an interim board member of the city’s land bank, pointed at blighted properties and vacant lots and then cooed at the possibilities of the abandoned properties.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:37 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Statewide Initiative Explores the Challenges Faced by Pennsylvania Cities

Workers renovating the dome of the AAA Motor Square Garden in East Liberty.
Credit Jasmine Goldband / Jasmine Goldband Photography

90.5 WESA is partnering with public radio stations throughout the state on Keystone Crossroads. It’s a new initiative exploring the challenges faced by Pennsylvania cities, and how they're being overcome.

Some of the segments will air on Essential Pittsburgh, including features and conversations with reporters such as Irina Zhorov, based here in Pittsburgh.

Zhorov recently covered historic preservation as an economic development tool for Pittsburgh, along with manufacturing in western PA and workforce development. 

Zhorov said she's especially interested in how industry is changing in Western PA, new development projects and more broadly what the state is doing to stay solvent.

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Government & Politics
11:45 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Historic Preservation As Economic Development: Peduto Says Yes, Please

The YMCA building in East Liberty plans to use preservation tax credits to develop a hotel.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that he wants to use the city’s stock of aging buildings as a tool for economic development.

Beyond Pittsburgh, too, Pennsylvania has no shortage of old buildings and some cities have long used them as a selling point. 

A new study measured the impact of maintaining older buildings in urban areas and concluded that for cities lucky enough to have them, leveraging them can bring development.

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Act 47
10:46 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Another PA City to be Declared "Distressed"

While City Council and Mayor Bill Peduto try to finalize a third, 5-year recovery plan for Pittsburgh under Act 47, the city of Shamokin in Northumberland County will soon become the 21st municipality in the commonwealth currently declared financially distressed.

"This is a financial mess," says Shamokin City Clerk Robert Slaby.

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Station News
2:31 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Meet Irina Zhorov, 90.5 WESA's Keystone Crossroads Reporter

Irina Zhorov
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

90.5 WESA has hired journalist Irina Zhorov as the station’s reporter for the Keystone Crossroads initiative, a two-year public media collaboration to focus on the challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvanian cities.     

Zhorov joins 90.5 WESA after working as a reporter, multimedia producer and host at Wyoming Public Radio. Her professional interests focus on researching and reporting on environmental and energy-related issues, as well as homelessness and education.

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Keystone Crossroads
1:09 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

90.5 WESA Among PA Public Media Stations Uniting to Explore Statewide Urban Decline

Five public media stations spanning Pennsylvania have joined forces to form a collaborative reporting center called Keystone Crossroads.

Keystone Crossroads will explore urban decline and solutions in Pennsylvania and examine topics such as aging infrastructure, immigration, local government, neighborhood life, poverty and tax policy. The initiative aims to offer connected, statewide reporting on urban challenges in the Keystone State.

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