More than 45 million people remain under weather watches and warnings in the Northeast, down from 85 million Friday morning, as a winter storm makes its way eastward. Snow fell across much of New York state, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, with freezing rain and ice causing treacherous travel to the south in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The precipitation is expected to end Friday evening. In the wake of the storm, more than 3,600 flights were canceled Friday, with several hundred canceled for Saturday, according to the tracking website FlightAware. About 330,000 customers are without power, stretching from Tennessee to Maine, according to PowerOutage.us.CNN February 4, 2020 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
And then there is Oussama, our “Sam’s Gyros” “Gyro Man” and his assistant Atta…
Oussama has gyros and other Lebanese treats ready to go, every Friday, at the Dierkens Pharmacy parking lot, on Main Street at Park Avenue across from Sheetz, from 10 AM until about 6 PM.
HALF AND HALF
I’m glad many people stayed home today, keeping the roads a bit safer for the people who did go out. I don’t remember the state shutting down the Interstate highways and other four lanes in advance like they did last evening, but it seems like a good plan. However, the outcome is that about half of the Downtown businesses here that open on a typical winter day were closed today, while the other half were open for business.
The Monongahela Main Street Program is working hard in our capacity at the center of the wheel with regard to the historic West Main Street core area of our Downtown. We work as closely as we can with literally dozens of local non-profit organizations, government agencies, and the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce, to find ways to rebuild our little city’s historic central business district. We focus on all events, all buildings, and all businesses, as a group, paying attention to how our historic business district works as a whole, since that is our function, keeping our efforts balanced within the National Main Street Center’s trademarked 4-Point Approach (Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Vitality) something that distinguishes us from the other organizations working Downtown in various capacities.
While we are focused on the historic Downtown, in all its glory, in keeping with the “four points,” and not specifically on economics, or on business networking, or on non-profit community activities, or code issues, or real estate development issues, or aesthetics, or major government-funded works, we also bridge our community to others like ours by being THE local member of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and Main Street America (/the National Main Street Center). These memberships allow us to learn from other communities, learn from new ideas being discussed by the vast network of over 1,600 Main Street Program communities, and bring information about our community to the table in the same discussions.
In light of all that, we have had some good fortune in the last six months, and indeed in the previous couple of years, to have been given leads on appropriate funding programs, to help match other organizations up with these leads (e.g., we were able to pass a lead along to Bethel AME Church for some potential funding, and we passed leads along to the Monongahela Area Library which recently received two grants based on applications that were designed to help us stay open later in the evenings and hold programs 3-6 evenings a week in 2022, as the winter lifts).
We received word this week, both in newspaper coverage of the LSA Board’s decision (Local Share Account of the Washington County’s Casino Gaming Tax funds), that we have been awarded an $80,000 fund intended to attract developers to rehabilitate some of the currently vacant space in historic buildings Downtown and the West Main Street corridor. This is good news as it is essentially a kind of funding we had applied for four straight years – as a way to get some of our vacant space back into use; but ours was not one of the selected projects in the three prior years; it also allows us to recapture money we were not able to spend in 2021 because we had several approved façade projects that could not be completed in 2021, mainly because it was so difficult to line up contractors.
Some of the LSA funds can be awarded as matching funds for façade grants, while the majority is intended to support whole-building rehabilitation projects, or rehabilitation of a currently vacant first-story space in poor condition, or to bring the upper stories of Downtown business buildings back into service where vacant. The Washington County Redevelopment Authority will hold the funds until approved projects have been completed. Projects should meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, part of the Secretary’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Façade projects can be reimbursed at 50% of the construction cost up to a total grant of $5,000 per building or up to a total grant of $20,000 for projects that include interior work to place vacant space back into service.
The $80,000 in funding will work in concert with the $45,000 that the Monongahela Main Street Program was awarded about a month ago from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Both programs will be launched soon, although the LSA funding will not be available until approximately September 2022 (we can not accept applications for projects involving the interior work / LSA funds until this fall, when we are notified that all the paperwork is in place between the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Washington and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.)
Our sympathy to the Gaillard / Powell family, in their loss of Blanche Gaillard of Charleroi, Reneta Powell’s mother. Blanche was 99, almost 100 years old. Reneta is the choir director at Bethel AME, where she also serves in several other capacities in the work of the church, and Michael Powell, her husband, is chair of the Trustee Board, as well as a veteran who is a well-known figure at military events and military funerals in the Mon Valley.
Speaking of Reneta Powell, Reneta was a great help in one of the very first fundraising and community networking projects that the MMSP undertook – making ravioli in the kitchen of Bethel AME Church, with a wonderful mix of volunteer helpers both from the church and from the community at large.
This project provided funds to purchase plaques that are now hanging at the Monongahela City Hall and the Washington County Courthouse telling about (presented to both governmental units several years ago by MMSP), and honoring, the Civil War-era soldiers from our community. They volunteered to fight in the American Civil War and also played an important role after the war as National Guardsmen. This unit is believed to have been the first all-African-American military unit of that era. The imagery that might come to mind might be that depicted about the 154th Massachusetts depicted in the Matthew Broderick movie “Glory,” except that the troops from Monongahela were all-African-American, in that they were formed under the leadership of officers who were African America.
This is not strictly about Downtown Monongahela – in fact, it’s the far opposite – but it’s something I’ve been working on, so I thought I’d mention it. I am a board member of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania, a group that visits a different part of the state each year, in mid-June, and hosts a tour of barns in that area. The tour guide booklet, which comes with your registration to participate, is a full-color 68-page book analyzing the styles of barn architecture and farm landscapes in the area being visited, including a complete profile of each barn on the tour. I had offered about 4-5 years ago to host a tour in our general area, and my tour was supposed to be in June 2020. It was canceled, of course, because of the lockdown, well, technically, postponed until June 2022. The event will be on Friday, June 10th, through Sunday, June 12th. The Friday venue will be West Overton Village Museums, between Scottdale and Mt. Pleasant. On Saturday, there will be an all-day tour, beginning near West Overton, mainly following routes 31 and 136 west, and coming as far west as the Prentice Farm in Forward Township, just over the ridge from our city. Lunch on Saturday will be a Rusyn luncheon, with haluski and kielbasa, served by the Altar Society of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Perryopolis. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places. On Sunday, two historic barns closer to Greensburg will be open for a drive-on-your-own tour. The Steel Farm, north of Greensburg, has a huge barn. The Pollins Farm, also known as Sewickley Manor, south of Greensburg, has been in the same family for seven generations.
Am I the only one who noticed so far that the bulletin board for community events is currently completely empty at Eat’N Park? Don’t all rush there at once…
FOR MORE DETAIL ON EVENTS: CHECK OUT OUR ONLINE CALENDAR
The Monongahela Main Street Program now has a Google Calendar posted on our organizational web page listing downtown-related events. The link also connects back to an online calendar at the “Monongahela Times” website maintained by Dan Tregembo, our MMSP board secretary – The direct link to the “Monongahela Times” page is https://www.monongahelatimes.com/.
The online calendar is a project that several members of the Main Street Board have been discussing for quite some time. Feel free to send us a note about whatever events you may be planning that relate well to bringing people downtown. When the organization was publishing a one-page wall calendar on paper each month, across a period of about three years, up to 2018, the events listed added up to over 900 scheduled activities worthy of being included each year.
Don’t forget to spread your dine-in or takeout business around during this “unprecedented time” in American and worldwide history. Here’s some contact information for some of the restaurants that are open at this time:
- Italian Village Pizza, 169 West Main Street
- Angelo’s II, 111 Third Street (724) 292-8375
- Di’s Home Town Deli, 218 West Main Stree (724) 292-1001
- Sweets by Mrs. C., Ice Cream and More, 260 West Main Street (724) 292-8392
- Little City Coffee, 418 West Main Street (724) 258-6285
- Two and a Fry, 1115 West Main Street (724) 310-3182
- Hog Fathers Olde-Fashioned Barbecue, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg) (724) 310-3757
- Lenzi’s Italian Restaurant, 228 Gee Street (just off East Main going east from the Pigeon Creek Bridge, before the first light) (724) 258-9885
- Detorre’s Pizza, 915 West Main Street (724) 258-3306
- Eat’N Park, 1250 West Main Street (724) 258-4654
- Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, 201 West Main Street (724) 258-8358
- Hills Restaurant, 107 Main Street, New Eagle (724) 258-5422
- Pizza Station, 187 Chess Street, New Eagle (724) 310-3191
- Cox Market, deli counter for take-out, 711 Rt.481 (724) 258-4900
- Ponce’s Place, 715 Rt.481 (Park Avenue Extension/Pigeon Creek Road) (724) 258-6654
- Pho Valley, 1160 Country Club Road (724) 310-3948
- Fox’s Pizza Den, 1235 West Main Street (724) 310-2080
Here’s a list of the 35 STORES that have opened or are in the process of opening in the Monongahela – New Eagle Main Street area in the last 39 months (this list does not include the ones that opened and closed in that period, of which there were at least three or four):
- The Bubblery Pittsburgh – soap shop with handmade soap, hand sanitizer, lip balm, etc., since Sept. 2018, 212 West Main, (724) 258-2598
- Cedarwood Insurance Options – Anthony Bottino III, insurance broker (upstairs from Bottino Financial/Allstate Insurance), since Nov 2018, 442 West Main, (724) 310-3695
- LuLaRoe by Amber Smittle – casual clothing, open by appointment, since Nov 2018, West Main Street at Fourth Street, (724) 678-3913
- Main Street Gypsy – gifts, jewelry, clothing, and furnishings, since May 2019, 219 West Main, (724) 292-8366
- Sweets by Mrs. C, Ice Cream and More – also has baked goods and nostalgic candies, since Aug 2019, 260 West Main, (724) 292-8392
- Alpha Outfitters Equestrian Supply – Western-wear and horseback riding items for the rodeo crowd, since Sept 2019, 168 West Main, (724) 366-0642
- Julie’s Hair Haven – haircare by appointment, since Oct 2019, 202½ Fourth Street, (412) 952-5177
- Octane Martial Arts – martial arts studio, sports/athletic training, and pro-shop selling related clothing, since Oct 2019, (724) 310-2090
- The Potter’s House – event facility, since Oct 2019, 234 West Main, (724) 219-3290
- Bella Bug Bootique – casual clothing and costume jewelry, since Nov 2019, 416 West Main. (The storefront locations have closed, but the business remains very active online), contact Kate Runac, owner, through the Bella Bug Bootique Facebook page, or by email at email@example.com, or just drop by to visit during the day, next to Little City Coffee.
- The Outfit (barber supplies / hair care supplies locally made by Nicolo Rigano, at Main Street Barber), since October 2019, 105 West Main Street, (412) 420-7341
- Di’s Home Town Deli – deli meats, chicken salad, egg salad, lunch specials, etc., since Dec 2019, 218 West Main, (724) 292-1001
- Busta Suds Laundromat – laundromat (behind Two-and-a-Fry Hotdog place), since Dec 2019, c/o Two-and-a-Fry Hotdogs, 1115 West Main, (724) 310-3182
- The Compound Steel City – youth center for training in sports like wrestling, weight lifting, cheerleading, etc., since Jan 2020, 121 Railroad Street, (724) 426-6768
- Sambol’s Bakery – baked goods, cookies, lunch specials, since May 2020, 230 West Main, (724) 250-0100
- Candelore’s Barking Beauties – dog grooming salon, since July 2020, 111 West Main, (724) 292-8360
- CPC Chiropractic – Dr. Christa Peifer, Chiropractor, since October 2020, 314 West Main, (412) 953-3103
- Santa’s Secret Shoppe – Christmas decorations, other holiday season items, and plenty of small gifts, since October 2020 (open seasonally), 211 Second Street, (724) 554-3514
- Chloe and Me Candles – handcrafted candles and similar items, since November 2020, 205 West Main, (724) 298-8696
- Rocky Top Photo Op – settings for photography shoots at the Gottselig farm at the top of Ridge Avenue in the First Ward, the only farm located within our City Limits, a family farm where you can come and take your own photos – they have a very wide variety of unique props for all seasons, since December 2020, Contact them (Judy Lovell) through Facebook
- The Dog Emporium/Sit-Up Doggie Treats – gift shop for dogs, locally baked treats and dog biscuits baked by the shop owner at his other facility, since Feb 2020, 310 West Main Street (“downtown”), as of 26 January 2021 (previously was 118 Main Street, New Eagle), (724) 258-7297
- Dusty’s Discounts – household items and gadgets, Kitchen-Aid mixers, umbrella’s, etc., since March 2021, 406 West Main Street (next to Tattoo Savior), contact Dusty Bradshaw Aldous via Facebook / Messenger, or at (724) 787-1516
- Red Boot Home – household decorative items, from throw pillows to sine bottle stoppers, since March 2021, located within Red Boot Antiques, Jessica Homa, contact Marcia Homa or Jessica Homa at Red Boot Antiques, 905 West Main Street, (724) 884-7509
- Noel’s Primitives and Gifts – Antiques, primitives, and décor items, 202 West Main Street, (724) 825-9525
- Aanarchy Ink – tattoos, since April 2021, 202 West Main Street Suite B, (724) 610-8460.
- MICRO Mushroom Market, since April 2021, 1235 West Main Street (the warehouse behind Fox’s Pizza and LaVie Nails), (412) 667-2874.
- Fox’s Pizza Den, since May 2021, 1235 West Main Street. (724) 310-2080
- City Mission Thrift Store – since July 2021, 211 West Main Street. (724) 292-8377
- Dubtown Vapes – since July 2021, 1235 West Main Street
- The Orangery (salon, by Felicity Frace) since September 2020, 105 West Main Street (lower level of Main Street Barber), (724) 255-3180.
- Mon Valley Alliance offices and Business Resource Center, since November 2021, 235 West Main Street, (Ben Brown, CEO) (724) 565-5636
- Polished Aesthetics (Jamie Varley, CRNP, aesthetician), since December 2020, 105 West Main Street (lower level of Main Street Barber), (724) 518-4843.
- Dead Head Wine Bar, 300 Second Street (former Bebout and Yohe Funeral Home building, corner of Second Street and Chess Street) (Dead Head Winery should be fully open in early 2022; it opened partially in the fall of 2021 only as an event venue for weekend music shows), contact Mike Kisling at (724) 292-8260
EAST MAIN STREET
- Hog Fathers Olde Fashioned Barbecue – restaurant and bar, since 20 Jan 2020, 243 East Main Street (Catsburg), (724) 310-3757
- DW Auto (formerly Sal’s Quality Auto Care) – auto detailing and repairs, since May 2020, 130 East Main Street, (724) 310-2038 – Reopened recently under a new name and with more emphasis on mechanical repairs.
MAIN STREET/CHESS STREET, NEW EAGLE
- Industrial Farmhouse Living – home décor, repurposed found objects, since Jan 2019, 144 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 565-4447
- Full Circle Glass & Door Service – glass installer, since Aug 2019, 102 Main Street, New Eagle, (724) 998-7437
- JMS Photography, in business since 2017, began moving into this location around December 2020, owner Jenna (Quattrone) Sluk, 139 Chess Street, New Eagle, (724) 263-1323
- M&R Chocolates, to open soon, on Park Avenue at Peno’s Plaza, since January 2022.
- Dis-OR-Dat, to be in with Bartman Plumbing next to DeVore Hardware, 443 West Main Street, (724) 350-2092, since January 2022.
Our Board of Directors
The current Board of Directors of the Monongahela Main Street Program is as follows:
Tobias Provan, President
Janet Roslund, Vice President
Walter Seal, Treasurer
Dan Tregembo, Secretary
Non-Voting: Terry Necciai, Exec.Dir.
WE HAVE A WONDERFUL CITY!
Terry A. Necciai, RA, Exec.Dir., MMSP