ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) - Aliquippa leaders hosted Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday to show off ongoing projects to revitalize the community and announce more for the future.
"What the mayor and his team are trying to do, and I'm proud to be a partner in this, is to make Aliquippa better than it has been," Wolf said.
On Wednesday, Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker showed Wolf how state investments have given the city's development projects a boost. Over the last six years, the city has received state grants totaling $11 million.
The East End Development is 4 1/2 acres along Franklin Avenue and the hope is to add housing, retail, commercial space or manufacturing. There's also the Bricks Development site and the vision is to turn that vacant property into housing. Grant money has helped the city demolish structures and prepare both sites for marketing.
"This is not going to be your mom and pop's Aliquippa, don't expect it to be. We are going to build on the bones that's in front of us to make this city the next 10, 20 years something special," said Mayor Walker.
The mayor said these upgrades will make the environment better in Aliquippa and Beaver County. The governor talked about how it will create jobs and improve the local economy.
"For the first time since the steel industry, the western part of the state has some new hope, and shame on us if all we do is sit back and say 'okay, do whatever you're going to do.' We need to make sure we're being supportive," said Gov. Wolf.
Some Aliquippa residents have concerns about how their community will be affected during these projects. They worry that it could lead to more people being homeless.
"We want to make sure that anyone who is struggling in the community, whether it be housing or anything, that they aren't going to be pushed out. We want to make sure this redevelopment is going to benefit the residents," said Andrenna Williams, an Aliquippa resident.
They don't want to be forgotten during these projects.
"The main concern is the heart, and the heart is us, the community. And without the community, then you really have nothing," said resident Belsha Flannigan.
Flannigan said the city needs programs for the youth, a community center, a swimming pool and other recreational places.
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