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Local business owners, city officials look to revitalize New Kensington

New Ken Downtown Partnership to target new businesses, city improvements

Jim Madalinsky WTAE NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. —

The group gathered inside Voodoo Brewery, one of New Kensington's newest businesses. The topic of conversation centered around adding to that development.

Small business owners, corporate leaders and city officials joined together to launch the New Ken Downtown Partnership. The group consists of those already invested in revitalizing the city of New Kensington and specifically the downtown area.

"We found while talking to each other that we had a lot of common ideas about new things we could do here," Wesley Family Services CEO Doug Muetzel said.

"We went through a stretch where we had a lack of employment for a certain amount of time after the Alcoa plant closure and things of that nature," Mayor Tom Guzzo said. "Now, we're coming back."

The old plant site has a new owner, expected to bring in more than 100 jobs. Guzzo said more than a dozen businesses have recently opened downtown and this group is planning to work to attract more.

"The good news is that it is needed, because it proves that good things are happening," Guzzo said.

It's not just about bringing in businesses. Muetzel said the group also plans to do the little things, focusing on making the downtown area attractive to everyone.

"We'll do the cleanup," Muetzel said. "We've been a part of bringing additional security cameras so police have a better network to monitor the city. There's low-hanging fruit like that and also talking to people about how they can develop businesses here in New Kensington."

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