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New Kensington Downtown Partnership wants to build on city's revitalization efforts

MARY ANN THOMAS| Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:15 p.m.

Those involved with a new nonprofit in New Kensington say they want to build on the momentum of the city’s revitalization efforts.

“New Kensington is open for business,” said Doug Muetzel, a member of the New Kensington Downtown Partnership, which held an official kickoff celebration Thursday at the Voodoo Brewery.

The partnership is a nonprofit group of new and existing businesses, area nonprofits, residents and others bound together to grow and attract more businesses.

About 60 people attended Thursday’s event.

“Downtown is a wonderful mix of small businesses, large corporations, Penn State New Kensington, UPMC, and new businesses like an air filter manufacturer that recently announced it is bringing more than 100 jobs,” Mayor Tom Guzzo said.

Alabama-based Filterbuy is leasing production and distribution space in New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park in neighboring Arnold.

Even during the pandemic as businesses closed across the region, New Kensington continued to gain businesses, Guzzo noted.

Guzzo said the city offers safety and security and a new police training center.

“The police are accessible, on the ball and well-trained,” he said.

Dave McGuire, 52, of New Kensington said he moved to Western Pennsylvania from Florida about a decade ago. He and his fiancee, Autumn Walker, settled in New Kensington.

“This is a good thing,” he said of Thursday’s meeting while mixing with other business owners at the Voodoo Brewery.

He owns the New Kensington-based McGuire Scientific Services LLC, which designs circuit boards for laboratory instrumentation.

“Pittsburgh is the new Silicon Valley,” he said. But you don’t have to be in Pittsburgh proper to be part of the scene, he said.

When McGuire and Walker, who owns a soap business, BoHo Bath & Bubbles, first arrived in New Kensington, he said it “had artsy, smart people who were well-hidden.”

But no more.

McGuire points to the Voodoo Brewery as a hub of activity attracting a slew of professionals, artisans and community-minded people.

“We run different businesses and now we know we are not doing it alone,” he said. “This energizes us and it makes us better.”

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