Pennsylvania senator-elect Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, said it was about forging a “bipartisan collaboration.”
Smith, accompanied by state R-Moon, boarded a bus Monday afternoon on Beaver Grade Road to tour Moon Township sites primed for development.
Moon officials offered feedback about several projects underway in the community and insight into the challenges they face in making those projects come to fruition.
Moon supervisors Marv Eicher, Jim Vitale and John Hertzer, alongside Moon manager Jeanne Creese and assistant managers Jeff Ziegler and Adam McGurk were on hand for the tour
In January, Smith will be sworn in as the senator for Pennsylvania's 37th district. He replaces former Sen. John Pippy, who resigned from office in June.
“John Pippy and I worked really closely together and this is a good opportunity to have that sort of relationship,” Mustio said of the tour.
The tour stopped across the street from the long-vacant Rodeway Inn at 9404 University Boulevard, a building that McGurk described as “one of the hot spots for development and one of the biggest eyesores in the township.”
McGurk said a developer in recent weeks has expressed interest in the eight-acre, u-shaped property, which could house a bank, hotel or restaurant, though access to the property is limited to a right-turn-only lane.
The property is owned by the Arizona-based Summit Venture Partners LP.
Smith passed the site of the planned 150,000-square foot Walmart on University Boulevard and briefly stopped at Robert Morris University, where officials touted the university’s growth in on-campus housing.
Eicher discussed the . Several floors of the 10-story hotel are used to house students.
“There are two issues: taxes and zoning,” Eicher said of RMU’s purchase of the hotel.
“They would like to use the hotel for dorms, and dorms are not a permitted use in that district. And they would like to exercise their tax-except status. But I believe we will work it out.”
As the bus neared the intersection of Beaver Grade Road and University Boulevard, Eicher pointed to the former Carnot Beer Distributor at 522 Carnot Road and the neighboring Moon Township-maintained garage.
He said developers have expressed interest in constructing a “Sheetz-type” business on the land, but must go through the approvals process through PennDOT, the Moon Area School District, Diocese of Pittsburgh and township. Each entity has a stake in the land, he said.
“I’m just here to educate myself,” Smith said. “Just to hear about the key issues in this community and so we can collaborate in a bipartisan way.”