Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Three Priorities For 2014: 3 - Redeveloping Race Street

I am chair of The Save Race Street Committee, which residents of Race Street formed in November, 2008 under the leadership of Min. Terry D. Fluker, and which has worked since then to beautify our street, and to maintain and enhance its value.

The Committee's work has garnered considerable press coverage, in print, on television, and on radio.

Our biggest work may lie ahead of us - namely, the execution of a community plan for our street. The plan, titled "Race Street 20/20 Vision," is the product of a visioning session held in November 2011, as interpreted by staffers at Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

There are two versions of RS2020. In November, 2012, at our annual meeting, the Committee adopted the shorter version of the document as our community plan.

The challenge now is to learn how to move forward with it. That involves forming a non-profit corporation, and educating ourselves about things like, the role of public art (and art generally) in redevelopment; the types, benefits and drawbacks of historical designations (The Young Preservationists Association named Race Street one of the "Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in Pittsburgh" in 2012); how development works generally; and public safety and crime reduction strategies.

I believe we are well-positioned. Rob Stephany, former head of the URA, has moved from there to The Heinz Endowments, but remains a friend to the Committee - in fact, he and I have met regularly for several months now, and he is connecting me with people who to help with some of the things just listed.

Pittsburgh's new mayor, Bill Peduto, has affirmed the Committee's work for years, and has a personal connection to the street.

He also seems to be making of point of mentioning Homewood when he talks about "building a New Pittsburgh," as in this Post-Gazette piece about his intent to attract 20,000 new residents to Pittsburgh over the next 10 years:

The mayor sees opportunities for more residential development on the South Side, particularly near SouthSide Works; the Strip District; and Homewood, a struggling neighborhood he is seeking to rebuild.
The Committee has also made friends with organizations like GTECH Strategies, Operation Better Block and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh.

And I am trying to avoid mentioning myself specifically, but the reality is that I have a slew of personal relationships that could accrue to Race Street's benefit if I use them well. I should not be ashamed or shy about that. I should be grateful, and wise in tapping those relationships. God knows we need all the help we can get.

Three Priorities: The Complete Series
Three Priorities For 2014 - And Beyond
Three Priorities For 2014: 1 - Encouraging The Body Of Christ
Three Priorities For 2014: 2- Growing Businesses.
Three Priorities For 2014: 2.5 - Why Build Businesses?
Three Priorities For 2014: 2 - Growing Businesses - Legal Shield
Three Priorities For 2014: 2 - Growing Businesses - Homewood Capital Partners
Three Priorities For 2014: 2 - Growing Businesses - Luminaria Productions
Three Priorities For 2014: 3 - Redeveloping Race Street
Three Priorities For 2014: Closing Thoughts

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