What do these little towns need?

This topic contains 84 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Swalfoort 2 yrs, 2 mos.

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Apr 12 2013 at 2:55pm #

A series on addressing blight, offered by the Local Government Academy. Costs a bit, but on topic.

My info source is Sustainable Pittsburgh‘s weekly email of current events.

Jacob McCrea and I talked a bit about this very topic at yesterday’s lunchtime meetup.

Jacob McCrea

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Nov 17 2013 at 6:04pm #

This nice article from the Post-Gazette about the new park in Aspinwall is germane to a lot of the themes and issues discussed above:


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Nov 19 2013 at 1:56pm #

I rode by a lot of signs in Aspinwall yesterday and wondered what all the hub bub was about. Good stuff.

I am late to this thread… but I have been living in Millvale for 3 years and biking through it almost as long. This year I became a full time commuter by bike and have noticed a trend. Almost every close call and bicyclist vs driver incident I have had has been on my side of the river. People generally do not want me on the road. Sharrows in Millvale would maybe be helpful. . . But I dont know how many people use these roads regularly. Is this because it is not bike friendly? Or because people wisened up and moved to the city I wonder.


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May 4 2014 at 10:07am #

I will make a separate post about this, but something bike-related is about to happen in Millvale. It caused me to dig up and re-read this entire thread.

Millvale Borough has formed a Bike-Pedestrian Committee, which is having its first meeting this Thursday, May 8, 4:00 p.m., at the borough building. If you attend, go by bike, as there will be a bike tour. [link]


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May 5 2014 at 9:14am #

In many cities, the process of “regrowth” and “revitalization” occurs somewhat organically, in something akin to the “trickle down” process. Houses that are occupied are in better condition (generally) than homes that are unoccupied. Most studies will tell you that owner occupied housing is maintained to a high standard than is renter occupied housing. A glut of “excess” housing, with no willing occupants, creates a dilemma, such as that we are seeing in our smaller communities.

Much of this “excess” housing stock is on the verge of being functionally obsolete – not up to current electrical, fire or plumbing codes, for example. While the housing may be inexpensive, re-occupancy requires an investment.

We can and do have an “urban pioneering” segment that is taking these old homes and fixing them up. It’s just not big enough to meet all needs in all communities. Our glut of housing has kept overall housing prices too affordable, perhaps. Why buy and renovate a house in community A (perhaps one of the ones that Stu has mentioned here) when I can almost certainly find a newer/better house that costs less than House A (when considering purchase and renovation costs), with little or no impact on my commute time, school district options, etc.

For the record, I did buy the house that needed investment. I spent considerable time and money bringing it “back.” My community used to be walkable. Not so much any more, as businesses were forced out by big box stores. What’s the market for my house now? Probably about what I paid for it almost 20 years ago. That’s if I could find a buyer, with a dozen similar homes on the market within a mile of me.

And my community is generally considered to me “stable” and “mostly desirable” without any stigma that may be affixed to other communities.

A concerted effort, neighborhood by neighborhood, is likely to be far more successful than a generic, shotgun approach. All IMHO, of course.

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