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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Bridging the Busway - a question of ownership

Posted by Elwin Green on July 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM

As promised, I spoke with both Councilman Ricky V. Burgess and Jerome M. Jackson, executive director of Operation Better Block, Inc. about what is to become of the Bridging the Busway plan, now that the completed document has been published.


"The idea was that OBB would be the keepers of the plan," Mr. Jackson said, "but no one has stepped up to the plate to say that they will actually do something that's in the plan. And no one was designated in the process to do that, to take on that task."


Could it wind up sitting on a shelf?

"We hope not, but it could because there was no designated to move it forward. So yes, sitting on a shelf is a possibility."


Even before the final public meeting was held to get the community input that would shape the final document, consultant Christine Brill expressed concern to me in a private conversation that there did not seem to be anyone who would take ownership of the plan once it was completed.


Ownership in this context does not refer to legal ownership of the plan as a piece of intellectual property (interestingly, the published plan lacks a copyright notice). It refers to someone taking responsibility for moving it forward.


I asked Councilman Burgess who owns the plan at this point.


"No one," he quickly replied.

"There needs to be some entity that advocates for it, and that pushes," he said. "I'm hoping that at some point the collaborative would be the ownership of it.

"That would be my short range goal, and that all the agencies that participate in that collaborative would own it and push it in the short term."

"The collaborative" is the East End Development Collaborative. This is the group that began meeting early in the year to talk about coordinating development efforts in Homewood, Lincoln-Larimer and Point Breeze North (in my first post about this group, I called it the East End Planning Committee. I've heard variations of the group's name, but I think East End Development Collaborative is now official.).

Councilman Burgess's comments were part of an exclusive interview in which we spoke for more than hour. Stay tuned for more from that conversation, about development in Homewood and the East End, communication challenges, and why in all of this, he doesn't have a goal in mind (yep, you read that right).

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Reply Queen Lucille
11:21 PM on July 3, 2012 
Wow! This gets more interesting every minute! No wonder it is such a big secret! There is no ownership, no continuity, no responsibility, for a "community-driven plan" as Councilman Burgess refers to it. Why? Because the plan is NOT COMMUNITY DRIVEN! Now, all of the "geniuses" that developed the plan don't want to take responsibility for it. Probably because no one wants to take the blame for its ultimate failure! This seems to be just another money making venture for people that don't live in, or have any interest in Homewood. apparently, Councilman Burgess can't even give the plan away!That's what happens when residents are not invited to the table. Homewood residents should be given the opportunity to own their own development plan, one that they can invest in and reap the benefits of, instead of the developers, so we can provide a secure future for our children and families. NO GROUND SHOULD BE BROKEN, OR ANY MONEY EXCHANGED OR PROMISED UNTIL IT IS DETERMINED WHO IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PLAN. PERIOD!! Thank you.
Reply Keisha Turner
8:02 AM on July 7, 2012 
I moved to Homewood in August of 2011 and would like to know how to sign up for updates about the Bridging the Busway Project.
Reply Elwin Green
7:03 PM on July 7, 2012 
Ms. Turner - There is no way to sign up for such updates; as I understand it, the entire purpose of the Bridging the Busway project was to produce the plan. Now that that has happened, the project is over.

If you want updates on plans for developing Homewood, keep checking here for news about the Homewood Comprehensive Community Plan and the East End Development Collaborative.

Welcome to Homewood! I'm going to take off my journalist hat and put on my community worker hat - I invite you to check out Block Watch Plus, a monthly meeting of concerned citizens. We meet the 3d Saturday of each month at 10:30 am at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. As chair, I would love to have you with us.

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In October 2005, after a bullet came through his living room window, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Elwin Green began writing "My Homewood," the first blog on the P-G's website. For 4 1/2 years, "My Homewood" shared stories of tragedy and beauty, of perplexity and hope - stories that live again in "The Homewood Chronicles."

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