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RACE STREET: Two steps forward...

Posted by Elwin Green on July 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM

This is how it goes sometimes, this thing that I call "community work"...

On Tuesday, July 10, I was interviewed by Eric Sloss, writing for Conserve, the magazine of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The subject, of course, was the tree planting we had on Race Street on Arbor Day weekend.

On Tuesday, July 17, Save Race Street Committee treasurer Dorothy White and I met with a couple of folks from G-TECH who interviewed us for a G-TECH video, about the raised bed flower garden we created on June 2.

So July was turning into a good month for Race Street, in terms of the street's reputation being enhanced as a result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the past 3+ years. And reputation enhancement based on stuff that's actually happening is good and important, right?

Then comes Friday, July 20, and a conversation with Jose Diaz of Operation Better Block. He had touched base with the Department of Public Works about residents of Race Street and Monticello Street planning a joint celebration of the National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7.

Here's' a paraphrase of what Diaz said. "You guys can't block off your street. Race Street has been blacklisted."


Apparently, at some point, the number of police calls to Race Street led to the street being placed on a blacklist that would not allow residents to do things like street festivals. And that blacklisting is permanent.

That's what I've heard so far. I have a call in to DPW to confirm and to see if there's any possibility of having the blacklist lifted. Meanwhile, it looks like the new reputation we're creating for Race Street has not yet overcome the reputation other people created years ago.

Which raises questions like, "What does it take? How much does it take? How long does it take?"

Just sharing that to say that sometimes this is what it is like: two steps forward.....

Has anyone else out there who does community work ever had a setback or obstacle that seemed to come out of nowhere?

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The Homewood Chronicles

Oct. 2005 - March 2010

Reports from a community in transition

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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