|Posted by Elwin Green on November 20, 2013 at 6:30 PM|
In an op-ed published by the New Pittsburgh Courier, Councilman Ricky V. Burgess calls for the City of Pittsburgh to invest $150 million in Homewood "right now."
"Homewood should be Pittsburgh’s next great working-class neighborhood," Burgess writes. "But for this to happen, Homewood needs at least $500 million. At least $150 million of that must come from the City, right now. Homewood is dying, right now, right in front of us even while other neighborhoods thrive."
It would not be the first time that the City has made such an investment, he argues, citing the example of SouthSide Works: "Millions upon millions of city tax dollars were siphoned from the entire City to build this jewel for the privileged few."
Burgess closes the piece by saying that he looks forward to working with Mayor-elect Bill Peduto "to make Homewood a true priority and invest the significant financial resources this community needs and deserves." Mr. Peduto has not only spoken of the need to revitalize Pittsburgh's low-income communities, but featured Homewood prominently in his campaign advertising and created a buzz by holding his victory party in the New Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum, in Homewood.
The Courier piece comes after a November 1 op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in which Burgess opined that the new mayor "should lead the way by prioritizing diversity, empowering minority leaders and working to reduce economic inequality."
In a phone call to alert me about the Courier op-ed, Councilman Burgess expressed an eagerness to engage Homewood residents around the matter of redeveloping the neighborhood.
"I want to have the conversation," he said. We did not discuss the mechanics or logistics of having the conversation (it was a brief call). Does having the conversation mean holding a series of meetings (Homewood Nation would be glad to moderate/broadcast them)? Does it mean having people respond on the Courier's website, or on Facebook, or here?
I have already envisioned a weekly online forum, using Google Hangouts on Air - the Google feature that I used to broadcast live video from Bill Peduto's victory party - but with better equipment.
But that's a little ways down the road. For now, let us know what you think about the Councilman's piece in the comments section below.