I Love Homestead ♥

16 Mar

This morning we went for a walk out of our small neighborhood and into Homestead’s Eighth Avenue corridor.

If you’ve never driven through the area, its almost shocking how blighted the main street is.  It lies in stark contrast to the bustling developed area called the Waterfront, just beyond the train tracks.  I sometimes think its a statement by the public – how many areas are completely blighted and then separated by train tracks from one of the most popular consumer destinations in Pittsburgh?

Something is wrong here, people.

I have a meeting on Monday with someone from the Enterprise Zone.  What is the Enterprise Zone you ask?  It is an organization which helps turn blight around in the Steel Valley, which has been correctly labeled an impoverished area.  Bringing businesses, especially green businesses, to the main street could turn the image of the entire Steel Valley around.  When people feel like there are great places to shop and eat, they aren’t afraid to move to areas and reinvest their tax dollars there.  For example – the South Side of Pittsburgh.  If you are new to the ‘Burgh, you may not even know what South Side used to look like.  Trust me, it weren’t pretty.  It was predominantly low-income mill workers in ethnic clusters (as was Homestead, to be honest).

Between 10-15 years ago, a developer approached Homestead to turn one of Andrew Carnegie’s defunct steel mills into a redeveloped brownfield.  The end product was incredible and has done so much for the Steel Valley.

Before:

 

And after:

While I’m not thrilled that there are so many parking lots and not so many pedestrian/bike areas, I am glad that there is commerce happening in my area.  However, if you think of it in terms of social justice, much of the money being made at the Waterfront is NOT being put back into Homestead.  Many people forget that they are the same place.

Anyway, that’s my morning rant.

I will be meeting with someone from the Enterprise Zone on Monday to find out how businesses can get help to anchor themselves to Eighth Avenue.

 

 

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