Friday: Into your Weekend Warmongering…

Engaging Justice JWSS 1055

 by Bram Reichbaum

You can’t get into the Special Election in Dowdville, without discussing Buncher Comapny’s development plans!

Major riverfront development is rumbling as though to proceed regardless of the landowner acquiring sought-after public financing and regardless of getting to demolish part of a very long historic building.

Shame only in that the setbacks from the river bank for building probably ranked highest on my Buncher Country wish-list. As this comprises part of the public’s joyful right-of-way along its rivers at what should be a high-density spot and the environmentalists are raising alarms about river bank erosion… well, they’re not making any more land. So that’s a cost.

Strategies for how to proceed as Buncher signals its hand are hard to formulate. Ceoffe Jr. took a shot at explaining his approach on his “Neighbors for” Facebook page, and Deb Gross on her own page links pointedly to Pikes Place Market.

Not your favorite type of election issue? I don’t know. State oversight is always a fun one.

Speaking of state oversight and our financial situation, yes, in Darlene Harris’ possible bid for Mayor…

The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board voted today to commit $16.5 million to a $106 million effort to replace or add hundreds of new homes in Larimer.

The authority board’s vote comes a day after Pittsburgh City Council postponed, for a week, its own vote to commit an identical amount to the revamp. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Councilman Burgess chairs the city’s quasi-independent Housing Authority, which can spend many millions from HUD for such purposes.

Councilman Peduto was among the several weighing whether, from what and how easily the City itself can pony up $16.5 million for this private residential development in Larimer. He took a moment to note that despite the plethora of excellent press Pittsburgh has been getting for not being Detroit, that our financial picture is actually a lot worse than is being reported. And it’s true, the core and region are making great gains in addition, while the City’s pension crunch will be exponential.

The Council of Nine are going to take another week to look at the $16.5 million.

But not before Council President Darlene Harris was adamant at length during the discussion that “figures lie and liars figure,” that Council has always found a way to come up with money when it wants to, that poor communities always get the short end of the stick and that Darlene Harris is all about poor communities.

Councilwoman Kail-Smith, referee extraordinaire, noted the political overtone.

Council members Burgess and Peduto seemed to work through the entire discussion without issue, for what it’s worth. Take that week by week.

Which brings us to finally: Council voted unanimously to throw a question on November’s ballot about the police residency requirement. I think I had the wrong impression of the likelihood of the arbitration panel ruling to allow residency to be fair game for the bargaining table under present conditions. At any rate, if I’m the only person in Pittsburgh who fancies there are more urgent things on the public policing wish-list, and who doesn’t think the residency requirement is proving to be all that determinative, that’s fine.

There was also some jazz about police training.

Look alive, friends and neighbors!

13 thoughts on “Friday: Into your Weekend Warmongering…

  1. BrianTH

    There is some risk involved, but I'd guess a successful effort in Larimer along the lines of what they are planning would likely end up cash flow positive for the City.

  2. Bram Reichbaum

    The plan has a link.

    The plan part of the plan is a little hard to find. The groups have only recently come together behind it, so I'm not sure if it's contained in a 2010 Vision link, or if I'm missing it, or if it's not at that stage. The funding from HUD partially entails a grant opportunity / crisis with a deadline.

  3. Bram Reichbaum

    The plan looks great as a street grid and a series of shaded blocks: a combination of “affordable” housing and “mixed-income” housing, some of which is mixed use, with a park around two sides of the perimeter.

    And there is truly a stunning amount of vegetation down main street in the cover sketch. If we build this much green infrastructure in Larimer, can we get rid of one of those Alcosan holding tanks? 😉

    I find myself really hoping that they don't skimp on weighting important architectural and design considerations. The idea of re-invigoration of memory instead of alien landing.

    I'm hoping what appears to be Stage 1, the Larimer / Meadow / Carver corridor is either a fair mix of income, or else the rest of the plan as described and supported is set absolutely in stone.

    I couldn't possibly tell 'ya from here if it's worth finding the $16.5 million now, “by the way” style in the middle of a budget year. Because that's actually a lot of money. Emergencies, messes and clean-up are triggered by less. But if the plan CAN succeed because what is outlined so far is good enough, and because developer continues to listen to the community after they cash the check and is for real, then it will be time to party like it's 2999.

  4. USAn

    Regarding the old “historic” produce wholesale building in the strip – unless someone is going to return it back to its original use – a wholesale (often small) farmer-to-(often small) retailer market, there is no point in -not- tearing the eyesore down.

    When I visit Toronto, I always notice their large wholesale farmer-to-retailer produce market facility on the western side of the city – like we used to have in the strip – and not coincidentally, also notice the wide variety of small grocers, almost always local-grown produce, and reasonable prices in the city.

  5. Anonymous

    Best part of the election in Dowdville is watching the “progressives” adopt all of the machine tactics they so hated in Ravenstahl. Jobs promised, careers threatened, arms twisted, voter fraud, etc.

  6. Anonymous

    There is a plan in the works that would get it right, but first we need the new mayor and a cooperative Buncher. It would not be the original use but one inspired by it and other great models from around the country. A 21st century terminal if you will…that enhances the strip and helps it grow in the right way. One clue: The Pennsylvania Railroad VP who built it, charged no rent to the tenants, because they noew the increased traffic in shipping made them the real money. The first incubator/real estate anchor… in the 1930s!


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