Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Where credit is due

Frequent readers of this blog--I think there may be enough to field a softball team--know I bash the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority with regularity. So it's only fair that I now praise the URA for a project that I think worthy of its investment--residential redevelopment in Homewood. It's a grass-roots project that is spearheaded by a community organization, Building United of Southwestern Pennsylvania, which purchased the site of a former public housing complex in order to build single-family homes. The mortgages will be partially subsidized by the URA, and representatives of Building United say more people have been pre-qualified for mortgages than the number of homes that are available. (The URA also gave the organization a grant to tear down the public housing complex, and Building United lined up private financing for construction of new single-family homes.)

This is the formula for successful urban renewal that is described in the book "Comeback Cities". The book demonstrates that neighborhood organizations, through a mix of private and public investment (but acting with relative autonomy from government officials), can revitalize low-income communities and rebuild social capital. We'll see how it works in Homewood.


Blogger fester said...

Jonathan: Couple Comments:

1) This is a fairly typical URA project --- work with a community group, provide cash, financing expertise and some handholding to accomplish a useful project in a neighborhood.

2) Can I play right field? I can not hit, I can not catch, and I can barely throw. All I am good for is getting and drinking beer.


8:19 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'm glad to hear the URA is involved in a lot of these projects. (Though I heard that no long after he was elected, Mayor Murphy basically told a lot of community groups to get bent.) They still need to get out of the Downtown real estate business and stop subsidizing cookie-cutter retial projects.

8:55 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

And I'd add that a blogger softball game would probably not be a pretty site.

11:49 AM

Blogger djhlights said...

As long as you bring the beer Fester and there isn't a show I'll be there and I can even play some ball.

Jonathan, I'd have to say a collection of bloggers doing anything is not a pretty site. That's the entertainment value though.

4:05 PM

Blogger Maria said...

"...I'd have to say a collection of bloggers doing anything is not a pretty site."

I resemble that remark!

4:30 PM

Blogger O said...

As long as Fester doesn't sing.

4:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, is Carrie Furnace the new Fifth & Forbes, this time for a county executive who hasn't had the years in, yet, to realize nothing good will come of this:

You know, I'd take the URA a lot more seriously if the board didn't hire Sala Udin's son recently. Not that there's a conflict of interest there, seeing as the departing councilman is on the URA board and, well, blah, blah, blah..

It doesn't matter. It's a plaything of hack politicians and their cronies-cum-developers, and a select few of them at that.

In a better world, the URA would simply go away so we can give prosperity a shot.

2:19 PM


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