info@alleghenywest.org
806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Letter from the President – June 2017

So what are you doing on Tuesday evening? Our May Civic Council membership meeting saw plenty of both new and old (only in terms of regular attendance) faces — all gathering to get the latest scoop on the many new projects about to get underway in our community. We will all be getting together again on June 13th at 7:30 pm to find out what’s going on. This is where you get the straight story and ask questions, where you can bring your local issues or problems, and most importantly where you and your neighbors decide what we’re going to do about them.

Of course, praise for work well done — and ideas for the future—are always welcome too. At our June meeting we’ll be saying “THANK YOU” to the great many homeowners, tour guides, organizers and volunteers — and, of course, chairperson Carol Gomrick — who made our annual Wine & Garden Tour last weekend a rousing success!

This monthly meeting is where and when we make decisions about our neighborhood — decisions that, in ways both small and large, will affect you. And we always have a good time socializing and enjoying refreshments while we’re at it.

Everyone is welcome – second Tuesday of each month, 7:30 pm, in the Calvary Church social hall, corner of Beech and Allegheny (use the Beech Avenue entrance). The meeting’s usually over by 9:00. It’s also a great way for newer folks to meet your neighbors and get involved! We hope to see you on Tuesday evening.


 
On June 25th of 1962, the second organizing meeting was held for the group that would become the Allegheny West Civic Council. Held in the social room of Calvary United Methodist Church — where the AWCC has met ever since — this session focused on identifying what types of civic action were possible, and how best to be effective as an agent for positive change in a world that seemed hellbent on eradicating the tiny community.

Problems with liquor licenses in the neighborhood were a major concern, as was a perception that a large number of properties generally appeared to be rundown. While those attending the meeting were largely neighborhood residents and local businesspeople, many of those whose properties were problematic were absentee owners without a direct local presence — some just waiting to be bought out for “redevelopment.”

Of particular note was a discussion regarding “state of mind,” in which it was agreed that there was a distinct difference between those who “cared” about the community — now and in the future — and those who simply used it without regard, often causing damage in the process.

Concluding that the solution to this was two fold — educate those who are willing to learn, regulate those who aren’t — a twin path was adopted. The new organization and its members would take “…an objective look at the neighborhood and your own property. Assess assets and liabilities. What are available resources?” At the same time, they would initiate contact with the City Planning Department and local officials to solicit assistance in changing the direction.

Already by this second meeting, there were names in attendance that will be familiar to long-time Allegheny West residents: Shelton, Pusateri, Porter, Smith, Floyd, Davin, Gallagher, Gilbert, Dickenson, Watson, Wirth, Bianconi, Vonfeld, Hite, Johnson, Collins. At this earliest stage, it would have been impossible for these folks to imagine that for some of them the battle that they were undertaking would last thirty or forty years — literally the rest of their lives.

John DeSantis
President, AWCC

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