So what are you doing on Tuesday evening?
Your neighbors will be gathering at 7:30 to find out what’s going on. They’ll also be making decisions about your neighborhood, and the larger community around us…decisions that affect you.
And – oh by the way – they’ll be having a good time: socializing and chatting and being, well, just neighborly! (And free refreshments help.)
You’re always welcome. It’s the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm, in the Calvary Church social hall, on the corner of Beech and Allegheny (use the Beech Avenue entrance). The meeting’s usually over by 9:00 pm.
Don’t know most of your neighbors yet? All the more reason! Hope to see you Tuesday evening.
In April of 1962, the residents and business people of our community – not yet called “Allegheny West” – were surrounded on every side by an uncertain future. That a few of them were considering banding together for the general good was very bold indeed.
The “powers that be” in the city, county and state were basking in the glow of international media – hailed for “The Great Pittsburgh Renaissance”. The first of its kind in America, this unprecedented vision was even then transforming an industrial slum at the Point into a new state park and the gleaming silver office towers of Gateway Center. At the Melody Tent site in the Lower Hill District, a “residential slum” was giving way to a new entertainment acropolis – anchored by the newly opened Civic Arena, and soon to add concert halls and museums.
A new phrase had been coined right here: “Urban Renewal”. And already announced were the next two planned blockbusters: the extreme makeover of the East Liberty shopping district and the complete demolition and replacement of the former City of Allegheny town center. In each of these projects, hundreds of substantial buildings would be demolished to make room for an entire new city – formed in the image and likeness of the American suburb.
This new city rising on the Northside wasn’t limited to the former center of Allegheny. There were several big satellite projects that would extend this grand vision across all of the lower Northside. This new “suburb in the city” would have its very own interstate highway slicing east to west. The neighborhoods of Chateau on the west and Deutschtown to the east, along with the length of the Allegheny Commons park, would provide the highway’s route and right-of-way.
The neighborhood north of the Allegheny Commons park would be leveled and replaced with a vast complex of garden apartments. An immense public housing development would level and replace much of the Manchester neighborhood. And the land immediately to the west of the park would be divided between an industrial park along the highway and a county college campus.
Citywide, there were thousands of businesses and residents being displaced by eminent domain takings of entire neighborhoods. And nationwide the broadest public sentiment was enormously supportive of this concept. If the Smoky City could do it, anything was possible.
“Out with the old, in with the new.” And Pittsburgh was finally at the forefront of an important new urban movement.
But buried deep in those Master Planning blueprints were a handful of tiny streets. And on those streets, a few ordinary people had started looking for a way to be heard.