Know what a MILLENNIAL is? Broadly defined as folks in their 20s and 30s, this large young segment of the population is being chased by every community and business in America. They are recognized correctly as the future: those who will bring vitality and shape the course of the nation across the next 50 years. The most popular yardstick of success among American municipalities is currently their ability (or inability) to attract this critical next generation of residents.

So imagine our delight in learning that IN ALL OF PENNSYLVANIA, the Allegheny West and Manchester zip code 15233 is second only to Lawrenceville (15201) in attracting millennial residents between 2011 and 2016 – increasing our share by 41.5% during that time. Our Zip Code is now 49% Millennial, with 644 as of 2016!

What we have in Allegheny West is exactly what these folks are seeking, and that is not by accident. Across more than half a century, the AWCC and its members have focused intensely on creating a neighborhood which preserved and enhanced its architectural and historic heritage, provided outstanding quality of life for those who live here, and a pleasant balance of local business and community amenities to serve those residents. From the beginning, the strategy was simple: if you build it, they will come. They have, and they continue to do so in increasing numbers.

But as far as we’ve progressed, we certainly have plenty more to do.

Far too much of our neighborhood is vacant land, where surface parking lots generate enough money as an amenity for suburbanites on just ten days a year to prevent new homes and businesses from being built on those sites instead. Replacing the impacts of empty asphalt, congested traffic, and bad fan behavior with hundreds of new neighbors, new amenities, and much needed new tax revenue for our City continues to be a long awaited priority.

Inappropriate and disruptive uses continue to impact their neighbors, important buildings continue to deteriorate in the hands of unconcerned absentee owners, and the lure of a quick buck continues to attract speculators whose greed is conveniently oblivious to how their neighbors are affected. All of these require consistent and aggressive vigilance, as well as progressive development to counter them.

Staying on mission has always been a challenge – none of these issues is new. However, Allegheny West has always been extraordinarily effective at persistently overcoming all of those and more – just as we will continue to do going forward.

The Millennials have voted with their feet. And that’s a sure sign that we’ve been doing a lot right!

John DeSantis
President, AWCC