Save Race Street group celebrates 4th year

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A group of Homewood residents who came together in November 2008 to combat blight and crime on their street celebrated four years of working together this month.

Minister Terry D. Fluker took the lead in organizing his neighbors after a double homicide occurred near his Race Street home in July 2008.

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REV. TERRY FLUKER, founder

With assistance from Operation Better Block Inc., a Homewood nonprofit, he called a meeting of Race Street residents on Nov. 1, 2008. Those who attended agreed to form the Save Race Street Committee, a block association for all of Race Street, with block captains for each of the street’s five blocks.

On Nov. 3, the committee celebrated their fourth year with an event at the Diverse Banquet Hall, on Kelly Street. The group’s fourth year has been an especially busy one. During winter and spring, the committee worked with the City of Pittsburgh, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and Tree Pittsburgh to plant 20 new trees on Race Street. The Arbor Day weekend planting also drew volunteers from Carnegie Mellon University.

In June, staffers from Growth Through Energy + Community Health joined residents to construct a raised flower bed on a City-owned vacant lot at 7427 Race. And in September, Committee members worked with volunteers from the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies and St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Oakmont to transform two vacant lots at Race and Collier Streets into a mini-park, complete with a walking path. The project was funded by a grant from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Love Your Block program.

The committee’s work drew the attention of the Young Preservationists Association, who named Race Street one of 2012’s “Top 10 Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area.” In addition to celebrating these accomplishments, the committee plans to seek their neighbors’ approval of “Race Street 2020,” a long-range neighborhood development plan. The plan is based on ideas from residents and others who attended a planning session last November.

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