R. DANIEL LAVELLE
R. Daniel Lavelle didn’t have the Democratic Party endorsement when he ousted Tonya Payne from Pittsburgh’s District 6 Council seat four years ago, and he doesn’t now as he runs for another term against Payne, and Franco “Dok” Harris.
But he does have a record of bringing development dollars to the district, improving not only the look of neighborhoods he represents, but also the employment prospects for his constituents. His opponents, he said, have put forward only vague plans.
“This community has seen $630 million in development over the last four years, 11 new housing projects and 1,200 jobs,” he said. “But it’s not all about bricks and mortar, it’s about a commitment to change folks’ lives and building a sustainable Black middle class.”
So while his seat on the Urban Redevelopment Authority board, and his cooperative relationship with Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, who chairs the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board, has yielded significant investment in the district, Lavelle is more interested in its positive effect on residents.
“Physical change in community has an effect, but putting people to work in those buildings is more important. The Ben and Jerry’s shop in Penn Avenue was done with 90 percent Black participation,” he said. “And while the Connelly renovation into a ‘green’ trade school has 59 percent participation, I’m looking at how it will help with what’s below it.”
What’s below Connelly is the 28-acre former Civic Arena site.
“My involvement with Connelly is about that, on the ground level. I’m already talking to the trade unions about what personnel they’ll need over the 10 years it will take to develop that site; how many carpenters, plumbers, electricians, steamfitters,” he said.