So as I’ve said many times what we need are both.
We need the URA to continue working with community groups and individuals in helping them renovate individual houses into homes. There are hundreds of houses throughout the city that are setting vacant because the previous owners died, got too old (to maintain them), left the city, or lost their jobs. There is nothing wrong with the houses, they just need renovation. A person can put $10,000 to $50,000 into these houses and have what they would pay $150,000 up in the suburbs, to make them homes.
This is what makes the URA so important because it provides a lending source other than the banks, which are useless. I know firsthand. The banks were terrible 20, 30 years ago when it came to loans for renovating homes in the inner city, and they are far worse today. That’s why the URA and savings and loans like Dwelling House are important.
But this will never handle the problems confronting communities like Lincoln, Larimer, and parts of Homewood, which need entire blocks renovated. This is where Land Banking is so important. Individuals cannot renovate an entire block. They don’t have the money, nor will a person purchase a house on an otherwise vacant block or a lot when most of the other houses are vacant, blighted or empty. This is where you need developers who can afford to do an entire block, and sell them all at once after building them. Without Land Banking, one person with a blighted house can prevent the entire block from being developed.
No matter what people say, no one is going to invest their hard-earned $50,000 and up on property sitting in the middle of a vacant lot, or a lot filled with blighted houses or no houses at all. So it just sits.
Hopefully we will now start seeing urban renovation instead of urban removal. Urban removal doesn’t benefit anyone, the community or city hall. It’s one of the biggest reasons for the decline in city population. Just tearing down houses that could be homes does nothing but create another empty overgrown lot.
Apparently the new mayor understands that renovated and new homes throughout the city means more people, which translates into more tax dollars, which translates into better schools, and more businesses, which translates into more jobs, which translates into a better city.
Hopefully the mayor and City Council will start on this redevelopment project right away to get this city moving in the right direction again. We should be able to see something by the end of the year with the Mayor and City Council working together.
I still would like to know what Darlene Harris’ objections were with the new law. I think that anytime a City Council person or a County Council votes against something they should have to go on record, in print, as to why.
Zone 5 police are in the news again. This time an alleged Black face poster was put in the car of a Black police officer who didn’t see it as being funny. At first rumors had it being a picture of Jordan Miles, but everyone is saying no. The police and city officials said everything had been taken care of, but a letter to the NAACP, Urban League and mayor said otherwise. I’m still waiting for a statement from the FOP taking a stand on this. Well, I guess they are saying why say anything? If things keep going the way they’re going there won’t be any Black police officers to harass or should I say bully. The veterans will have retired, and the handful left will be very near retirement.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)