Attacking neighborhood blight was the project of Grace Memorial Church in the Hill District when they held their Holy Ground neighborhood meeting.

The church has identified several properties that need to be torn down, storm sewers that are in disrepair and need to be replaced and vacant lots overgrown with weeds that the city will have to use heavy equipment to clear them as targets.

FALLING HOUSE—Ladies point out a dilapidated house with a porch that starting to colapse.

Guests included Guy Costa director of Public Works, Sergei Matveiev, director of Bureau of Building Inspection, Melissa Rubin, spokesperson for Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. The community expects to get commitments from the officials to address these problems.

The action will include a public meeting with the officials and testimonies from neighbors about the problems and then a walking tour of the problem locations.

“This community is a strong community and will not stand for this type of degradation in our neighborhood anymore. We want the physical space to more accurately reflect the spiritual nature of our neighborhood,” said Rev.David B. Thornton, pastor of Grace Memorial. “We are starting here, attacking the blight closest to our place of worship, but it’s all holy ground and we want to see all of Schenley Heights cleaned up and reflecting of the strong spirit of the community.”

This action is the latest by a Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network member during its Holy Ground Summer campaign. Other churches have gotten commitments from the city to tear down abandoned buildings and from the police to heavily patrol problem spots.

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