Vivian stands in her doorway at the Penn Plaza apartments. She is one of the complex’s last remaining residents. (Photo by Maranie Rae Staab/PublicSource)
Vivian Campbell cannot imagine her life away from East Liberty. For her, leaving the neighborhood would mean interrupting her family’s legacy. Vivian’s family settled in East Liberty 125 years ago. It is where their American story began.“I am fifth-generation East Liberty. My great-great grandfather moved from Italy and settled here in 1892.”
For the time being, Vivian — one of the last residents of the beleaguered Penn Plaza apartments — is able to stay in East Liberty. Last week she found out that she and three other residents would be moving three blocks away from Penn Plaza to Mellon Orchards on Friday, March 31, the eviction deadline for all Penn Plaza residents. At first glance, the new residence seems like a solution. But it is a temporary fix. Previously “mothballed,” Mellon Orchards has been undergoing renovations to become habitable for Vivian and the others who are to move in. Vivian hasn’t yet seen the apartment she is moving into. That is a luxury she has not been afforded.