The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority planned to purchase over 220 properties at a city treasurer’s sale in the city’s Middle Hill area this Friday, April 28.
But thanks to a public outcry from community members, and a letter denouncing the action signed by those such as Marimba Milliones, Carl Redwood and other groups, the sale is off—for now.
“We, the undersigned, are not in support of this landgrab that has put the Hill District, its residents, stakeholders and leadership under unjustifiable duress,” the letter said, addressed to Mayor Peduto and Robert Rubenstein, executive director of the URA.
Milliones is the executive director of the Hill District Community Development Corporation. Others in support of the letter included, among others, Urban Innovation21, Hill House Association, Hill District Ministers Alliance, and the Ebenezer Development Corporation.
“The Hill District is uniquely positioned for community-driven transformation. It is the only Pittsburgh neighborhood with a comprehensive master plan, two community benefits agreements, coordinated leadership and a critically-acclaimed business district plan and Greenprint,” the letter continued. “As such, it is both surprising and unacceptable that the city of Pittsburgh and Urban Redevelopment Authority have consorted to once again disempower hundreds of poor, working- and middle- class African American property owners by triggering an aggressive city, county and school district tax collection process upon tax-delinquent property owners.”
Carl Redwood, a board member of the Hill District Consensus Group, said it was unusual to see that high of a percentage of properties up for sale in just one part of the city. The original treasurer’s sale was going to involve roughly 330 units citywide.