LIONEL HARRIS addresses the crowd during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Teenie Harris Center, Nov. 1. Lionel is the son of the famed Pittsburgh Courier photographer. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

‘I saw it and thought, this is amazing.’

When Lionel Harris drove up to the corner of Kirkpatrick Street and Bedford Avenue in the Hill District for a ribbon cutting ceremony a week ago, he was stunned to see the new community center named for his father, famed Pittsburgh Courier photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris.

“The residents came to all the meetings, met with the architects, gave input. Everyone was committed, and that’s why it’s been successful.”


Executive Director, Pittsburgh Housing Authority

The lights above the center’s doors are designed to look like Harris’ iconic camera—with the bulbs where the flash would be, and the railing of the center’s porch featuring silhouettes representing Harris with his camera in his trademark hat and coat.

“I came up and saw it and thought, this is amazing,” said Lionel at the Nov. 1 ceremony. “He loved this city so much, and the Hill District, and its people were important to him. It was beautiful because the people were beautiful. And they still are, and this—this is just amazing. Thank you to everyone who helped do this.”

Everyone who helped included the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, the Hill Community Development Corporation, The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Housing Authority, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and developer Keith B. Key.

The community center is part of the city housing authority’s Middle Hill development, and consists of 52 mixed-income rental homes, all but 15 are reserved for low-income families. There are 20 three-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units, and four one-bedroom units.

Mayor Bill Peduto said he was most proud of the project’s economic development benefit.

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