Manchester, one of the city's oldest historic districts, has 84 properties on the city's condemnation list. The list isn't new but Manchester properties are showing up on it in increasing numbers, a scary trend for a neighborhood whose main selling point is its historic fabric.
An "emergency" meeting was held last night at the Manchester Citizens Corp. on Allegheny Avenue, prompted by a letter from Yarone Zober of the mayor's office.
"Folks," it starts, "It is critical for Manchester community, working with City/URA and PHLF [Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation] to construct a broad-based redevelopment plan..."
Some 70 people came out. Rev. James Robinson, a founder of MCC, commandeered the meeting toward the end, saying, "I was here when the residents stopped the bull dozers" in the early 1970s. "We need to develop a plan. I'll be the chairman. Who wants to be on the committee?"
A few hands went up. Rev. Robinson ended up with a list of 16 names and phone numbers. A new plan would update the 2005 Manchester Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, which recommended 100 properties for restoration, 20 for demolition.
In four years, those numbers are close to flipping. Stay tuned for updates on Manchester's frantic dog-paddle to save its architectural heritage.