Trash and blight: We have big work to do

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

old school
This old school is not an anomaly in the city, where we have more and more of them not being used. This one sits largely unseen, behind the vacant Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church on Larimer Avenue in East Liberty.
If you’re out that way on Saturday, you can watch the Explorer’s Club doing “roof” repairs. Roof as in steeple. So they’ll be dangling from ropes.
The school, the church and the rectory have all been vacant for a long time and have suffered degrading abuse by vandals and thieves. East Liberty Development Inc. is conducting a feasibility study to help Kenneth Stevenson, the owner — a pastor and former charter school director — decide on the best reuse.
Meanwhile, people further abuse the site by using the parking lot between the church and school as a dump site.
Even though we’re on the national radar as an up-and-coming-back city, Pittsburgh has an awful lot of evolving to do. 
First, we have to grab these yokels and trashheads up by the collar and shake them into some sensibility about pride and respect, for themselves and others. In other words, as a city, we must begin a strict campaign and enforcement measures to stop the abuse of dumping and litter in its tracks. Fine the hell out of these people. Catch them. Chastise them. Make them visit Portland. Introduce them to Boris Weinstein. Whatever it takes.
This behavior is disgusting, degrading and embarrassing.
Second: We have to get some great minds together to figure out what to do with all the buildings that sit vacant. Something other than what we’re doing now. I don’t know what that is. But we have a ton of blight and the national spotlight is on us. We’re expecting to keep growing.
We need to be getting ready yesterday, y’know? 

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