PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Out of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been promising a plan to address racial disparities in the city.
The mayor revealed a large part that plan, called Avenues of Hope, exclusively to KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan.
The mayor says it’s a communitywide response, involving the city, the foundations and the corporations to bring once-thriving Black business districts back to life.
While Black Lives Matter protesters have focused on police reform, there have been calls to address historic inequities in the city of Pittsburgh.
“Black lives matter when Black communities matter, when we transform these depressed communities of concentrated poverty into mixed income stable communities,” Burgess told KDKA in June.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has said they’ve dubbed it Avenues of Hope.
Along with councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle, Mayor Peduto says he’ll soon be announcing a plan to make once-thriving Black business districts vital again, enlisting the city’s corporations and foundations in a communitywide effort.
“As we see a growing economy occurring for some, we know it’s not occurring for all. So what if we invested in the storefronts of vacant neighborhood business districts and attracted entrepreneurs from the neighborhood in order to be able to start their own businesses?” asks Peduto.
Lavelle says, “it’s been long overdue, much needed, but finally it appears we’re here.”
To start, Avenues of Hope will focus on transforming two business districts. Redevelopment plans are already in the works for North Homewood Avenue, restoring storefronts while training and assisting Black entrepreneurs to launch commercial ventures.
The same is underway on Centre Avenue in the Hill District, peppered with blighted buildings and vacant lots. Councilman Lavelle says it’s time to bring them back to life.
“I believe we’re going to begin investing in Black developers, Black businesses, Black entrepreneurs, so we can begin reviving avenues such as Centre Avenue to become thriving business district once again,” he says.
Eventually the plan is meant to address a half dozen other business districts, but will start with Homewood and the Hill and will need broad financial support. PNC Bank, for one, has already pledged $10 million dollars towards the effort.