City Council on Tuesday authorized loans to Rookies to building a deck and pave two parking lots; Shelley Wright to fix the roof on 80-82 Main Street (Wright’s Music Shed); and The Aud to buy the Boylston Street building the restaurant currently occupies.
Even City Hall is getting a face lift. Council approved a payment to Shembeda Floor Covering to install carpeting on the front steps of the building and Room 103. They also awarded a bid to Hennard Construction for renovations to the third floor, including city council chambers.
While the focus in recent months has been the revitalization and restoration Fifth Ward resident Pat Girard told council she believes the city is ignoring neighborhoods.
She said she thinks code enforcement should be working to make sure the outsides of properties are maintained better, and that landlords are living up to their responsibilities as far as upkeep of buildings and properties.
One of her concerns was West Washington Street and West Corydon, both on the route to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Girard is afraid people visiting the campus will get a bad impression of the city because of the conditions of some of the buildings.
Mayor Tom Riel said council has recognized the problem and is working to fix it. In fact, during the meeting council authorized on first reading the creation of two property management officers – at $35,000 each – who would aggressively pursue code enforcement ordinances that are “on the verge” of being re-written.
Riel added that the city is continuing to work on the problem, a majority of which rests with “slumlords.” He said, without mentioning the name, that one landlord who had more than 100 properties now has two or three.
“We’re dealing with it,” Riel said. “Quite frankly, we’ve put one of them, pretty much out of business. So, hopefully, we’ll continue (fixing the problem.)”
Riel noted that he has received comments on how much better the city looks these days.
One part of the city that’s looking better is Veterans Square, but more improvements are on the way.
Among the changes will be new benches and trash receptacles. Chamber of Commerce Director Ron Orris told city council that while the gazebo was being painted earlier this year he noticed that the benches and trash receptacles could use some work as well.
He explained to council that there will be no cost to the city for the project, and it will be paid for through donations in honor of or in memory of veterans or veterans groups.
Main Street Manager Anita Dolan says they’ve already sold two benches.
She says she and Orris had a meeting with the VFW and American Legion a couple of weeks ago, and that they are very happy with the way the square looks right now, and this will be the next step in the renovation. Each of the veterans groups, without any hesitation, said they would buy a bench.
The benches should be delivered in the spring, when Orris and Dolan are also hoping to implement other improvements in the square such as refurbishing of the flower beds.