Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Resolutions: If It's Not for All, It's Not for Us!

Join Us in Making it Known – 

We are a #NeighborhoodforAll #EastLibertyforAll 

Thank you to everyone who came out to the community meeting on Monday, December 12 and the Planning Commission on Tuesday, December 13. We know it has been whiplash for many people who are just now becoming aware of the full scope of the developer’s proposals for East Liberty.

What we all heard loud and clear was that East Liberty needs affordable housing ON THIS SITE, and that East Liberty needs public open spaces that serve ALL community members. 

We can and we will have both of these. Affordable housing, public parks, and new development are not mutually exclusive.

Our message to the City, to the Planning Commission, and to the developers is this:
  1. Commit to affordable housing on Phase Two of the Pennley Place South development, at a minimum level of 20% of units for long-term affordability.*
  2. Deliver on the Council-conditioned Enright Park, which will “be of equivalent size and function of the existing park” and for which “there will be sufficient building setback along the eastern border of the park to protect and preserve the existing trees”.

Why Here?

Concentrations of wealth can be just as detrimental to the community fabric as concentrations of poverty. Creating residential enclaves that isolate residents from their neighbors through either physical design or social structure reduces interaction and our ability to empathize with those who are different than us. It is our intention to break down the barriers that were created by the 1960s “renewal”, not to create new ones in the gloss of 2016 design trends.

The value of the Penn Plaza and Enright Park sites to the community is that they have the potential to provide access to resources, including transit, economic opportunity, groceries, social amenities, and, yes, public open space, to our community members who are most in need of connection and stability, including seniors and those living with disabilities. Affordable housing on this site can make this vision of an #EastLibertyforAll a reality, and the public park can provide the platform for all community members to come together, regardless of age, race, gender, or social status.

The redevelopment of East Liberty in the 1960s that created the Penn Plaza and Enright Park sites took many years of planning and study, and still it created more problems than it addressed. Together, we need to take the steps necessary to ensure that we are not faced with a similar set of missteps in this redevelopment process.


Next Steps

Help us get the message out! We are stronger together and we must stand together to fight for #AffordableHousing and #PublicParks. 

Submit your letters supporting #AffordableHousing and #PublicParks in an #EastLibertyforAll to your elected officials and Planning Commission. ED: Please send your letters and comments to: prior to 12 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017 to get them in the record of the hearing!

Most importantly, plan to attend upcoming community meetings, to be announced shortly, and attend the City’s Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 2 pm. 

Please share this post to your social network and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

*ED 1/8/2017: Some ask "why a developer should be required to have affordable housing on their property?" Outside of the obvious, the reality is that this developer is using public land (the park) to benefit their development. They should therefore be providing benefit to the community at large. The bigger question is, why should WE, the tax paying public, allow a private developer to take apart a public park, destroy its environmental assets, and reconfigure it to their purposes without receiving significant benefit to our community.