By Andy Sheehan

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BRADDOCK (KDKA) — After years of blight and decline, Braddock is coming back in big and stunning ways.

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New housing, new restaurants, urban farms and new stores are popping up on Braddock Avenue.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the Braddock Civic Plaza.

“Little bit by bit, you are continually rising us from ashes to beauty,” Richard Wingfield of the Unity Baptist Church said at the ceremony.

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A project to tie it all together, transforming a vacant lot into a new Civic Plaza in the heart of town. It will be a gathering place for the entire community between the residential neighborhoods and the central business district.

“So the goal of the park is to have those two — the great place to live and the place to work and have commerce and exchange — all connect together around the park space,” architect Ken Doyno said.

Braddock has been on an upward trajectory for the past decade but hit a speed bump when UPMC Braddock shut down. New housing sprung up in its place and now the Civic Plaza will command the rest of the site.

Braddock is already becoming a mecca for young artists, urban homesteaders and hipsters who are drawn by cheap housing and an increasingly vibrant street scene, but it’s also home to an elderly population, longtime residents and hopefully anyone else who wants to relocate here.

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“The new generation, as you say hipsters, they’re welcome to,” Braddock council President Tina Doose said. “There’s no one who is not welcome in Braddock. We want diversity.”