PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The city’s seeing dramatic change. Nowhere has the change been more dramatic than in East Liberty, where luxury apartments and tony stores and restaurants cater to a new class of urban professionals.
“East Liberty was a very challenging area, it was a drug-infested, high crime area, and it has been transformed into a exciting, hot market destination place,” said Councilman Ricky Burgess.
But progress is in the eye of the beholder.
“Progress can be good and bad. You know, if it incorporates the people who have been there the longest,” said George Moses, who lived in one of three public housing high-rises demolished to make way for the change.
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While Moses still lives close by, many of his friends we’re forced out.
“To be told, ‘Well, we’re going to build this, but you’re no longer qualified to be here,’ that’s pretty bad. That’s pretty sad,” said Moses.
The voices against gentrification and displacement have grown louder as local businesses, too, have closed up from changing tastes and rising rents.
“Why can’t we get them to realize there’s enough room in this city for all? There’s enough room for a us all,” said Randall Taylor, an activist.
Councilman Burgess agrees that East Liberty needs a reset. He’s set to announce plans with the Peduto administration to build more affordable housing and establish a new development process to foster and retain home-grown businesses.
“Give everyone the opportunity to participate in a process, to keep as many people here even while you attract new people from around the country to come to East Liberty,” he said.