Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Pittsburgh that might have been

Ok, let me start with a little background so people don't start yip yapping about every deatil.When I was in college I lived downtown. Yes, amazing as it seems I survived 4 years of living there and made the best of it. Eventhough to do anything it was a freezing winter walk over the Smithfield Street Bridge. But what could have Downtown Pittsburgh been like instead of its current state of empty buildings and many panhandlers. Well, here are my thoughts.

Well living downtown for 4 years was tough, I mean it's true there really is nothing to do. Well, you really had to look hard to find something at least. I know a lot of people are rejoicing the Mayor Murphy is not running for re-election but who the hell would want the job he has. It's not like everything he did was so horrible. He at least tried to bring stuff into Pittsburgh. The whole 5th and Forbes project would have been a plus, but all the little shop owners complained they would go out of business. Well what happened...NOTHING! And where are half those shops now CLOSED!

These little mom and pop shops could have been intergrated into the proposed project. Just think of new restaurant's and shops sprinkled with little coffee shops and CD stores(Record Exchange). A crushing blow to the college community downtown (YES, there is one) was the closing of CG Murphy's. They had everything you needed for half the cost of CVS next door. I would have loved a movie theater, some restaurant's that weren't so expensive as a Palamino's. Hell an Applebees would have be great. But because of the strange fear of change Pittsburghers have the Project which was always called "Plan (some letter of the alphabet, there were many)" never materialized.

I know it's also hard to convince retailers to come to a "dying city" but they did have some but as time progressed they lost interest and saw how unable a city was to compromise and left town for bigger growing city's like Cleveland. Yes, I said it! I hope that something eventually comes into downtown. At least the cultural District is growing. It's one of the few thing Pittsburgh has and hopefully will continue to grow. Until then we have the South Side Works, which I guess is similar to what was to be 5th and Forbes and My wish for the North Shore is not to take away all the parking lots to put in Office buildings for Equitable Gas and what have you. I hope the amphitheater gets built and try to woo ESPN to build an ESPN Zone in between the two stadiums think of the attention on Monday Night Football or anything covered on ESPN here. They broadcast live from the one in Baltimore. Here's to a better Pittsburgh in 2005 and beyond.



At 2:37 PM, Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for sharing. The vision thing of what we NEED and what we WANT are out of sync between us. And of course, what we SHOULD do to get to these goals. But, thanks for posting.

Did you use the downtown YMCA when you were a downtown resident?

The Murphy plan would have been a tragic failure. Then what? Just so you know, Lord & Taylor closed. It would be good to stay rooted in a truthful assessment. Lets look to the future and make Pittsburgh better -- and on that we agree. But, let's not churn and burn money that we don't have and never will.



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