A local church tackling blighted and abandoned properties in Garfield will host a community meeting on that subject tonight. Valley View Presbyterian will join with residents in blessing the 200 block of North Aiken Avenue as “Holy Ground,” and deeming it a place where drugs, crime, and other afflictions are not welcome.
Valley View Pastor Reverend Chad Collins says protecting neighbors’ safety is the prime concern of the church, though declining property values and several eyesores are other reasons to scour the area. He says the cleanup effort started when his church contacted the owner of an abandoned property and it turned out she didn’t know it was hers. With the help of church groups and the owner, Valley View cleaned up 237 N. Aiken Ave and it is prepared for demolition, says Collins.
Collins says the idea is to contact the owners of remaining abandoned properties and work with them to clean the neighborhood. He says once the 200 block is taken care of, Valley View will expand its sights to the larger scope of Garfield.
Collins says he invited representing Pittsburgh City Council members Ricky Burgess and Patrick Dowd to the event to see what the community wants, but neither will attend.
The community meeting will be held at 601 North Aiken Avenue, Pittsburgh 15206, at 7:00 tonight (August 19th).