On Monday, ground was broken for a new housing development in East Liberty by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Rob Stephany of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Councilman Ricky Burgess and several community activists.
To be completed in 14 months, the development will be a new 71-unit rental housing structure on Collins Avenue, in close proximity to the East Busway and new commercial developments in East Liberty.
Called Liberty Park II, it will give residents who were relocated when the Liberty Park high rises came down an opportunity to move back to their neighborhood. Also on the location of the High Rises is a Target store scheduled to open soon.
The first phase was the Fairfield Apartments, completed in 2007. It consists of 124 mixed-income apartments. It is fully occupied.
The total cost of the project $15.7 million, of which 6.4 million comes from public sources.
Community activists have been involved in ensuring the original residents of the neighborhood did not get priced or moved out with all of the changes occurring in East Liberty. Aletha Sims. President of the Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty has been part of the process. "Everyone remembers the high rises that were in East Liberty. When the plans were for them to be demolished and rebuilt, you heard from the developers, you heard from the politicians, you heard from business owners - who you didn't hear from were the people who actually lived there. There were plans made for our homes and we didn't have a say," she said.