Materials from 9th Ward Block Watch on 8/21/2018

In case you missed the 9th Ward Block Watch on 8/21/2018, here are the materials that were shared:

Join us on 9/18/2018 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Lyceum for the next 9th Ward Block Watch.

Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

June 20, 2018

Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation are pleased that 44th and Summit Development LLC has voluntarily withdrawn the demolition permit application for the Holy Family church, filed on May 29, 2018. Completed in 1940 to serve the growing Polish immigrant population in the Lawrenceville area, the church is a contributing building to Lawrenceville’s current nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places and one of the neighborhood’s most iconic buildings.

Lawrenceville United’s (LU) mission is to improve and protect the quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents. Lawrenceville Corporation (LC) serves as the catalyst and conduit for responsible growth and reinvestment in the Lawrenceville community. Together, LU and LC steward development in the neighborhood, ensuring that individual projects comport with neighborhood plans and values, and contribute to the authenticity of the neighborhood. As a part of this effort, our organizations created a community process that provides a forum where new development projects can be discussed, vetted, and measured against community plans and priorities.

Several years ago, LU and LC worked with the property owners on a robust community process for their proposed redevelopment of the former Holy Family Church and School for residential housing. This community process included large community meetings as well as smaller focus-group sessions with residents from different impact areas. Hundreds of residents participated in the process. In response to articulated concerns, the owners revised their plans to reduce the overall unit count while increasing the parking. Notably, the adaptive re-use of the historic church structure was central to the plans. LU and LC publicly supported these revised plans. Documents from this community process are available on LU’s website at www.LUnited.org.

Our organizations were hit unexpectedly with the recent demolition permit application without advance notice, and we viewed the proposed demolition as a serious deviation from the agreements and commitments made by the property owner. In response, the LC and LU co-submitted a nomination to the City’s Historic Review Commission for historic listing of the Holy Family Church.  Prepared by Preservation Pittsburgh with support from the Lawrenceville Historic Society, the nomination ensures that—for the near term—any and all proposed exterior alterations of the church must be reviewed and approved by the Historic Review Commission before they take place.

44th and Summit Development LLC withdrew their demolition application on Friday, June 16th and released a statement indicating that they are committed to working with the community to formulate a new path forward. LU and LC appreciate this orientation and remain fully supportive of responsible redevelopment on the property that aligns with community priorities.  The continued dilapidation of a vacant and blighted 1.5-acre site in the heart of Central Lawrenceville is not beneficial to neighbors or the community at-large. We look forward to working in good faith and in earnest with 44th and Summit Development and other partners on a community-supported plan for redevelopment of the site that includes the preservation of the sanctuary.

We thank Mayor William Peduto, Councilwoman Deb Gross, Preservation Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Historical Society, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for their support in preserving this historic church.

Update on Burglary Uptick

Lawrenceville has seen a recent uptick in burglaries of both residences and businesses from April 2018 to present, particularly concentrated in Lower Lawrenceville and along Butler Street.

 

Police seeking help identifying suspects

Camera footage of suspects has been collected (see below) and residents are encouraged to call 911 with any information on the identity of these suspects, or if residents see these individuals.

Photo 1: Suspect from Industry burglary, picture shared by Zone 2 Police.

 

Video 1: Camera footage of individual seen taking (and later returning) item from private property on 4/29/2017, the same night as a number of burglaries across Lower Lawrenceville.

 

Video 2: Camera footage of individual appearing to “case” homes in Lawrencville on 5/23/2018, the same night that various burglaries occurred on this block and across Lower Lawrenceville.

 

Preventive Measures

Zone 2 Police encourage all residents to review this document on preventive measures to avoid burglaries and prevent being an “easy target.”

 

Have a camera? Add your location to our database.

LU shares this database with Zone 2 Police so that they can reach out if seeking footage for a nearby incident. You can voluntarily add your location through this Google Form, calling us at 412-802-7220, or emailing us at info@LUnited.org.

 

Putting these burglaries in context

While these burglaries are cause for concern and should be taken seriously, crime in Lawrenceville has been on a steep downward trend for years. For instance: between 2010 and 2017, all Part 1 crimes decreased by 41% and burglaries decreased by 68% in Lawrenceville; between 2016 and 2017, Lawrenceville saw a 16% decrease in Part 1 violent crimes, a 7% decrease in Part 1 property crimes, and an 8% decrease in Part 2 crimes; with a total crime rate of 55 per 1,000 residents, Lawrenceville is the safest neighborhood in Zone 2 Police and has a significantly lower rate of total crime per 1,000 residents than the City of Pittsburgh overall.

 

Final Report from Just Collaboration on Diversity & Inclusion Work

In the first half of 2018, Lawrenceville United contracted with Just Collaboration to work with our organization on goals related to our Diversity & Inclusion and Equity organizational values. As part of this process, Just Collaboration offered multiple trainings to the staff and Board of Lawrenceville United, and also did an external survey of Lawrenceville residents to understand how welcoming and inclusive the neighborhood is. Thank you to all who participated in this survey.

As the last part of her work with Lawrenceville United, Mary C. Parker of Just Collaboration presented a final report on the results of the contract and the survey to Lawrenceville United members at the Spring 2018 membership meeting. To view this report, please click HERE.

Interested in being part of LU’s ongoing efforts around diversity, inclusion, and equity? Join our Committee or give us feedback by emailing info@LUnited.org or calling us at 412-802-7220.