PITTSBURGH — Work began Friday to reunite Downtown Pittsburgh and the Hill District after the city was torn apart more than 50 years ago.
Interstate 579 cuts right through the city, dividing the two neighborhoods and making the walk from one to the other quite difficult.
But now, the end of that is near.
The project will essentially build a public park over the highway allowing people to walk from the Civic Arena site to downtown.
“There will be various walkways. There will be new pedestrian and busway stop. There will be bike access points,” City Councilman Danielle Lavelle said.
Activist Carl Redwood doesn’t believe the Cap project is a righting of the wrong. His organization, the Hill District Consensus Group, is worried it’s a sign of downtown taking over the Hill.
“Eight thousand people were displaced,” he said of the project when the highway and Civic Arena were initially constructed.
He and others from the Hill says they need to build low- and very low-income housing for the people who already reside in the community and were pushed out.
“That is a way you begin to heal. You show specific concrete results in term of people being able to live on the land they used to reside on,” Black Political Empowerment Project chairman Tim Stevens said.
Since work hasn’t begun on the housing part of the larger project to develop the former Civic Arena site, Redwood believes there’s still time to push for what the community deserves.
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