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Churchill residents continue protests as council sets a date to vote on Amazon proposal

Churchill resident Rose Salata spoke at a protest against a proposed Amazon development on Monday.
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Churchill resident Rose Salata spoke at a protest against a proposed Amazon development on Monday.

After 14 meetings and more than 57 hours of hearings and public comment, the Churchill Borough Council will soon vote on a proposal to turn a former Westinghouse site into an Amazon distribution center. But some residents are not done speaking up against the plan.

A few dozen Churchill residents and members of community groups, including Pittsburgh United and Lawrenceville United, gathered Monday afternoon in front of the Churchill Borough building to protest the development.

They asked the council to “say ‘no’ to Amazon.”

Residents who oppose the project claim it could lead to more traffic and air pollution in the mostly residential area. Those who support the development said it could help bring much-needed revenue to the region.

Anthony Wilson, a Churchill resident who does not support the development, called the plan “irresponsible” due to its proximity to two schools: Woodland Hills High School and Pace School.

“No amount of money is worth anyone being hurt or worse,” he said.

Allegheny County Councilor Bethany Hallam asked the Borough Council to consider “how Amazon will impact [the] community” and how it could change life for residents.

The Texas-based real estate developer Hillwood Development Company is leading the project, which would take over the former George Westinghouse Research Park in Churchill. According to plans the company submitted to the borough, Hillwood plans to invest $300 million in the development. The company estimates the 133-acre site could generate more than $11 million in annual tax revenue for the borough of Churchill, the Woodland Hills School District and Allegheny County.

Churchill resident Rose Salata said the protestors will continue to speak against the development.

“We will continue to stand together and stand against Churchill Borough becoming Amazon Borough,” she said.

The Borough Planning Commission recommended approving the project’s application earlier this year, but members of the Borough Council won’t cast their votes until later this month. The Council will meet over Zoom on December 21 at 6pm.

Amazon did not comment Monday on either the protests or the planned vote.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at