Wilkinsburg's New Mayor Hopes To Improve Borough's Image In First Term

Jan 10, 2018

As Wilkinsburg's first black female mayor, Marita Garrett, 31, says she wants to address visibility.

“Everyone should be represented at this level," said Garrett, who's served on the borough's council since 2014. "There shouldn’t be a one and only black woman mayor, there should be many others coming down the list, and also with other boroughs.”

Wilkinsburg, which has a population of nearly 16,000, is struggling with blight, attracting economic development and shaking its dangerous reputation. Allegheny County homicide data show there were two people killed there in 2017.

Hopefully her new platform, Garrett said, will let her highlight the good work already going on, like pursuing grant funding, getting more residents to participate in community safety committees and rebranding her community as a peaceful place to live.

“So that we can get more community resources in, and we can expand the partnerships that we already currently have,” she said.

Much of that will be a continuation of the work she started on borough council, she said. In the past year-and-a-half, residents have received assistance for things like “demolition of vacant and blighted properties, improving and enhancing our green spaces, and also creating new transformative spaces that are open to all of our community members.”