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Essential Pittsburgh: Wilkinsburg Attracts Residents With Tour of Vacant Homes

Robyn Lambert
The Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour implores potential residents to see the houses as the homes they could, and used to, be.

If walls could talk could be the premise for a tour of vacant homes taking place this weekend in Wilkinsburg.  The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation and Carnegie Mellon University students are combining their efforts to attract potential residents to the borough. How do they plan to accomplish this task? We’ll find out from Wilkinsburg CDC Communications & Outreach Coordinator Marlee Gallagher and Carnegie Mellon School of Public Policy and Management at Heinz College student Kenneth Chu.

Gallagher says that although they're encouraging a change in the area, the community's overall well-being and identity is still in the forefront of the initiative:

"I don't think it is gentrification necessarily. At the WCDC something that we strive to do and will continue to strive to do is to help the existing businesses that are in Wilkinsburg. We're working on a big small marketing campaign to show the Pittsburgh region and beyond what is in Wilkinsburg, what Wilkinsburg has to offer; and we do want more businesses to move in but its not necessarily to push out the businesses that are there. That's not something we ever want to see happen." -Marlee Gallagher

Also in the program, the Austin-based innovation movement titled "Black Sheep" stops in Pittsburgh to hear stories of renewal on its "America's True North" tour and business contributor Rebecca Harris puts a spotlight on Wilkinsburg. 

BLK SHP (starts at 29:21)

Calling themselves "Black Sheep" (or BLK SHP), Alexa Clay and a troupe of innovative thinkers and creators have left Austin, Texas in search of America's "True North." During their stop in Pittsburgh, they'll be meeting with 12-15 policy makers, entrepreneurs and artists who are helping to re-shape the rust belt in unconventional ways. Clay joins us in studio to explain the BLK SHP philosophy and share stories of renewal from across "America's True North."

Business with Rebecca Harris: Wilkinsburg (starts at 38:05)

Cities are made up of a collection of neighborhoods with unique features and characteristics. On the first Tuesday of the month, business contributor Rebecca Harris will focus on one of the city’s neighborhoods. Today's focus is on Wilkinsburg.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here.

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