Letters to the editor Featured

9:42am EDT July 22, 2002
Why Oakland needs a rebirth

I STRONGLY agree with the main focus of Richard Florida’s opinion (One On One interview, April 2000 issue of SBN) on the importance of Oakland.

I have loved Oakland ever since I was a kid going to Forbes Field. It is the educational and medical center of our metropolitan area and an important cultural destination with the Carnegie and Phipps Conservatory. Also, it has the wonderful, and underutilized, Schenley Park. However, I have to agree with the waitress, “Oakland is a hole.”

We should concentrate our efforts first on converting the Forbes business district into something that attracts rather than repels. An approach between what has been done on Carson Street and what is planned for downtown would seem appropriate — upgrade some of the architecturally interesting buildings and put new ones into the other spots.

There should be restaurants, boutique shops and nightspots. The space in front of the Cathedral of Learning should be converted into a park with a couple of layers of underground parking.

Parking garages should be added, where possible, close to the revived business district. Next, I would enact some tax incentives to encourage private renovation or replacement of the dilapidated housing running south from Forbes and across Bates.

Oakland has all the potential to be one of the true gems of Southwestern Pennsylvania; a magnet for attracting both visitors and new residents. Its rebirth would also spread out to link with Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, the Upper Hill and all of the surrounding neighborhoods.

This would not only rejuvenate the city of Pittsburgh, but our entire region. Where do I sign up?

Gary Rosensteel

McMurray, Pa.

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CMS Mid-Atlantic Inc.