Three years ago my husband and my three wild boys made a huge change in our lives. We sold our home in Dallas, quit our jobs, and moved to the South Side…a homecoming for me as I was born in Pittsburgh. We opened up a coffee shop and moved our family upstairs excited to live just as the Kohler's did in the 1880s.
Why….because we wanted to raise our kids in a historic Pittsburgh neighborhood. Change is scary, but change can be good and we are happy we took the risk. My kids go to Phillips Elementary School (right here in South Side) and it is wonderful! They play soccer, basketball and wiffle ball with Coach Steve at the Ormsby Recreational Center. They swim at the pool in the summer and ride their bikes to the pretzel shop as often as they can convince me to take them.
We love to sit on our stoop, draw with sidewalk chalk and visit with our neighbors. They love to walk down Carson Street and find a new restaurant to visit. If you ask the boys what their favorite activity is…sliding down our 125-year-old banister wins hands down. This is the South Side they see and they love it!
My adult eyes see more (and I am sure you do also)…..and that is why I am taking action.
I am a member of the Improvement District Steering Committee. I am not paid…I volunteer my time and I must say it is not easy juggling a 3, 6 and 8 year old. I joined the committee because I want this neighborhood to have a voice.
As a member of the committee, I am learning about the strong history and sense of community many folks remember and mourn. As a newcomer to the South Side, I see many wonderful things that benefit my children today and I do not want to lose them. I want families to stay in the South Side!! I believe the presence of children playing is a sign of a healthy neighborhood.
South Side has too much to lose to wait for the city to find the funds to fix the playgrounds and parks…or to repair the curbs…or to update the lighting on the side streets. The improvement district can solve these problems. These are things that we can fix.
I know there are problem bars, but there are also great businesses that are already giving back to the South Side. Many do so silently and will continue, but the improvement district allows them to also have a stronger voice. It is not easy, but we need to do more than just point fingers. We need to take action.
Change is scary, but change can be good and I believe an improvement district is a wonderful opportunity for this neighborhood.