Historic districts in Carrick identified
March’s Carrick Community Council (CCC) meeting covered several topics including a historic survey of Carrick, Section 8 public housing, a new construction project in the Verizon building on Brownsville Road, and a pop-up art installation featuring the faces of Carrick residents.
The meeting opened with the results of a survey of Carrick’s historical architecture presented by representatives from Clio Consulting, Michael Baker International, and the City of Pittsburgh. The purpose of the survey was to identify the number of historically significant buildings in Carrick.
According to Angelique Bamberg, principal of Clio Consulting, 1,662 Carrick properties were surveyed in an attempt to find historical interest. While Carrick doesn’t have any properties listed in the national historic registry, three specific residential areas were identified as having historical significance.
The first area is a group of 14 homes on The Boulevard which contain architectural significance. The second is a block on Hornaday Road which was constructed in the 1920s as one of Carrick’s earliest neighborhoods. The third is a group of more than 60 buildings in the Raleigh Square Division which also contain a significant amount of architectural detail.
The four main criteria for historical significance are association with an important event or significant person, architectural significance, or the ability to yield significant archeological information.
The results also suggested that certain areas of Brownsville Road have the potential to be nominated as historic districts which could allow the community to have more control over construction and alterations to existing buildings.
Mr. Bamberg said in order for any of these properties to be listed on the national registrar, someone would have to initiate that process through an official nomination, which requires a research and paperwork. However, the survey results can help to start that process.
She also encouraged residents to work with local preservation groups if they wish to nominate a building for historic status.
Following the survey results, David Weber, chief operations officer of the City of Pittsburgh’s Housing Authority, provided an overview on the city’s Section 8 housing policies.
According to Mr. Weber, any individual or family receiving Section 8 housing assistance must go through a screening process to verify income and a criminal background check. Once approved, Section 8 vouchers are issued and can be used at any rental property if the landlord is willing to accept them.
If any household member commits a crime, the city reserves the right to terminate assistance.
“A lot of times folks think that if there is a bad property, with a bad tenant, and a bad landlord, they think it must be Section 8,” Mr. Weber said. “Nine times out of ten, it’s not.”
Mr. Weber said all landlords accepting Section 8 vouchers must also undergo a criminal background check. Once everything has been approved, the city pays a portion of the tenant’s rent directly to the landlord.
Multiple residents asked if there is a way to see which rental units are accepting Section 8 assistance in Carrick. Mr. Weber confirmed that there is not, and the city does not disclose the identity of any resident receiving housing assistance.
The next topic on the agenda was a proposed construction project at the Verizon building at 2256 Brownsville Road. Steven Affeltrange from LLI Engineering, Inc. and Chuck Amorosa from Verizon presented a concept to replace an emergency generator in the basement.
The current generator, which allows Verizon to continue service during power outages, is outdated and needs to be replaced with a larger model. According to Mr. Affeltrange, the new generator will be quieter than the current one.
The project will also involve adjustments to be made to a tower that houses acoustical padding insulation for the purpose of reducing the neighborhood’s exposure to noise.
“What the tower does is it helps to reduce impact to the neighborhood by quieting sound down to a level that is very acceptable,” Mr. Affeltrange said.
In addition to the construction, the city required that the design also include the addition of 17 new trees on the property for beautification purposes. Since Mr. Affeltrange’s design the only includes 11 trees, Verizon will donate $600 to the community for each remaining tree.
“We put as many as we could on the front facade, then along Overbrook...” Mr. Affeltrange said. “We were only able to give 11 of the 17 required trees.”
Several residents complained about recent graffiti on the Verizon building. Mr. Amorosa said he would put a ticket into Verizon’s real estate department to have the graffiti cleaned.
Mr. Affeltrange said the current timeline has construction set to begin in June. Residents can expect construction vehicles on Dellrose Street between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m ., and there may be some congestion during that time.
The last speakers were members of Leadership Pittsburgh who are planning a pop-up art installation featuring the faces and quotes of Carrick residents. The art installation will be on display at the Dairy District pavilion on May 6.
The pop-up event is an annual project for Leadership Pittsburgh members to apply what they’ve learned throughout the program by organizing a community-based project that highlights a specific neighborhood. Former project sites have included Lawrenceville and Larimer.
The LDI team is in the process of collecting headshots and quotes from Carrick residents. The images will be on display at the Dairy District pavilion on May 6.
Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak also announced that work will begin in April on a new entryway to the recreation center in Philips Park. The councilwoman is searching for volunteers to form a new group called the Friends of Phillips Park that will ultimately help drive the creation of a new master plan for the park.
The master plan would identify new park amenities and evaluate the need for parking bathrooms and other improvements.
The next CCC meeting will be on May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Concord K5 auditorium on Brownsville Road.