South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Caliguiri Plaza is part of the neighborhood in Allentown


August 11, 2009

The new manager of the Caliguiri Allentown Plaza apartments was the guest speaker at the July 30 meeting of the Allentown Community Development Corporation.

Mary Ann Flaherty, the new manager, brought along Michelle Ralston, an asset manager with the Pittsburgh Housing Authority. "The building is under my purview," Ms. Ralston said.

Ms. Flaherty became manager on June 29 and has been involved with the Housing Authority for more than 10 years. "I want to be a good neighbor," she told the community members attending the meeting.

The 104 apartments are occupied by seniors and persons with disabilities.

The staff does regularly scheduled "wellness checks" to help the occupants. "I knock on everyone's door and ask if there is anything I can do for them. For example, they may want to lower or tighten their closet door. We try to fulfill any reasonable request," Ms. Flaherty said.

The building has security personnel and security cameras. One attendee mentioned that at one time the security had been lax.

Judy Hackel, Allentown CDC president, and others asked the visitors for permission to again hold CDC Christmas parties at the Caliguiri center's community room. "We met for years up there and there never was an incident," Ms. Hackel said.

"I'll bring it up with the (Housing Authority) Director of Public Safety," Ms. Ralston said.

Also discussed was the possibility of seniors attending the Allentown CDC meetings now held at the Allentown Senior Center.

Ms. Flaherty said she would consider the matter but commented, "We have surveyed seniors as to why they don't go out at night. A lot of it has to do with fear and being comfortable in their own zone. Also, a big issue is that some of them can't walk that well."

Allentown resident Helen Baney brought a list of issues she wanted to discuss with Ms. Flaherty, who said she welcomed the comments. "It doesn't bother me. I welcome that kind of input. I'll make time to meet with you."

Ms. Baney was concerned about: the erosion of the ground on Allen Street; the unnecessary hacking of flower bushes on Excelsior Avenue; and tree limbs overhanging on the sidewalk on Excelsior and making it difficult to walk.

"It might sound like nitpicking but it may pay in the long run," Ms. Baney said. Ms. Flaherty said she was unfamiliar with the problems that Ms. Baney said "have aggravated me for years" and asked her to meet and point them out to her.

A week after the meeting Ms. Flaherty had not yet met with Ms. Baney. "I'm sure she will. She seemed very sincere," Ms. Baney said.

The phone number for the Caliguiri management office – 412 481-3731 – was announced at the meeting.

Another matter discussed was the CDC board's decision to revise the meeting schedule. The CDC now plans to hold bi-monthly meetings instead of monthly meetings and Ms. Hackel was announcing the change at the second of two consecutive meetings.

However, this time the suggestion met with resistance. Nicole Ballard said that with fewer meetings the regular attendees "would miss a lot" regarding what is happening in the community. The Rev. Vic Cianca said if the organization held bi-monthly meetings due to attendance problems, it would be admitting it was defeated.

Ms. Hackel promised the board would discuss the matter again and would perhaps find a compromise.

Rev. Cianca announced that he would be holding mass at 5 p.m. every Sunday at the Burning Bush House of Prayer. The celebration of the Feast Day of St. Rocco will be held there at 5 p.m. Aug. 16, instead of in Grandview Park, as originally announced.


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