Dairy District success leads to changes from community feedback
October 17, 2017
Carrick Community Council (CCC) members gathered in the Concord K5 auditorium last Tuesday to hear the latest updates on the Dairy District and other community development initiatives.
The meeting opened with the announcement of former CCC board president Trish Hatfield's resignation earlier this month. Board member Chuck Giese will take over as acting president until the annual election set to take place on December 1.
The first presentation was from Jason Tigano, director of real estate for Economic Development South (EDS), who spoke about the latest developments within the Dairy District including Turner Dairy Farm's recent acquisition of Carrick-based Colteryahn Dairy.
He added Turner Dairy wants to continue to support the community. In addition to investing in the Carrick production facility, the company is partnering with EDS on public art installations and other plans to cleanup buildings in the Dairy District.
Another topic briefly discussed was Washington County-based Rivendale Farm's recent purchase of three Dairy District buildings that formerly served as Colteryahn Dairy office space. The buildings are being assessed for redevelopment.
Rivendale Farms and EDS have discussed the possibility of using one of the buildings as a new retail location to sell high-end dairy products.
A resident asked how a retail location would impact parking. Mr. Tigano said he didn't have an answer, but that parking issues are generally a sign of successful community revitalization.
"If we are able to successfully revitalize the community, parking is going to be a problem," Mr. Tigano said.
Mr. Tigano also introduced Josh Berman, director of community food initiatives at EDS, who will now be managing development and programming at the Dairy District site.
"We heard a lot of feedback from the community that it hadn't been managed to the best degree," Mr. Tigano said.
Mr. Berman said he plans to define programming through 2018 by collecting community feedback and regularly attending CCC meetings. He is also seeking volunteers who are willing to "pitch in" when it's time to implement the programming.
Several other development projects were also addressed, including The Berg Place building at 2532 Brownsville Road. EDS expects to finalize ownership within the next month before transferring the property to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. From there, he expects to see $18 to $22 million of investment on the site.
Mr. Tigano warned residents to watch for squatters or misplaced boarding at Berg Place as last year part of the building was demolished after a fire broke out from unlawful occupants.
Also addressed was the former St. Basil school on Brownsville Road. The property was entered into Sheriff's sale, and EDS is discussing development ideas; however, none are "real enough to talk about." Mr. Tigano said he would be surprised if someone attempted to purchase the building in the meantime.
A resident asked the status of a future social club on the corner of Brownsville Road and Maytide Street. Mr. Tigano said a zoning ruling has not been made, and if owners do not consult with EDS and the CCC, they won't get the project through.
"In theory, we would be supportive of this project," Mr. Tigano said. "But we don't have enough information about this project to convey support, and we don't know exactly what it is they intend to do."
He believes a component of the business would include an Irish social club, and the owners are seeking support from city police and fire departments.
Another resident asked about the status of the Wendel Inn on Custer Avenue. Mr. Tigano said the building was purchased by the Church Brew Works, and they're planning to use the building as a banquet hall. He expects it'll be opening in three to four months.
Mr. Tigano urged CCC members to consider additional board nominations for the upcoming election. He said Carrick is on the edge of cutting edge development, and a strong community council is key to community revitalization.
"Folks in the region are taking note of what's happening in this neighborhood, and we should all be excited about it," Mr. Tigano said.
Throughout the meeting, several events were announced:
There will be a community Halloween party at Phillips Park from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are needed, and the CCC is looking for donations in the form of baked goods and cookies.
A happy hour-style "fall fest" celebration will take place on October 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Dairy District pavilion. Beer flights and a Chili food truck will be on-hand.
Volunteers are needed to guide between 100 and 200 University of Pittsburgh Students while they pick up trash around the neighborhood as part of Pitt Make A Difference Day (PMADD) on October 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All participants will meet at the Dairy District.