A vacant home on Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Raise, raze, reclaim: A county proposal has blight-beset boroughs thinking demolition — and beyond

Update (4/1/2020): A proposed fee on deeds and mortgages that would fund the demolition of blighted buildings won the recommendation of Allegheny County Council’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday afternoon, setting up a possible vote of the full council on Tuesday. The seven-member committee, which met via web, voted unanimously to endorse the legislation. Because it creates a new fee, it requires a ⅔ vote of the full 15-member county council to become law. County development Director Lance Chimka projected that it would bring in an average of $2.1 million a year. “I just believe this is in the best interests of the county overall to basically get this passed,” said Pat Catena, president of council.

woman distributing food

Allegheny County exploring range of quarantine options for people who can’t just stay home

Allegheny County is hunting for a location to house homeless and displaced people who contract the new coronavirus but don’t warrant hospitalization, officials confirmed today. Staff at shelters, meanwhile, have begun asking clients whether they are experiencing symptoms and, in some cases, taking temperatures — but don’t yet know what to do when they find a case.

A screenshot of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's March 19, 2020 board meeting, held virtually to allow for social distancing.

Urban Redevelopment Authority to offer $1.3 million in COVID-19 aid

As part of Develop PGH, PublicSource will report here about notable actions and conversations from the monthly meetings of the Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA]. The meetings are typically held the second Thursday of each month. Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board on March 19 responded to the coronavirus crisis with a bevy of measures, while continuing to finance affordable for-sale housing and inching forward on a proposed mega-development along the Ohio River. “Welcome to the world of public authority board meetings in the era of COVID-19,” said board Chairman Sam Williamson as he launched the meeting by teleconference with the board members participating from their homes or offices while about 85 people listened in remotely. He noted the “absolutely unprecedented and scary times we’re living in today.

The Allegheny County courthouse downtown Pittsburgh. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Abundance of caution: 15 deputy sheriffs sent home as one other awaits coronavirus test results

Update (3/20/2020): The sickened deputy has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, but remains off work, according to a press release from the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office today. The 15 deputies with whom that deputy had contact are expected to return to regular duty on Monday. The Allegheny County Sheriff's Office has told 15 deputies to remain home while one of their colleagues awaits the results of testing for the new coronavirus, Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus said early Thursday. "No one has tested positive,” Kraus said, adding that the decision to sideline 15 deputies is “in no way negatively affecting the operations of the sheriff's office." The office’s duties are reduced because of dramatic reductions in court activity and a reduction in the service of warrants, both driven by the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.