Greg Flisram, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, talks via Zoom to the URA board at its April 16, 2020 meeting.

Latest news from the Urban Redevelopment Authority board

As part of Develop PGH, PublicSource will report here about notable actions and conversations from the monthly meetings of the Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA]. From the May 14, 2020 board meeting

After the May 14 meeting of the Urban Redevelopment Authority board, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they are halting their years-long effort to redevelop the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, following a board decision to delay an approval vote by two weeks. Read the full story here. From the April 16, 2020 board meeting: URA urges banks to step up in coronavirus crisis as state and federal funds fall short

The needs of Pittsburgh’s pandemic-sickened economy have outstripped the government’s cures, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority officials, who told that agency’s board that they’re casting about for more money to lend to struggling businesses. The URA has assembled $3.1 million to make emergency loans to city businesses.

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 (4/7/20): Allegheny County Council Tuesday unanimously approved a measure placing a $15 fee on deeds and mortgages, to fund demolitions of blighted properties, sending it to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for his consideration. 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.

A 2017 photo of the Bedford Hill Apartments in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Bedford Hill is owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Vulnerable communities: How Pittsburgh-area low-income housing providers are responding to COVID-19

Update (3/24/20): The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh will hold its monthly board meeting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 26, remotely. Members of the public can join and listen to the meeting by calling 646-558-8656 and entering 669381214 followed by a #, and can submit comments in advance here. Update (3/20/20): The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh on Thursday evening closed its offices and scaled back its operations to comply with guidance on the novel coronavirus crisis coming from health and public safety officials. Authority employees will continue to "provide remote services" by phone and email, according to a press release. Most social services provided by the authority or by organizations on its behalf are on hold, as are tenant meetings.

Pittsburgh resident paying bus fair before riding (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Kansas City embraced free transit. Here’s what the fare-free debate looks like in Allegheny County.

Across the country, activists and lawmakers have begun to discuss a radically different approach to making public transit accessible to residents: making it universally free to use. This discussion is also happening in Allegheny County, where public transit advocates hope for fares to be eliminated within 10 years. PublicSource has collected answers to key questions to help area residents understand the pros and cons and how Pittsburgh compares to other cities.