The idea of Amazon’s second headquarters landing in Pittsburgh has gotten mixed reviews. But the public has mostly been hearing from area officials who are courting the e-commerce giant or local activists working to protect their neighborhoods from the disruption that would inevitably occur.
To escape those extremes, PublicSource recently partnered with the social network site Nextdoor.com to conduct a survey of people from around the region. We received 75 responses from residents of more than 40 Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
The responses showed quite a balance in people who were firmly for or against HQ2 and many in between; several folks shared a handful of pros and cons.
Many proponents felt strongly that the influx of jobs would benefit not only the tech industry but also the region as a whole. They also liked the idea of Pittsburgh gaining attention as a center for big tech companies.
“HQ2 would allow the city to permanently cement ourselves as a tech hub and allow the city to grow its population,” responded Mt. Washington resident Rae Rempel. “We would see more amenities that larger cities have, such as improved infrastructure, increased wages, higher property values and less abandoned homes.”
Several respondents worried that Amazon’s presence would increase housing prices, traffic and gentrification.
PublicSource is one of several media outlets seeking the full text of the bid that city and county officials submitted to lure Amazon. In the survey, we also asked if people felt they deserved to see the bid now or if they think the government is doing the right thing by shielding the city’s competitive advantage. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said officials should release the bid because what’s offered affects them.
“Dropping a large established company into Pittsburgh, and at what cost we don't know because our mayor and leaders involved in this solicitation of Amazon are not being transparent with citizens on what Pittsburgh is giving them,” wrote Shadyside resident Roger Guzik. “I feel we are better to let a company grow here as opposed to us ‘bending over backward’ like was done for USAir, and that did not work out well.”
Jourdan Hicks is PublicSource's community correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.