Don’t change the Strip District’s personality

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Recently, some friends from Hilton Head, S.C., stopped in Pittsburgh to visit us. Time was limited, and we had to choose local points of interest for them. They were insistent on the Strip District, as they had heard about it from others. We took them there, and they were delighted, declaring there was nothing else like it anywhere in the country. It was the single most distinctive area in the city. They were glad that it existed and planned to tell other friends.

But, local government is again on the brink of yielding to a developer in destroying a thriving piece of our heritage and getting back into the race for mediocrity and uniformity (“No Historic Status for Strip District Produce Terminal,” Jan. 16). Buncher Co.’s plans to eliminate the produce docks — while temporarily on hold — are only the beginning, you can be sure.

I would think that after what we have seen in the last 30 years, with the fiascoes of Lord & Taylor and Lazarus and the driving out of many small businesses in Downtown (to be replaced by what, junk jewelry stores? fast food?) that we would have learned our lesson. If council yields to every developer’s wish list, there will be no Strip District at all in a decade. The region will be the poorer for its absence and the only ones to profit will be developers.

We cannot afford to lose this unique, convenient, profitable and fun local area. City and county governments need to decide if they work for the residents or for developers. The Strip is a great asset. If it ain’t broke, don’t get tricked into “fixing” it.

Green Tree

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