Certainly, continued local control of the bankrupt August Wilson Center would be an ideal outcome in the legal battle over its future (“Turning the August Wilson Center Into a Hotel Would Be a Grievous Loss for Pittsburgh,” Aug. 11 Perspectives piece by Grant Oliphant). But even if the court accepts an out-of-town developer’s plan for the site, there may be a silver lining.
August Wilson’s birthplace, a state historic landmark, is crying out for attention. The dilapidated house is ideally situated on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District, just two blocks from the Mellon Arena redevelopment project.
Local foundations and city and county entities have earmarked $7.2 million to purchase Downtown’s August Wilson Center. If that effort fails, shifting the money to help preserve Wilson’s birthplace and revitalize the area around it would be a splendid opportunity to honor the playwright’s memory, boost the Hill and further celebrate Pittsburgh’s singular and extraordinary African-American art, music, literature and legacy.