Hike through Homewood Recap

Recap as told by: Philip Lawson





On the second week of March this year, Grounded Strategies partnered with Venture Outdoors for an event entitled “Snow Trek: A Winter Hike through Homewood.” With the help of several Homewood stewards and community partners, we had the chance to iterate an oral history of the Homewood-Brushton neighborhood, highlight a few standout institutions, and “get up close and personal” with a handful of well-stewarded community spaces. The event was a tremendous success, and an absolute pleasure to help coordinate. However, I could not keep from noticing throughout our tour, sidewalk structures in the condition of utter dishevelment and disarray.




It’s important for folks reading this to understand that there is not the first trace of hyperbole in my remembering the city sidewalks mentioned above. They were found busted, overgrown, covered with litter and debris, and in some instances, missing entirely. Grounded CommunityCare stewards certainly do a great job with clearing the litter and debris among their neighborhoods when the weather and time in their schedule permits. However, despite the city’s overall neglect of vacant properties and parcels in the Homewood-Brushton neighborhood, it is my position that residents should not be forced to constantly shoulder the brunt of improving their sidewalks in addition to the properties adjacent to them. Further, this utter erosion of sidewalks spaces says quite a bit about the city’s prioritization of underserved and otherwise able-bodied people.

For a municipality that prides itself on being the preeminent leader in “loving thy neighbor,” I suppose it would be the acme of foolishness to make common transitory structures accessible for folks that are otherwise able. I suppose that, because it is a nuanced issue that only affects those that occupy the margins of our society, the city should simply continue its tradition of disinvestment and neglect. It is at this juncture that I’ll drive my heels into this mentality and resoundingly say “do better.” Because I believe in a Pittsburgh that makes space in their budget to adequately respond to the inexcusable concentration of vacant land in Homewood, and I believe in a Pittsburgh that prioritizes us all, one sidewalk at a time.

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