Where did you stand on the Salvation Army plans that [fell] through last month?
I am disappointed that our community lost this amazing opportunity and resource after the complaints and outcry from a select few. My goal would have been to work with the Salvation Army, community members, and Lutheran Services Society to find a solution that best fits the needs for all of Bellevue. At the end of the day, I saw the Salvation Army’s proposed community center as a safe place for our community’s children to stay after school, a resource for a variety constructive activities, and a source of nutritious food for children who may otherwise go to bed hungry. We, as a community, need to come together to fill the void left behind in this failed proposal’s wake. I am about working toward finding practical solutions to improve the lives of everyone in Bellevue.
- Work with the Lutheran Services Society to establish a free daycare center for Bellevue Elementary students.
- Create a universal sharing space for varying afterschool activities to ensure all parents and students are aware of local options and find opportunities for new programs. Additionally, create a scholarship program to ensure no child is left out due to a family’s financial situation.
- Support the Center at Bellevue's weekly dinner service. Establish ‘little pantries’ throughout the community to enable people to share food in a situation that allows for neighbors in need to accept without hesitation. Support the community garden and look for opportunities to expand in different areas.
Would you work towards expanding the already existing YMCA?
Yes! I have been a member of the North Boroughs YMCA for as long as I’ve been a resident of Bellevue. In that time, I have seen the shifting demographic of the area outgrow the current facility. I intend to schedule meetings with organizers and educators to establish how to maximize and expand on our local facility.
What's your stance on the status of our business district and how to bring more/better business to Bellevue?
My best approach to rebuilding our business district would be to emulate the success stories of neighboring communities. I am foremost thankful for the fact that we are beginning to see stores on Lincoln Ave put up for sale, rather than for rent. In my understanding, a lot of these storefronts have been sitting empty because building owners have been unwilling to put the money and resources into bringing a space up to code to allow for rental.
I mentioned Dormont at the forum. I have a meeting scheduled with that borough's manager to learn about success stories and obstacles that area has faced over the past few years of revitalization without gentrification.
Here are a few ideas I have been pursuing:
- I spoke with Adam Ravenstahl's office about grants available to help with storefront revitalization.
- I have been looking into the temporary tax breaks other local thriving business districts have provided to new businesses to move into the area. This would be a great way for start-ups to get their footing and incentivize them to stay.
- Based on the suggestion of a community member, I would like to have an incubator or Pittsburgh Public Market-style organization where start-ups can begin to build their businesses. This would feed the business district by building a competitive marketplace, repurposing empty buildings, and encouraging young entrepreneurs.
- Host a monthly community dinner where we feature a section of Bellevue, set up tables and chairs, and invite food trucks and different venders to attend. This is a great way for neighbors to meet and the community to come together, and yet another way to get start-ups invested in Bellevue.