Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval for a $230 million redevelopment project in Larimer, which focuses primarily on East Liberty Boulevard and Larimer Avenue. District 4 Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak cast the lone "no" vote.
Rudiak, who represents Carrick, Bon Air, Brookline, Beechview and Overbrook, said she had reservations about the process, partly because she’s only known about the project for 3 weeks.
“This is literally the largest amount that we’ve been asked to take out our city capital budget for one project in one neighborhood,” Rudiak said. “I think that three weeks of conversation is not nearly enough.”
Now that council gave final approval for the project, the city is contributing $12 million. That will be paired with $16.5 million from the Pittsburgh Housing Authority in hopes of leveraging a $30 million federal grant.
Rudiak stressed the Larimer project will be the largest capital budget expense she’s seen in her four years on City Council. In response to those who say the neighborhood is long overdue for an upgrade, Rudiak agrees, but added she would like to see more conversation on how to revitalize the neighborhood.
Rudiak is also concerned about spending a large amount of money on building new infrastructure, when the current state of other neighborhoods city-wide is poor.
“What I don’t understand is how we have millions of dollars in the housing authority reserve, yet we have individuals in housing authority buildings who can’t even flush their toilets,” Rudiak said. “There’s a disconnect here and we need to make sure we have our own houses in order before we start building new houses.”