East Liberty

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

An empty, three-acre parking lot lies at the corner of Station Street and Euclid Avenue.

You can’t actually park there. Weeds grow in the cracked cement between lines of faded paint.

How Allegheny County Is Trying To Move On From The Legacy Of Blight

Sep 13, 2016
Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource


When Lena Andrews moved from Friendship to East Liberty, she was enamored with her new neighborhood’s array of restaurants and shops, easy access to transit and its diversity. The lack of parks and gardens puzzled her, though.

At the time, trash covered the corner of East Liberty Boulevard and Mellon Street: empty cans, bottles, fast-food paper bags. When the city mowers would cut the grass, they would mow right over the garbage, crushing it into the earth.

The litter sent the wrong message.

1Hood Media / Facebook

Celeste Smith wants people to know hip-hop has always been alive in Pittsburgh, whether people have seen it or not.

Herry Lawford / Flickr

Whole Foods Market plans to open a new store two blocks from its Centre Avenue building.

Its chosen location is the site of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartments, a large affordable housing complex that's in the process of being demolished. The building’s owner drew vocal opposition from the community and local lawmakers last year after deciding to evict tenants in favor of redevelopment. 

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

  Presidential progeny Chelsea Clinton stopped by her mother’s Democratic campaign office in East Liberty early Wednesday.

The younger Clinton met supporters and volunteers at the office. She said Clinton’s work with early childhood education programs and women’s rights will be critical to the fate of future generations.

“It is important that we have a president that knows how to stand up for our values,” Clinton said. “And knows how to make government work on behalf of our values when in office and when not in office.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

East Liberty residents hoping to keep a public park out of the hands of a private developer have scored a victory.

The city released a statement Tuesday evening saying Enright Parklet would remain publicly owned, and would not become part of the redevelopment of Penn Plaza.

The announcement came shortly after a public hearing in City Council, in which neighbors spoke out against the rezoning of the park.

Very Smart Brothas

  Last week’s mass shooting in Wilkinsburg provoked strong reactions within the neighborhood, across the city and in national media.

Ideas Worth Stealing: When Evictions Happen, Laws To Soften The Blow

Mar 8, 2016
Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In July, 2015 the landlord at Penn Plaza, a private multi-family housing development in Pittsburgh’s rapidly gentrifying East Liberty neighborhood, slipped 90-day eviction notices under the doors of all tenants in one of their buildings (tenants of the other building now have until 2017 to vacate).

Allies Working To Close The Circle Of Poverty

Mar 1, 2016
Circles Greater Pittsburgh / Facebook

There are a number of programs designed to help people out of poverty. Circles East Liberty offers something different in a city where the poverty rate is over 30% in some neighborhoods.  We’ll discover how Circles East Liberty is making a difference in the lives of some city residents with Tammy Thompson, site facilitator for Circles East Liberty.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Faith Denson’s son was sentenced to prison in 2009. That moment changed her life.

She decided to launch an all-volunteer ministry to help keep inmates in contact with their children. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

East Liberty residents voiced concern and frustration with the future of a 2-acre city park Tuesday night.

The small area, or parklet, is surrounded by Penn Plaza, a mixed income apartment complex. Tenants have to vacate before March of next year when the landlord plans to redevelop.

The city has proposed selling the park in a deal with the owners but has promised that another park will be included in the redevelopment.

Urban Redevelopment Authority

Pittsburgh changed street names in East Liberty almost two years ago to distance itself from the 1960s urban renewal project "Penn Circle," which displaced thousands of residents in favor of a pedestrian mall.  

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh officials met with the owners of an East Liberty apartment complex Friday to determine where the remaining tenants can go before their Feb. 28 eviction deadline.

LG Realty sent 90-day eviction notices to tenants of Penn Plaza in July. That deadline has since been extended to March 2017 for one of the apartment complex's two buildings and the end of the month for the other.

credit: D.S. Kinsell

The arrest of Max Gonzales, a 22-year-old Carnegie Mellon University student identified by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Graffiti Squad as "number one on the Squad's list of most wanted offenders," has sparked sometimes contentious discussions about vandalism, art and community identity in a changing city.

Google Maps


Some of the remaining residents of the Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty have formed a crisis committee, and are asking for more time, as the deadline for relocation nears.

About 30 units in the apartment complex remain occupied, and residents have until Feb. 28 to vacate. 

Larkin Page-Jacobs / WESA

Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood is changing. Once considered by many to be a dangerous and undesirable place to live, the community has seen its popularity grow, and at least one new business is hoping to be inclusive of Pittsburgh residents, both new and long established.

Jason Roth / Save Enright Parklet community group

East Liberty residents are calling for a public hearing on the future of Enright Parklet after the Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted last month to rezone the park and the adjacent property on which currently sits the Penn Plaza apartment complex.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Local, state and federal leaders gathered Wednesday afternoon to celebrate East Liberty’s revitalization as a transit hub with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new East Liberty Transit Center.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remembered the parking lots, indoor tennis facility, car wash and defunct taxi stand that once existed where 360 units of market-rate housing now stand and ground-floor retail space soon will open.

City of Pittsburgh Council District 9

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess is rolling out a few more details on his plan to preserve and expand affordable housing in the city’s East End.

“You have to rebuild schools, make the community safe, rebuild housing and rebuild social service entities all at the same time in the parts of the community on the edge, next to strength,” Burgess said.

Flickr user Peter Radunzel

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess on Tuesday introduced four pieces of legislation to support affordable housing in the city.

The announcement comes a day after the city of Pittsburgh announced it had reached an agreement for the relocation of Penn Plaza tenants, who faced eviction after the owners of the East Liberty apartment buildings decided to redevelop the site.

Michael Stanton was named June’s Champion of Greater Pittsburgh by the Dignity and Respect Campaign, which honors those “that embrace, embody, and demonstrate the values of dignity and respect.” He was honored for his work as co-founder and executive director with Open Hand Ministries.

Mixed-Use Building In East Liberty Officially Opens

May 20, 2015

Another new building is up in East Liberty, joining recent developments such as Bakery Square, the Transit Center and several hotels. This one is East Liberty Place South on Penn Avenue, across from a similar-looking building that owner the Community Builders also built.

The building is a mixed-use development that cost about $15 million to construct. It includes 52 one- and two-bedroom apartments that range between $500-$1200 to rent. Most of the apartments are already rented, according to Jim Eby, senior project manager for the Community Builders. The organization has developed other sites in the East Liberty area.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Making a living wage in the restaurant industry can be tough. Servers and bartenders rely on tips for the bulk of their income, and in the kitchen, the wage is set by the business owner.

Recently the restaurant Bar Marco made waves by announcing it would pay all of its workers a living wage. But at least one restaurant in Pittsburgh — Dinette in East Liberty — has been paying above industry standard for years.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater

This year the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, originally the Regent Theatre, will mark its 100th anniversary this month.

Joining us in studio to discuss the theater and her hopes for turning the East Liberty neighborhood into another cultural district is janera solomon, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

See images of the theater as the Regent and the Kelly Strayhorn in the slideshow above.

Google Maps / 90.5 WESA

Little scraps of land and traffic islands are scattered throughout East Liberty, but for a long time nobody knew who owned many of them.

This is the problem East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) ran into while trying to acquire a parcel of land for redevelopment.

“This is the challenge of rebuilding our city is that we have lots of narrow, little pieces of land,” Kendall Pelling, ELDI Director of Land Recycling, said. “And so to do a new development often times it requires acquiring property from multiple different owners.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A groundbreaking ceremony in East Liberty Tuesday brought together federal, state and local elected officials, from both parties, to tout continued investment in the area.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million investment in the next phase of improvements to the East Liberty transit station; the funding comes from the transportation bill passed last year.

UPDATE: 4/1/14 11:09 am

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has announced that it will continue to offer services in East Liberty.  It is in the process of looking for a new permanent home for the office.


A Department of Public Welfare office in Pittsburgh is closing, and Just Harvest is taking a stand for the workers and families that will be affected.

“In the end we remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

According to Joseph Hall, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) Producing Director, that quote by Martin Luther King Jr. is the inspiration behind this year’s “East Liberty Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” event Monday.

Each year, the theater chooses a theme for the event, and this year’s is “Every Voice Counts, Every Story Matters.”

A proposal to rename the four streets that make up Penn Circle was introduced in City Council Monday.

Justin Miller, a senior planner with the Pittsburgh City Planning Department, says the change has been a long time coming.

“Two legs of Penn Circle have already been converted to two-way traffic," he said. "It doesn’t function as a circle anymore. In the near future, we’ve got a project to convert the other two parts of Penn Circle, Penn Circle North and West, also to two-way traffic.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Community Builders held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday at the site of the new East Liberty Place South development.

The building will feature 52 units of mixed-income housing, as well as 11,000 square feet of commercial space. Thirteen of the one- and two-bedroom apartments will be priced at market value, with a tenant income cap of $55,000-75,000, depending on family size.

Six of the apartments are geared toward very low-income residents, including people with physical disabilities who live off disability benefits.