East Liberty

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.

ORIGINAL STORY:

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.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of men, women and children sang, screamed and chanted outside of the East Liberty Target Wednesday to call out one of the nation’s largest low-wage employers.

Residents are demanding that the development taking place in the East End directly benefit the community.

According to protesters, Target entered a “gentleman’s agreement” with the community before the store was built, saying that the shopping giant would hire East Liberty residents and offer them well-paying jobs to revitalize the community.