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Residents decry their exclusion at talks of Hill’s future

Monday, January 29, 2007
By Nate Guidry,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Several Hill District residents, community leaders and clergymen gathered outside Gate One of Mellon Arena yesterday to express their frustrations with Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials for not being invited to participate in any of the talks related to development of the Hill District.

“The mayor should have respected the community enough to invite us to the talks,” said the Rev. Johnnie Monroe, pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church.

“Not only did the mayor not invite the local citizens, he did not invite our local representatives. Jake Wheatley [D-Hill District] and [Councilwoman] Tonya Payne were not at the table. Why were they not at the table? I think the mayor, the governor and county officials need to answer that question. How do you make decisions for people and they are not represented?”

“This is about inclusion,” Mr. Wheatley said. “As a community of people, we expect to be at any table that is going to make decisions about the future of our community.”

Mr. Wheatley said he has conveyed residents’ concerns to Gov. Ed Rendell.

“We cannot move forward, especially when you are talking about developmental rights, and not involve the community,” continued Mr. Wheatley. “The concerns of residents need to be part of that conversation. The governor has not given me a response, but I think he is sensitive to that. I think the mayor and the county executive are sensitive to that.

“I think we have to figure out a way to correct this before plans are finalized as it relates to the developmental rights to this site.”

(Nate Guidry can be reached at or 412-263-3865. )

This article appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. © Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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