“Why I Left” is a new series of posts we are very excited to share with our readers. In this series of posts former residents and business owners of Bellevue share with us the reasons they choose to leave the community. Our intention with these posts are not to glamorize those who have left or to point fingers blaming anyone or anything for the departure of these great people. Our intention with the stories included in this series is to gather the necessary information needed to address the issues these individuals dealt with and ultimately make Bellevue an attractive option once again for new residents, home owners, and businesses. The first guest post in this series comes from Martina DiBattista, a 24 year old former resident of Bellevue who now resides in Lawrenceville.
My parents could not have picked a better place for my sister and I to have grown up in than Bellevue. They moved our family from Brookline to Bellevue in 1996, because they preferred Northgate school district and the town of Bellevue. I could walk to all of my friends’ houses, local coffee shops or diners. If my parents were making dinner and we ran out of butter, Kuhn’s was 5 minutes away. You needed extra keys made? There was a locally owned hardware store a couple of blocks away. Bellevue was a safe town. Once I became a teenager and got my drivers license I recognized how convenient Bellevue’s location was. I could get almost anywhere within literally 20 minutes! Local pools and parks, the strip district, Sewickley, the mall. I realized then why my parents had moved there in the first place. When I turned 21, I really became aware that although Bellevue was great for me as a kid, it was certainly not a place that I wanted to spend my twenties. The town dies right around 6pm, there are limited adult dining and shopping options, a very big lack of community togetherness, and there’s an overall negativity in the town. So, I settled in artsy Lawrenceville. I found a bright, affordable, one bedroom apartment right in the thick of it all and fell in love with the area. Lawrenceville has many of the features that I loved so much about Bellevue (convenient and walkable) only 10x better! There are amazing restaurants who are passionate about what they do. There are many boutiques who sell locally made and unique clothing,jewelery, and home goods. Lawrenceville also has bars. I live a block away from one of the most popular bars in town and I have never felt unsafe or threatened by the people leaving after last call. I want to enjoy a drink after a rough day at work or with my dinner or to celebrate the promotion my best friend was awarded. Another thing that I love so much about living here is the amazing sense of community. The people who live in Lawrenceville love living here! They support the local businesses and want to tell all of their friends about where they got their awesome, one of a kind belt,or where they had their last delicious meal. Many people do this at the local watering hole. The people who live here are positive and supportive of each other. They attend art events, house tours,trunk shows and happy hours. I think that modeling Bellevue after Lawrenceville or any successful,positive area of town, is the best thing that could be done. Bellevue is stuck in the past and that is what’s keeping young people-like myself-from wanting to live there. While it’s depressing to live in Bellevue, it’s invigorating to live in Lawrenceville and that’s what is keeping me here.