Visions of What Could Be: Corning, NY, by Danina DiBattista

map_of_corning_nyIt would be crazy for me not to keep up on the development of towns across our great country, considering I have such strong ideas and vision for what Bellevue could become if given the proper stepping stones to do so.  Yesterday I came across a blog and video featuring Corning, NY, it was three minutes of what I consider to be the necessary puzzle pieces to develop Bellevue and the North Boroughs as a true regional destination. Community passion, community pride, dining, affordable to upscale retail, parking, attainable goals, a draw for outsiders to explore and experience the community and all that is has to offer.

After watching the video, I could not help but do a little research on Corning. I wanted to know…is Bellevue able to get to this point? I found out that there are some great similarities… Bellevue is 1 square mile, Corning is about 3. Bellevue’s median income is $31,480, Corning’s is $32,780. Corning has a walkable business district, so does Bellevue.

I thought it would be great to get some first hand knowledge on Corning, so I touched base with Corning Mayor, Mr. Rich Negri. He was so enthusiastic about his city, it’s development, and it’s goals and opportunities. It was a really great conversation. What I gathered was that Corning was revived after a devastating flood in 1972.  Corning Incorporated Glass Company saw the opportunity to invest into the City of Corning and bring it back to life after the flood. According to Mayor Negri, he accredits Corning Incorporated for ensuring that the city was not left as a ghost town. They’ve made significant donations to development, schools, parks, shopping districts, etc. He also mentioned that associations within Corning work to research what businesses would work well in their city, and follow up by recruiting entrepreneurs and businesses according to their findings. Corning’s Gaffer District & Market Street are historical districts bustling with businesses, restaurants, entertainment, breweries, juice bars, bakeries, pubs, antiques and retail.  Market Street was awarded as one of the top 10 most beautiful streets of 2013 for their building restoration & streetscape design.

Mayor Negri was passionate about how diverse the city truly is. Economic development has lured people from all over the world to live, work, and play in Corning. With this diversity of people, comes diversity of businesses, restaurants, and entertainment. While Bellevue doesn’t have a fortune 500 company to invest and develop our borough, we do have tons and tons of great reasons for people to invest here. Location, parking, flat business district, historical store fronts, etc…

Many people ask me what my ultimate goal is for Bellevue. They ask me why I am so passionate about this borough. They ask me why I put in so much time & stress into the ideas and vision behind Liberty in Bellevue. They ask me why I don’t just move to an area that is better than Bellevue.

The answer is simple: I want to see Bellevue reach its full potential, our borough has the bone structure to do it, we just need the right people in place to make it happen. And by make it happen, I mean to seek out and put the trust in the people that make things happen. It is not the job of council to develop our borough, it’s the job of council to put the trust in organizations that develop our borough, give a “yes” vote to those that develop our borough. Not micromanage everything, not road block everything, and certainly not stone wall new ideas.  A councils job is simply to legislate, that is all. Legislation needs to support new ideas, new developments, and be willing to take a risk or two for the betterment of the future of our borough.

I want to see the new council seat holders approach our borough with an attitude of “How can we make it work.”, NOT  “That won’t work here.”.  We’ve heard that phrase for far too long, and it hasn’t done an ounce of good for our town.

Bellevue, do you want to see our borough develop and head in a great direction like Corning, NY, or are you happy with the direction we’re heading right now? I hope to see some great ideas and conversation in the comments!

USEFUL LINKS:
http://www.cityofcorning.com (a fantastic and informative city website – take notes, Bellevue!)
http://www.gafferdistrict.com/
http://www.corning.com/index.aspx

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55 Responses to “Visions of What Could Be: Corning, NY, by Danina DiBattista”

  1. Danina…You bring up excellent points. One point that was glaring is the power of public-private partnerships. We need to proactively get private industry to buy in to where we are going and invest in it. If you remember we had an engineering firm ready to come in and infuse 150 jobs–only to be stopped because council didn’t want to give up some parking spots in a public lot. I don’t want to focus on the past and spilt milk, but we wonder why we are where we are—It is years of thinking we can just keep doing the same things and getting different results—It’s time to stop the insanity!

  2. Danina,

    You are right on target with your vision for Bellevue. When one steps outside the borough and compares how others are doing it, one cannot help but wonder if we could be improving. And the answer is a resounding “yes!” There is room for growth, but first we need the right vision, leadership and community commitment. One person is not responsible for it all, it takes an entire community to make that commitment. It may sound “crazy” but it is true, and what is imaginable is doable!

    • Joanne,
      I completely agree with your statements. Until we have elected leaders that are willing to step out of the way, stop micromanaging, and let the professionals do their jobs, we will continue to spin our wheels. It’s certainly not councils job to revitalize a town, however, it IS their job to stay out of the way of those that know how to such things. It’s their job to put the right people in the right positions to get things done. They say it takes a long time to get things in place to make changes, and that is true. But 10 years ago things started to head in the wrong direction, at the first signs if decline, it’s the legislators responsibility to be able to see and admit that there’s a problem and begin to put the proper stepping stones in place to make changes. As a borough, you don’t wait until it’s in a bad state of decline to start making changes. Unfortunately, that’s what our borough has done. Now it’s going to take a lot longer to clean things up and turn things around. And to add salt to the wound, many of our elected leaders don’t seem to see a problem with the direction that our borough is heading. The council majority kool-aid is pretty strong stuff, and they’ve been sipping on it for way too long.

      Someone has to be the one to start the snowball effect of change, the hope is that the entire town will follow suit. Of course, everyone will disagree on things, but it has to start somewhere!

    • I do agree it would be nice to have some public-private partnerships.
      I find it hard to believe council would be against that. I have attending council meetings since the early 1990s and I never saw a council that did not want the best for Bellevue.

      I have a different take on the parking spot issue. I remember being in a couple of executive sessions concerning a company’s desire to have reserved parking in the public parking lot. We had to be careful because it is a “public” parking lot. We were negotiating and then we heard nothing. Later, I was told the company had other issues not borough related. Also, I don’t remember it being anywhere near 150 employees.

      • I disagree with anyone who says Bellevue has deteriorated. Over the past 5-10 years, several improvements have been made:

        1. The Bellevue Bridge has been beautifully restored.

        2. We have a new skatepark, dog walking park and trail in Bellevue Memorial Park

        3. Several businesses have improved their storefront or relocated including Dietz Floral, The Shepard’s Door.

        4. We have several new, “big box” retailers including Dollar General and Rent-a- center, which brought some jobs along with the opening and these businesses are doing well.

        So anyone who says Bellevue has deteriorated hasn’t been here lately. Although I think we should keep up the improvements, it has made many strides forward.

      • Joanne, Thank you for the reminder of the many improvements in this wonderful community. In addition, the Streetscape project for the business district will start soon and the library pediments have been delivered. Change will not happen overnight. It takes time.

        Welcome to politics. They know about the improvements. They do not want to recognize them. Unfortunately, there are some that believe all the negatives and not see the effort it takes to initiate all these improvements. My president’s report which showed the many accomplishments of this council in 2012 was totally ignored. Ignored a $171,000 savings. Gee, I wonder why? It is called politics.

      • I know all too well what the spin masters do to play up on the negative so they can look good at the expense of others. All one has to do is look at the progress and stop following the negative political ads. We have made progress, but keep it up and don’t let up. There is always more work to be done.

  3. We need a council that will take care of infrastructure and leave business to the business persons. Before we put bump outs on Lincoln we need to make Orchard Avenue, and other streets, streets where you can drive on them and not have to put a lid on your coffee. Brick streets are not cute or quaint when they are in constant disrepair. Some of the sidewalks are in great disrepair. Less than 150 yards from the boro building a dying tree has grown up through the sidewalk. And where is public safety. My neighbor had a ladder stolen from his front yard during daylight hours and the replacement ladder stolen during daylight hours less than one month later.

  4. Bill, I agree we have infrastructure concerns as any other municipality. Jane Braunlich has pushed for the past 3 years for the paving of streets. She wanted more streets paved this year but the majority wanted to pave the entry into Memorial Park which was in bad shape. We are talking about a 5 year paving plan contingent on our budget.

    I can’t agree with you more about the bump outs. I have been told by communities that have bump outs they are a maintenance nightmare. Let’s put that money into our sidewalks and lighting first. We need to have priorities.The Streetscape money has to be used in the business district.

    Your concerns about public safety need to be addressed by the Mayor who supervises the police.

  5. Mrs. Woshner,

    Why is burying the utility lines along Lincoln Avenue not included in the streetscape?

    • Please call me Linda. Thank you for asking. Jane and I brought up the elimination of the ugly utility poles. It was not a popular idea. The same as my thoughts of using our money where we would get the best bang for our buck such as sidewalks and lighting rather than concentrating on one small area of our business district.

      • It would be great if we could have some Victorian style poles or some ornate street lamps like on the bridge.

  6. FYI-Eliminating the wires has been in discussion for a while. I am always perplexed how Bellevue has so many wires, when comparable towns like Carnegie, Crafton and Canonsburg don’t. The Mayor and I have met with Duquesne Light several times about the possibility of moving the wires to the back streets or burying them-They said it would cost millions to do this project. We were trying to come up with other alternatives. This is where the public-private partnerships would be a great help. The borough will never be able to do this in their current budget.
    Joanne–I like your ideas. Maybe you can be a part of the Streetscape group when it reconvenes?

  7. Just reading through the comments on this article is a bit frustrating to me. How is it that anyone thinks a dollar store and a Rent-a-Center are signs of improvement in a neighborhood? Those exist in every depressed area in the city. What about businesses that actually attract people? A nice bar or real restaurant? Shops and small art galleries that are a destination? I look at Lawrenceville and wish we could have what they have. It’s a vibrant young community that is a destination. Property values are rising. People are investing.

    • First of all, Dollar General pays it’s employees about $8.50 an hour, which is better that most places and Rent a Center gave my drop out friend a manager job at $20,000 a year. Classic Chevrolet pays it’s technicians about $9 an hour. While no one is getting rich, these jobs pay about what the median salary is for Pittsburgh. I work at BNYMellon and I get paid about the same rate as these jobs after 20 years. Where do you think this money comes from? The sky? It all comes from the bank and the population matters. Bellevue’s full population is only about 9000 and how much money can one really make from that? While Dollar General is not the best, it serves the community well and has a more realistic view of what incomes actually are rather than some delusional dream that were all millionaires so they overcharge us for everything. It’s a lot better than the “ma n’ pa kettle” shops that lined the streets years ago. And, that, to me, is responsible, ethical business leadership. BTW, Lawrenceville is still a depressed area. Just because you dress a business district up, doesn’t mean they are doing well. I just found out Quiet Storm, a vegan restaurant I loved, closed not to long ago in Lawrenceville. They closed because of financial trouble. It’s a sign of things to come.

      • Not to pick nits, but I think you’re confusing Lawrenceville with Garfield/East Liberty. Also, The Quiet Storm closed because their building was bought out to house another business….a successful local deli shop that is opening a second location. The Quiet Storm is actively seeking a new location in the same neighborhood to reopen. Here is the article: http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2013/09/04/quiet-storm-vegetarian-cafe-which-helped-launch-penn-avenue-resurgence-to-close-in-october. That hardly sounds like troubled times in an up and coming neighborhood.

        I used Lawrenceville as an example because I – a young professional that owns a home in Bellevue – frequently leave my own neighborhood to go socialize and spend my money in Lawrenceville. I pay attention to real estate values across the city and sometimes lament that I didnt buy a home in a more upswinging neighborhood…such as Lawrenceville. I don’t have anything AGAINST the dollar store or Rent-a-Center, but I definitely don’t see them as a sign of revitalization. They aren’t businesses that would attract anyone to buy a home in Bellevue or spend a day shopping and eating in the business district. They aren’t going to attract investors to the borough. Sure they provide some convenience and a few jobs. But it’s just as easy to hop on a bus and ride up to West View plaza and work or shop at any of the places there. There’s nothing special about them. No one is coming here to shop or work at the Dollar General. Bellevue has SO MUCH potential to be a vibrant area again and it makes me sad to see it go to waste. That’s why I started following the Liberty in Bellevue folks…they seem to have passion and new ideas. That unfortunately appears to scare a lot of people around here.

      • But do you really think that the cashier behind the counter at those little shops in Lawrenceville gets paid above minimum wage with benefits? Are those shops sustainable? That is, do they pay a living wage and hire people on a long term basis? They may be quaint or beautiful places to visit, but have you ever talked to an employee? Dollar General has full-time, benefitted positions, which invite people to relocate to Bellevue and buy a home. The two elements needed to buy a home are long term employment and benefits. I apologize for the misinformation about Quiet Storm but what solutions do you propose?

  8. I’m definitely no expert in urban redevelopment. But I am knowledgeable in marketing and I think that is a good way to start looking at Bellevue. Bellevue needs a re-brand.

    If we look at the video that Danina posted, the adjectives used in describing Corning, NY are: fun, accessible, so many things to do, great restaurants, culture, festivals, events, night life, “this place has it all”.

    How does the average extended area resident describe Bellevue? It’s worth the money spent in research to find that out. How do we WANT folks in the area to describe Bellevue? What is the ultimate goal of those in charge (and ultimately those that live here)? From there, research would turn to similar areas with similar populations and incomes. How did they get where they are? How can we make it work for us? There’s no need to “reinvent the wheel”.

    Dollar General and Rent-a-Center offer low-end but sustainable jobs. They are ok but don’t add anything unique or attractive to Bellevue. I am skeptical that anyone making $20k a year or $8.50 an hour is able to purchase and maintain a home. When I made those wages, I rented and moved frequently. Those kinds of jobs aren’t special enough to warrant a family to relocate regardless. They, to me, are fine for maintaining status quo and nothing more.

    I personally believe that Bellevue can be the kind of neighborhood that people want to live in whether they work here or not. I would love for people to describe Bellevue the way the folks in the video described Corning, NY. In order to get there, the first step is a solid vision from the leaders of the community and the willingness to do what it takes to get there.

    As an aside to my already long winded response, I’ve been doing some research into the original owners of my home and ran across a newspaper article about Bellevue written in 1904. The headline reads “Bellevue rivals choice resident districts of East End…”. I would really love for Bellevue to rival the East End once again.

    • Skilled labor and manufacturing used to be the highest paid jobs, but now a lot of those jobs have gone overseas. It is difficult to find something to replace those jobs. Getting an education used to be a sure fire way to get these jobs, but not anymore. A B.S. in Pittsburgh isn’t worth much. One would have to relocate to Maryland, DC or NY to get the kind of salary that would sustain a family. But it is nowhere in Pittsburgh, that’s for sure! You are right that Bellevue needs a “rebrand”. But what could we rebrand it to that would draw people in?

      • Joanne,

        Your statement about no skilled labor and manufacturing in Pittsburgh is simply not true. Maybe not on a large scale like the 60’s and 70’s, but there are hi-tech machine shops in this region. There is a company right here in Bellevue ( yes “Bellevue”) that designs and manufactures precision thermoplastic and thermoset injection molds. I suggest you check them out at http://www.jatcomold.com

  9. @Joanne-

    $20K/year is not really a “livable” wage. $8.50/hour is not a livable wage. As far as Lawrenceville goes…I looked to move my business from Bellevue to Lawrenceville last year, entrepreneurs are literally FIGHTING over the store fronts in that town. I looked at several different options with a developer in that area, every single store front that I looked at had several other interested parties looking at it as well. Is Lawrenceville perfect? Absolutely not. However, investors, entrepreneurs, families, and young people are flocking to that town to live, work, shop, play, wine and dine. They’re buying homes, flipping properties, and investing in the community. Lawrenceville’s residents have a fantastic sense of community and pride in where they’ve chosen to live. Rent-a-Center, Family Dollar, and Dollar General are NOT a step in the right direction, nor are they providing the same number of jobs that the small businesses can provide. And they’re certainly not providing an above-par work environment either. Small, independent businesses are what fuel a small town like ours to develop. Of course a mix of ‘big box’ stores will always help (as long as it’s the right kind of big box store). Perhaps a Bruegers, or a Chipolte would do the trick. But the dollar stores and rent a center are nothing more than additional “nuisance commercial” store fronts along our business district. Also in the “nuisance commercial” category are check cashing stores, dvd/cd resale stores, roll your own tobacco stores, cash for gold stores, and the list goes on and on.

    What is happening, like Jennie said, is that the young people, families and other people in the community that are looking to spend money and go out shopping, dinning, or to be entertained…are leaving their own borough to do so. That is money that is coming into the borough in the form of a wage of a resident, and then being spent elsewhere. I am a resident that is really investing a lot of time, energy, vision, and talent into trying to get this town to turn around before it’s too late. When my boyfriend and I want a great meal and a drink to go along with it, we leave Bellevue. We talk all the time about how we’d love to be able to simply walk into the Bellevue business district and get a fantastic meal, a good cocktail, and maybe hear some music, or see a live performance of some kind.

    You ask how one would re-brand our borough, I have to ask you if you’ve taken the time to truly read through all of the blogs that have been posted here? LiB and the bloggers that write into us have come up with COUNTLESS ways to kick start changes, rebrand, and begin to turn things around. The clientele that frequent the “nuisance commercial” stores are NOT the majority of our residents. What is happening is the majority of our residents are leaving the borough because there’s not enough things for them in the business district. Many of the great small businesses have left town, closed, or simply gave up. They cannot survive when the borough refuses to take the town into the 21st century. If you pay attention to e-blasts from other areas of Pittsburgh, you will notice that they really get behind the small businesses in their towns. I have signed up for e-newsletters from about 15-20 different regions in and around Pittsburgh. I get their emails daily, and it’s certainly nothing like what is happening here in Bellevue. Bellevue had a large handfull of AWARD WINNING businesses a few years ago…ALL of them have closed, been sold, or simply moved to a town that wanted them and promoted them, and facilitated their needs.

    No one is going to come here for a dollar store, no one is going to move here because they can pay an outrageous price to rent their flat screen TV. No media coverage is going to focus on our fantastic dollar stores and check cashing stores. A re-brand starts in the business district, the small independent stores and entrepreneurs need a reason to look at Bellevue once again. Get enough of ’em, and they will out-shine, out-employ, and out-pay the dollar stores and rent a center.

    • ^^^^ YES, THIS!!! My husband and I do the exact same thing, and I know many other young couples that feel the same! We are hungry for change in Bellevue and see so much potential. We WANT to spend money here. I also completely agree with the nuisance commercial comments.

      Joanne, I disagree with the sentiment that there are no decent paying jobs in Pittsburgh. I have a degree and a good job and so do the majority of my friends my age. Pittsburgh is very livable with blue collar and white collar jobs alike. Google even has offices here…in East Liberty no less! Google is there because it’s a young, vibrant and rapidly evolving neighborhood. Bellevue can be that too if the folks in charge would be willing to change with the times.

      • What industry are you in? Show me where the good paying jobs are? I agree, I would like to see Bellevue change for the better and have a more vibrant business district. I am sick and tired of second hand shops and consignment shops! It seems that and Pizza are what we seem to buy the most of. If that tells you what people are buying the most of, Pizza and rental furniture. Consumer demand drives the market. If you want something new, buy something else, that will tell the businesses what you, the consumer want and need.

      • I am a multimedia designer. My husband is an IT professional. We both work in Cranberry, which is crawling with office parks filled with businesses. Bellevue is a 20-25 minute commute (in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic to boot!). It’s a perfect place to live for us…we aren’t interested in the homogenous strip malls/housing developments of Cranberry, yet it’s still super easy to get to work.

        I think you may have missed the point of what we’re saying about consumerism? I do spend money on the things I want….in other neighborhoods. The low end shops are here because that’s what Bellevue is attracting, not because that’s what the people want. A business owner has to believe in the viability of a neighborhood in order to want to put a business here. A pizza shop or chain store can survive in the worst of places.

      • IT seems to be about the only profession that really pays these days. I hear what you are saying about consumerism. But if everyone made a great income like you, nice shops would survive. Unfortunately most of us fall in the low income range and IT and multimedia jobs are scarce. The predominant jobs in the area are low skilled, service worker jobs or average wage jobs. These businesses, while they may not be very interesting, serve a need and we couldn’t survive without them. So they are staples, as is churches. Why do you think we have the slogan “Live, worship, shop?” The tax rates are low, but government employees are paid low. So for every tax payer dollar you save, someone has to sacrifice. Its one of those trade offs that goes with saving money. When you say that businesses are attracted to Bellevue, are you implying that they did not do their homework and market research beforehand to find out if this would be a good area? I know when one signs a franchise agreement, the parent corporation does it’s homework to figure out if the demographics are right. They do not just show up because they are attracted to the area. Big Box companies use scientific research methods to find out if their franchise would survive in a location. As opposed to ‘ma and pa kettle’ shops that just do everything on a wing and a prayer. You are talking to someone with a B.S. in Business, so I am aware that these tactics. Although it may appear that they just pop up out of nowhere, the ones who do their homework survive.

      • Can you provide some numbers to back up your claims that Bellevue is only low income? Can you provide me with the median income for the residents here? While we may not all be rich we are all still consumers. I know for myself, I rarely spend any money in Bellevue because there is nothing worthwhile to purchase here. If Bellevue had options such as great restaurants, options for art, and anything else that people like to go to after work then we have a chance. It is very tough for a business district to thrive when Lincoln Avenue close down at 5.

  10. Joanne you may find some perspective in this piece on the closing of Affogato. This is basically the same opinion shared by most locally owned businesses in Bellevue.

    https://libertyinbellevue.com/2012/06/19/why-i-left-by-victoria-dilliott-former-owner-of-affogatto-coffee-shop/

  11. Thanks for all your information! To get latest census figures on median income for Bellevue, go to http://www.census.gov.

    • I know the median numbers for Bellevue, I just wanted to make sure you did. For those interested the median income levels in 2011 were $37,873. We can assume with inflation that number would be closer to $40k today. If you compare that to the city of Pittsburgh ($35,947) then we are actually doing better. My point here is that Bellevue is not a “poor” community and we should not simply say that Bellevue is failing due to income levels.

      • Thank you for providing this info, Josh!! I think that the income information that i provided in this blog post must have been from a previous census (i got the numbers from wikipedia). I think your numbers are different. Not sure which one is the right one haha. I think the info on wikipedia is that Bellevue’s median income is around $31,500. If your numbers are the more updated numbers…then it seems our borough is doing much better than I had thought!

        I totally agree with you…We’re not a “poor” borough, never have been. Unfortunately, when outsiders ride through our business district, they would assume that our borough is “poor” by the abundance of “nuisance commercial” that we have. These types of stores are predatory, in that they seek out areas that have some blight, some low income housing, and all that other good stuff. Then they dig their roots in deep. This is not revitalization, it’s not re-branding, it’s not progress. I hope everyone that reads all of these comments takes the time to go to the link that i provided about dollar stores and statistics that go along with it. I have not heard anything from Joanne about it since i posted it. Interesting, right?

      • You said it right, Nina and I agree, Bellevue’s ordinances may be holding advancement back. And I do not think you are attacking me. I love a good debate and interesting conversation, otherwise I wouldn’t be here! However, although businesses like Affagato and 517-521 were award winning and may not have been struggling financially, the fact is, they are no longer there. And the key to a successful business is longevity. Longevity promotes stability and allows people to hold jobs and pay mortgages and other long term debt. The things investors look at are business plans, 3 and 5 year to be exact and they want to know what the businesses plans are for the next 10 to 30 years and debt. How is the company’s credit? Are they able to meet there obligations? Also, I do have business ownership experience and I currently work in Market Intelligence collection, so I am familiar with some of the data collection techniques I spoke of earlier. Of course, these methods are not perfect. One cannot tell from a survey whether a business will be successful. Also regarding salary statistics, keep in mind that the median wage is just an aggregate average calculated by taking a population’s individual salaries, adding them together, and then dividing by the total umber of individuals.These statistics can be very misleading and could include outliers and deviations that can skew the average higher or lower. For example, you may have 30 individuals making $10000 a year and one individual making $400000 a year. If you add it up and divide by 31, you would get a median salary of $22,580. Does this mean everyone is making the median wage? No, This is not at all reflective of what is actually happening.

  12. Joanne,
    I don’t want you to think I’m attacking you…however, i feel that you’re really not adding a whole lot in terms of vision, a plan, or anything in terms of getting Bellevue on the path to becoming more like the other towns in our region, or like the towns that I blog about.

    Your B.S. in business might be good and all…however, I would like to hear about the small businesses that you’ve owned or run in the last 15 years?

    10 years ago, the Bellevue business district experienced a sort of revival…Vivo, Affogato, Laughing Lizard, Roberto’s (aka Regina Margherita), 517-521, Thinktank, Frankfurters, Perqe, The Plates Restaurant, just to name a few. Of the small list i mentioned here, Vivo, Affogato, Roberto’s, and 517-521 were all AWARD WINNING.
    They didn’t close or sell or move on because of the reasons that you state. They all had to do what they did because as areas around Pittsburgh began to move forward and experience what is known now as the “rustbelt revival”, Bellevue stayed the same. There were a few organizations that were pushing for change, pushing to bring this borough into the 21st century, pushing to get our town to join the digital movement with online marketing, eblast newsletters, support for local and small businesses, etc. However, every push to bring the borough forward was met with road blocks, walls, and push back from leadership in our area. Outdoor seating was requested and pushed for by Roberto’s, it was like pulling teeth. He hosted a salsa night, with live music, he wanted to be able to open his double doors, put tables inside and outside, and let the music flow out onto lincoln avenue. I believe it was eventually granted that he could have outdoor tables, but low and behold…the elected officials could not help themselves from regulating it to DEATH. A business now has to PAY a fee to have outdoor seating. Seriously? Other areas BEG their businesses to put tables and chairs outside, it creates a welcoming and warm environment. To rub salt in the wound a little, they then added a law into the outdoor seating licensing stating that no alcoholic beverages were allowed at these tables. All the red tape, all the hoops to jump through…not a good way to facilitate that business district of entrepreneur-ism. That is just a single example of what a potential business owner has to go through when looking to locate in Bellevue.

    So Bellevue’s current business district is a direct result of over-regulation, agendas, lack of vision, out of touch leaadership, uninformed voters, and an overall development of the areas surrounding Bellevue. Bellevue needs to be able to compete with what is happening in Pittsburgh and its surrounding boroughs. Right now, with the current leadership, their lack of vision, and their circa 1990 frame of mind, we will continue to see more and more storefronts become occupied with businesses that bring nothing vibrant to our community. I’m happy to see Berry Quool here in town, as well as the Happy Baby Co. opening their doors this week. These are the types of businesses that need to continue to open in our borough.

    Berry Quool is unfortunately located across from a dvd/dc resale shop that has large speakers set up on the street playing gangster rap all day from open to close. And to think that our leadership was worried that a few “of-age” adults would ruin the innocence of our borough by having a glass of wine on the sidewalk with dinner…

    • Well said Nina

    • Upon hearing this, I cannot begin to wrap my mind around what the leadership of Bellevue is trying to achieve. Legit local businesses trying to revive the borough are driven off by over-regulation. Yet the shady and useless DVD resale shop is allowed to blare offensive music into the street all hours of the day. WHY??????? It’s so insane and nonsensical!!!

      All I can say is that I can’t wait to vote.

  13. Joanne,
    I have been keeping on the up and up about developing stories in and around PA regarding dollar stores and what they mean for a community. In this blog from Golden Cockroach, a blogger from Pottstown PA, they cover the issues surrounding dollar stores in small communities and what it means for residents, business districts, crime rates, litter and the like. You will also find tons of links to outside information about this issue and hopefully it will help you to take off the rose colored lenses that you seem to use to view our business district and our residents.

    http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/a-family-dollar-store-at-381-farmington-food-for-thought/

  14. Very well said Nina!

    First, I’d like to give major Kudos to your Council President, Linda Woshner, for her willingness to engage in debate with the community on this fantastic blog post.
    I reside in a community whose leadership is failing, across the board, to dialogue in any regard with the residents here.

    As a consequence of their failure to communicate, plan or devise a process to attract viable businesses and new homeowners, we see an increase in hair/nail salons, 2nd hand stores, bodegas and access card establishments. Businesses that do nothing to up the value of our downtown area or the borough in general. Professionals who live in Pottstown and can afford to shop at better grocery stores, retail shops, etc. are forced, by a lack of alternatives, to spend their money in surrounding communities when it would be so much more convenient and supportive to shop local. Our needs and desire to shop local, dine local, support local are the furthest considerations from officials minds.

    Overrun with the disabled, (drug & alcohol addicted), Section 8 voucher housing and the crime that voucher housing brings with it, we are struggling, caught in a vicious cycle. Crime stats put Pottstown at #98 in the state for the highest crime among all borough’s of roughly 22,000 population and we are also one of the highest in the nation.

    Once these services and businesses, that cater to the low-income residents, take hold, they chase out the more progressive possiblities. Pottstown officials are literally jumping for joy at the prospect of a neighborhood Family Dollar store in one of our more stable downtown neighborhoods because they desperately need the revenue. However, there are no comforting statistics about dollar stores in neighborhoods and the long-term costs of added crime, loitering, and traffic problems at the chosen location, which will put anticipated revenue in the minus category.

    I can only encourage the leadership of Bellevue to take a close look at Pottstown for all the reasons to open themselves up to greater potential, as the neighboring community of Phoenixville has done, by comparison. It’s easier to make right choices before wrong choices, it’s far easier to have a vision a plan and a process and to partner with your community up front. Digging out from beneath the archaic attitudes and limitied vision of a history of misguided officials is no small feat, and the damage done in my community will not be entirely reversable, if at all. Keep the lines of communication respectfully open along with your hearts and minds!!

    • Goldencockroach,

      Thank you for the compliment.

      I appreciate the information for countless ways to kick start change, rebrand and begin to turn things around; however, everyone has a different opinion how to do the above. I am sure everyone truly believes their ideas will make the difference. This is something that should be left to experts in the particular field. Taxpayer’s money needs to be used judiciously.

      Businesses have various reasons for selling, closing or leaving an area. I find it hard to believe it is just because of government regulation. Unfortunately, people start businesses without good planning and realistic expectations. It is not easy to start and maintain a business. Most importantly, it takes 3 to 5 years to be profitable and a large influx of capital. Most businesses fail in the first year.

      Businesses will come to Bellevue if they see others that are successful. We have to patronize the businesses in our community if we want them to stay here. Buy Bellevue first when you can. There are successful businesses in Bellevue because they are good business people. They have a product their customers want. I don’t think it is realistic to compare Bellevue with other communities that have a large employer within their municipality.

      For a group that wants limited government involvement it expects government to be the savior.This council has been business friendly. In the last couple of years it has enacted for businesses, a tax abatement for owners who improve their properties, a façade matching grant for façade improvements, allowed free parking evenings and weekends, permitted certain portions of sidewalks to be used by restaurants for food service, budgeted $5000 to promote the business district and applied and received a Streetscape grant to improve the business district. The Streetscape construction should start soon.

      Change takes time.

      • Linda,
        I have also given you kudos for participating in conversations on LiB’s website. So please stop the politicking and let’s have a real conversation about the state of our borough, please.

        I understand you’re in election mode, attempting to make sure that you convince the uninformed voters of our borough that you and your friends have made all the “proper” decisions in terms of supporting a revitalization of our business district. It’s your way of trying to say that everyone has made a mistake by voting out your crew from council. Luckily, our readers are here because this is the ONLY outlet in Bellevue that is posting the truth. Notice how there was no mention of the candidate forum in the Citizen? If that rag doesn’t mention it, it must not have happened, right?

        I would appreciate if you would stop twisting my blog posts to suit your agenda. Instead, maybe your comments should sound more like “this is a great thing to strive for, Bellevue should reach for the stars and try to reach the level that Corning NY has reached.” Instead, your comments read more like “that won’t work here.”. Quite frankly, I’m friggen sick of hearing this phrase, or sugar-coated versions of this phrase from all of you. It’s those four words that have gotten us to the point where we are now, and it’s time to stop.

        If you take the time to re-read my blog, i make a note stating that i understand that we don’t have a major company here in Bellevue, but that we DO have a lot of great potential for investors. By the way, Bellevue has NOT suffered a devastating flood like Corning NY did, so we don’t need the level of investment that Corning CO. offered to their town. Also in one of my comments, i list the reasons that i think play the biggest part in the decrease in businesses and closing of businesses in our borough. You decided to disregard almost all of my reasons except ONE – over regulation. Notice how you didn’t try to say that your crew hasn’t over regulated, you simply state that you don’t think your over regulation has something to do with businesses leaving or closing. WRONG. WRONG WRONG.

        Also, another correction needs to be made about your skewed statements. Never once has this group, or anyone that blogs for this group claimed that we want the government to be the savior. SORRY, you simply can’t be the problem AND the solution. It doesn’t work that way. What we HAVE said over and over again is that you should not be the savior, but the facilitator. By this, I mean that you should support and back the people that are fighting for change. Your position is legislative, nothing more. Use that power to empower professionals, artists, creative thinkers, and people that offer to help this borough to thrive. Give businesses what they need and ask for. Rebranding of our business district has to start with fixing the fact that it’s difficult for a business to open here because of the hoops they need to jump through for simple things like outdoor seating that allows their customers to enjoy a meal and a drink, or the fact that a nuisance store front may be located next door that plays gangster rap from am-pm during their business hours. Or better yet, you and your friends on council should have came to your senses in 2011, and realized that in order for our borough to attract the RIGHT kinds of businesses (restaurants that serve more than frozen SYSCO food & pizza), boutique shopping, specialty stores, and maybe a co-op grocery/indoor market. These are the things that we need to be encouraging here. But none of this will ever happen until Bellevue is able to compete with the rest of the Pittsburgh markets/towns. The majority of people living in this borough are leaving this borough to get these things in other towns. A rebrand needs to happen, and a boom of businesses needs to happen in a short period of time in order to create enough buzz and attraction for our local people to STAY local.

        No more road blocks, no more over regulation. And thankfully (hopefully), no more of Mrs. Braunlichs obvious class-envy statements criticizing a businesses desire to make a profit (profit is a bad word in her book).

        You always like to say to let the professionals do their job. Funny thing is, you and your friends on council have micro-managed these “professionals” to DEATH! To the point that our borough has been marked as “hard to work with” by a list of resources that are put in place to help boroughs just like ours. Now our new set of elected officials have to clean up your mess and try to make good with these organizations so that we can try to find opportunities with them once again. Why would they continue to fund a borough like ours when the legislators are nothing more than control-freak micro-managers?

        Spending tax dollars judiciously? Like on trees that we could have got for free, or on a fingerprint scanner time clock that you budgeted for but haven’t heard anything about for months, or maybe to pay our solicitor to review legalities of a council member stalking a borough employee and video taping his family and children on their private property? Or maybe this one…giving Connie Rankin $5k to “promote” the business district. Last i checked, she still used “clip art” in her advertisements. Judicious spending like that?
        I’ve offered to help with promotion of our borough on numerous occasions for free. Funny, I was never contacted to do so. And at this point, I’d rather not be micro-managed by you and your friends on council.

  15. President Woshener,
    Assuming you secure your spot on council in two years…I would like to see a few things from you. I’ve asked for these thing before to no avail, but I’ll ask again.

    Please provide in writing, your 5, 10, 20 year plan for Bellevue. What would you like to see, and how would you accomplish it?

    I would also like to see the boroughs “books” posted online and updated weekly. Transparency as its finest.

    The solicitors bills/fees should be made publicly available without having to submit a RTK request.

    Stop hiring your buddies to work for the borough, and start hiring people that can get things on track. Maybe a young person that can build a legitimate website and update the facebook, twitter, and other social media outlets on a daily basis. Invest the tax dollars into this, it’s a necessary ‘norm’ among boroughs and towns that have their heads on straight. They realize that if they don’t keep up, they’ll be left behind.

    Let’s start with these, and we’ll see how it goes from here. What say you?

    • Danina,

      Just so you realize, I am only one of 9 council members. We had a 5 year strategic plan that the past council majority wrote. What happened to it? Why aren’t you asking them why they didn’t follow it? Plans that are not implemented are not worth the paper they are written on.

      The past council majority paid the Chief of Police to perform our website work. Council needs to have more input. The most recent website was updated without council’s input or knowledge. As you know, I suggested to council last month that we ask the BDAC committee to advise us on how to improve the business tabs for our website. That is a start.

      I have never hired any of my friends. I think you are talking to the wrong person. A past council member actually made the position of assistant DAS for a friend, hired her mentee as a part time clerical at $15, the solicitor she knew was the only candidate that was able to negotiate their rate. There was a person hired for a $30,000 a year position with less than a 1/2 hour interview. This is to name a few. Of course, you do not want to say anything negative about your friends.The only employees hired by this council majority were the temporary swimming pool staff and seasonal DPW workers none of who I knew, a part time clerical who I did not know, the DAS who I did not know, the solicitor who I met 3 times at the Allegheny League of Municipalities conference. Instead of walking around drunk, I was networking and looking for professional companies at the conference that provide services to municipalities.

      As for plans, we are doing a study of the DPW department and with the results will put together a 5 year plan. We will be investing $45,000 in library upgrades and this will be good time to assess the repairs needed for the library and set up a maintenance schedule. We have just completed a complete housing inventory. This will allow us to monitor and implement a code enforcement plan. Is this not good enough for you?

      Our budget is advertised every year and is available for inspection. Council is listening but we can only go so fast. We were without a DAS for 6 months. Additionally,we only have 3 people in our administrative
      office.

      • Linda,

        Be honest about the BDAC please. So you asked council if they thought the BDAC should look at the website. Which BDAC? The one that has been on hold for most of this year? The fact that you take ownership of the BDAC is absolutely laughable. Just so everyone has the facts straight here….when you took over council you came to your first meeting of the BDAC. Previously you coudn’t be bothered to attend. At that first meeting you stated your intention of changing out everyone on the committee. You have done nothing but try and avoid everything that committee stood for unless you could try and spin it to help you with something. Just remember I sat in those meetings and listened to you and the committee chairperson that you put in place say that you were just going to go through the motions instead of doing any work, jut so that it appeared to the county that something was happening only because you didn’t want to lose the money. You are a joke. I was even cspoken to afterwards by the firm representing the county to make sure that that i what actually happened because, and i know you would want to pin this on someone in the LiB group, they heard it from a visitor that was invited to speak to the BDAC that had never even been there before.The one You never take a position on anything and your rambling jumps from one side of the fence to the other so quickly its hard to keep anything you say straight.

        So back to your suggestion…when is the inactive BDAC going to look at the website?

        As for the 5 year plan, they were working on it. Last time I asked you about it you said this wasnt a plan it was only a vision. So which was it, a 5 year plan, or a vision? It was presented to council and some of the 9 council people worked on it for almost 2 years and made a TON of progress. Part of that was the creation of the BDAC and getting into the Allegheny together program. The progress stopped when you became president of council. Why is it so hard for you to admit that it was a great idea?

        Please explain as the president of council why the council hired a DAS that couldnt be bonded for the normal amount required by Bellevue code? Was this your decision, or again were you just one of nine council people? Why is their bond costing more than most other folks?

        I cant wait to see your campaign signs…”I’m only 1 of 9 council people but when its a friends idea, Ill take full credit!”

        There’s a leadership slogan everyone is going to get behind.

  16. Mrs. Woshner – Sorry for misspelling your name, I didn’t see it until it posted.

  17. Well,…Nina, I think you said it all. I was dumbfounded by the response from Mrs. Woshner – and frankly, unable to wrap my mind around an appropriate response.

    It’s….it’s…so much like the responses we get from Pottstown Council. Until now, I couldn’t even let myself imagine that there was another borough in PA whose leadership is so provincial that when approached with logic and innovation they’ve no other response than to defend their choice to remain narrow minded and self-centered.

    I harken from the western part of the U.S. and have lived in various parts of the country where I have been involved and active with local government, even starting up an arts business and a food cart where I was encouraged and acommodated, even though both businesses were new, unfamiliar concepts to local officials.

    Until I relocated to PA 5 years ago I had never before experienced anything even remotely comparable to this archaic mindset on display in your community and sadly….mine.

    Recently, an attorney friend defined the optimal local government role as one of “political advocacy” for their constituents, not micro-managment. I think that sums it up nicely. Like Pottstown, you’re only chance of deliverance and real progress will be to vote them ALL out of office.

  18. Oh my…I’m going to reiterate my original comment above…the responses to these fresh ideas and enthusiasm is just SO DISAPPOINTING.

    As an aside, the Bellevue website is so poorly designed and useless it would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

  19. Danina,

    I am playing politics? Let’s call it the truth. You blame all the problems with Bellevue on council. You are constantly criticizing council for not doing enough. You tend to criticize those council members who come to the meetings and are prepared. You do not have to use the word savior but that is what you want from government.

    What are you and your group doing to make this town better? If you have all the answers what can you do without having government involvement? I remember on July 4, 2012 LiB was going to use the July 4th as a fix up day in the community. Nothing has happened. You just want to complain.

    We need to have realistic expectations when it comes to revitalizing our community. I don’t think degrading our town every opportunity you get is the approach to take. We need to work towards a more positive approach. We need to work with our positive attributes. Bellevue has more positives than negatives. I appreciate your desire to help promote our community but you are not an expert in economic development. I just can’t vote to gamble taxpayers’ money on unproven ideas. I would prefer to have professionals in the development or marketing of communities to advise us.

    A couple of corrections to your post. There is an ordinance that does permit outdoor seating to enjoy a meal and a drink. Free trees. Again, we did not “qualify” to get free trees. You are well aware of it because all the reasons were stated several times during our meetings. Just because council applies for a grant does not mean it will be awarded the grant. It is a competitive process. Another false accusation, no employee was ever stalked. And you know no family was ever video taped. Your friends were more worried about their friend than the taxpayers in this community. Council can delegate responsibilities but the ultimate accountability is on council, therefore, when those professionals are not doing their jobs council does need to get involved. You have criticized council for things that should have been done by our professionals.

    Stop going after Jane Braunlich. She has been an advocate for the businesses and the taxpayers. She was the person who pushed to get free parking evenings and weekends for our businesses. .She has one of the best attendance records and she comes prepared. Jane was relentless about budgeting for the paving of streets. She picked apart the sewage budget to insure the sewage surcharge was kept to a minimum when some on council wanted the surcharge to be more. Start criticizing those on council who do not show up for meetings or who come unprepared. In past years, it has been difficult to get a quorum for budget meetings but those that did not attend all of the meetings criticized the budget. Jane was always at the budget meetings. You never give her credit for what she does.

    Connie Rankin was not given $5,000 to promote the business district. I have no idea where you came up with that misinformation. In fact, she never received one cent of that money.

    I know there is nothing I can say or do which will satisfy you. I can only ascertain that I am criticized for doing my job as a council person and am dedicated to being there for the taxpayer. I guess I should do nothing and not attend meetings then I will not be criticized? I guess I should violate the state open meetings law? Additionally, I am not in political mode because I have 2 years left to my term. I was elected 2 times because the voters are confident I am a knowledgeable and competent council person the same as in my personal and professional life. I am constantly attending meetings, webinars, seminars and conferences to educate myself. I treat the taxpayers’ money as I do my own. I take my position seriously.

    • Linda,
      You really are a master of DEFLECTION.

      I’m not asking about the past council, although I will certainly shoot an email to some of the members of the past council to see where their plan was and why it never went into full swing.
      I really hope there’s a good reason other than what I’m guessing will be a predictable answer: That once the majority changed hands, any and all attempts at accomplishing said plan were fought tooth and nail. I will get back to you on what their answers are.

      What organization was granted the $5k for “marketing the business district”?

      Free parking on nights and weekends was enacted by towns and boroughs ages ago…finally catching up with the rest of the WORLD is not really something to pat yourself on the back for. Although much appreciated, of course. Too bad all of the awesome businesses that lined the street are for the most part gone. So now people have PLENTY of options for where they choose to park their cars on Lincoln Ave. In order for “free” parking to be a viable part of helping the business district, there should actually be businesses that are open during the “free” parking times. We have about 4 of them…Rusty Nail, Dari Vila, Berry Quool, and take-out.

      Finding good people for council is really hard…especially when the really good people are those that have REAL jobs, families and businesses. So as far as I’m concerned, I will support the members of council that vote in a way that encourages the legislators to stay out of the way, not micro-manage and control things to no end. So you say that Jane Braunlich is a “good” council member. Why, because she has no job and can be at every meeting, volunteer for every event, and be so incredible out of touch with what it takes for a town to actually succeed because she’s had no real hands-on employment for years? Sure, that makes it really easy to have the mentality that everything should be a charity and that anyone making a “profit” should be regulated. The moment that she criticized Mr. Fodi about his profit margin regarding his jewelry shop, I didn’t need to hear another word from her about anything ever again. It’s not the business of the council what a person is profiting, nor is it their responsibility to try to throw a wrench into his ability to profit. The “pawn shop” ordinance was nothing more than a REACTION, because someone on council had been burglarized. Trust me, no law/ordinance is going to stop someone from finding a way to pawn valuables (whether they do it here or in another town). The same way that a law/ordinance didn’t stop them from burglarizing in the first place. Think about it. Laws are only effective because the law abiding citizens follow them. The law-breakers could care less what ordinances you decide to enact.

      As you said, I’m certainly NOT an expert at revitalizing a borough. However, I am VERY in tune with what has been done in other areas to bring revitalization. Like I mentioned in a previous comment, I have made it a point to sign up for every and all town newsletters from around our region. I am currently signed up for roughly 20 of them. I think that is pretty telling about what I’m using to educate myself on things. Remember when i offered to set up a community road trip for the council, mayor, and any other residents that cared to join? The plan was for me to do all of the leg work, get in touch with community leaders, mayors, and local organizations in a few towns around Pittsburgh. Then we could plan a day when we would visit a town and sit down with these people to network, talk, get to know each other, make connections, and ultimately pique their brain about how they achieved their goals for their borough/town/city/region. Remember when the only two people that responded were Kathy Coder and Mark Helbling? Nothing more needs to be said.

      So you are so worried about if someone is fully “prepared” for a meeting (i.e. knowing the minute details of every ordinance, etc…) I totally agree that being prepared is definitely important. However, to me personally…knowing that an ordinance is so incredibly ridiculous and liberty-impairing is also important. So voting in a proactive way is a lot more important to me than someone that has all the time in the world because they’re unemployed and out of touch with anything happening after 1995. It’s time for some people on council to admit that they’ve successfully run their purposely destructive course…and now it’s time to let the right people get into office to successfully clean up the mess that is left behind. Release the choke hold from this borough, it’s past due.

      • Also,
        Where are these special “sections” of the sidewalk that allow people to enjoy dinner and cocktail on the sidewalk? Last time i checked…*clears throat*…I mean got dragged through the mud and roadblocked repeatedly…this was certainly not an option for Bellevue businesses to provide to their customers. After all, sitting on the sidewalk with a glass of wine could ruin our borough, right?

        But the piles of litter, cigarette butts, drugs, and nuisance commercial storefronts don’t play a part in the “pollution” of our borough?

        Was that ordinance amended at some point to allow adults to be adults?

  20. As Election Day is upon us, I did some reflection–When I got appointed to the council, I kept thinking, it really can’t be this childish…but 4 years later, I am still in utter astonishment at the silly, juvenile games people play to protect their little kingdom, instead of using all this energy to do something positive to improve the community. As I read Ms. Woshner’s accusations and hear about another mudslinging postcard in people’s mailboxes against me, I take great solace knowing I’ve done something right–or they wouldn’t go to such great lengths to destroy me. If the positive changes weren’t a threat, no one would care. However, I do have to wonder about people who constantly accuse other people of wrongdoing….it usually means it’s the very thing they are guilty of! Whatever happens Tuesday, I am ready to be done with the “Bellevue mean girls in high school” club. But, a BIG thank you girls…what didn’t kill me, made me stronger!!!

    • I never named names. Then you believe you are the person I am accusing of the actions mentioned in this blog? I, also, received the so called mudslinging postcard. I think you need to look elsewhere rather than blame me. I don’t need to play games. Are you saying you did not do those things mentioned on the card?

      Stop blaming me for everything. I am tired of your insults. I don’t need power for $150 a month. And what power is it anyway? Take responsibility for your actions.

      You talk about what juvenile games people play then what about the tactics used against your opponent for the state House? Let’s stop all this and do what is best for our community. Enough is enough.

  21. Wow…just wow. Let me just say that I, a Bellevue home owner and tax payer unaffiliated with LiB, find this whole conversation very telling.

    A local government IS in fact responsible for the success of the community, not just drawing up budgets and keeping the streets paved. It’s up to the leaders to empower the folks that have the time and passion to bring life to Bellevue. Instead I see a lot of childish bickering and nothing changing for the better. There’s no excuse for the lack of plan. If the development should be left to the professionals…has a professional consultant been hired?? Is there a plan in place to raise and allot funds to hire one? Sure change isn’t easy and change takes time, but it will NEVER happen without a real plan of action.

  22. Jennie,
    I agree completely! The major problem and “disconnect” that i see happen over and over again is groups of people and organizations that are trying to do good in this borough. What they ask of our elected officials is to support them and get out of the way. What i see is our elected leaders being so power hungry that they cannot bring themselves to give up the control. If they can’t control it, they can’t support it. It’s their job to stay the hell out of the way, in my opinion. Micro managing of projects, plans, and the like is the exact reason that nothing gets done and things take ages to accomplish. If they would just vote to let the professionals do what they do and give them a budget to stay within on a project…progress would be made.

    Our borough HAS hired professionals to do planning and research about improving and revitalizing our borough and business district. However, our current council majority has micro managed these organizations to DEATH. Allegheny County has labelled Bellevue as “hard to work with” because of this. Why would they give us grant money when the plans are just nit-picked and micro managed? There are plenty of other boroughs and towns that would gladly accept the money and the plan put in place by revitalization experts. The handful of big mouths on council that micro managed this plan to death are twisting themselves into knots trying to come up with excuses and using out-dated information to fight against these positive changes proposed by the very organizations that we used tax dollars to acquire.

    The following is a plan that was proposed in 2011. We’d never heard much of it, but a few months back…we began to dig and dig for information about a “plan” for Bellevue. Tons of google searches, numerous phone calls, etc… Needless to say, the current council majority was NOT happy that we uncovered this plan and made it available for the public. Now, of course all of the ideas in this plan are not perfect, but it’s by far a plan that is pretty thorough and if followed, could really put Bellevue in the position to get lots of grant money. It’s clear that a lot of time, effort, expertise, and MONEY were used to create this document. Why would our borough not be using this as an outline for our goals? Revitalization is what this organization DOES…but of course, like everything else…it was disregarded and hidden from the public.

    https://libertyinbellevue.com/2013/07/18/bellevue-walkabilitylivability-report/

  23. The biggest problem is only one side is being heard. There are always 2 sides to a story. I don’t have time to correct all the false statements. I am not a crook, stupid or a liar. I am an educated business women. In addition, who would want to respond to this blog and then be villainized?

    I have never been told by Allegheny County that Bellevue is hard to deal with and I have talked to them several times about the Streetscape project. The walkability study was emailed to all members of the Streetscape Committee. It was not hidden. Evidently, the committee chose not to include the ideas from the study. Many of the members of the committee were LiB members.

    A council person was talking to someone from a community that hired a consultant to help their business district. I am told they successfully brought in businesses to their business district. There needs to be more research before we can take on this cost. I can not say for sure the consulting company was the reason for the business district success. We could not include the consulting costs in the 2013 budget because of the revenue unknowns due to the county reassessment.

    Liberty in Bellevue has all the answers and does not want the government to be involved then what are they are doing to improve Bellevue? Where are all these groups that council is getting in their way? I can only hope there are many groups which would want to work with council to improve the community. We have had a couple of groups that performed work in the borough and they did a wonderful job. In fact, we are blessed with people who are willing to do volunteer work.

  24. I, personally, can’t wait for the new blood to get into office. What’s happening now is that it’s so convoluted that it’s a he said she said thing and honestly, that gets nowhere. What I DO see from the president of council is someone who is willing to be a part of these discussions and that is great. BUT I will also say that what I see from the council meetings is a president who does bully and whines when things don’t go her way. It’s called a democracy. We aren’t supposed to be completely happy when every little thing goes our way. I am sure that everyone has good ideas and definitely (at least I hope) have good intentions.

    In the immortal words of Rodney King, can’t we all get along?

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