I recently found this Dec. 2005 discussion between the City Paper (CP), Wilkinsburg councilwoman Tracey Evans and three Mon-Valley mayors, including John Fetterman of Braddock, Betty Esper of Homestead, and Norma Ryan of Brownsville. I thought this interview provides a creative view of Mon-Valley strengths – it’s not all gloom and doom! (Links added by your truly. 🙂
CP: WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a strength for your community to build on?
Evans: Definitely the housing stock. Just beautiful houses, the proximity to the city and the accessibility to the East Busway and Frick Park.
Ryan: Our assets are probably our potential for tourism and recreation. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re right on the river, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in two heritage zones, Steel Industry Heritage and also the National Road. We need to build on our heritage, and maybe bring people out of city life to experience rural life.
Evans: No, no! Keep Ã¢â‚¬â„¢em in the city!
Fetterman: This might sound strange, but I think BraddockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s asset might be its complete lack of assets. I mean, some of our buildings donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have roofs! Maybe it can capture someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s imagination. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s small enough to make an impact, but large enough to get peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention.
Esper: I think the asset of Homestead is the history of Homestead, the steel industry.
Fetterman: As mayor of Braddock, I have to say, WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got steel!
Ryan: And guys, if it werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t for the coal from Brownsville, how would you get steel?
Esper: WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re celebrating our 125th anniversary this year. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk to anyone who canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk to you about the history of Homestead. We had the 1892 strike!
Ryan: Are we just that throwaway society, is that what America should be known as? No. Southwest Pennsylvania — the steel capital of the world, the national road that opened the west — as I keep trying to promote, you can really tell the story of the making of America. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all here.