If you have been reading the blog or following IheartPGH on Twitter and Instagram over the past year, you have noticed more than a few posts about the Albright United Methodist Church building. On Monday afternoon, I will address the Pittsburgh City Council at the final public hearing on the historic designation for this building.
I am asking for your help in making sure that this building receives a historic designation in the City of Pittsburgh. A year ago, I helped to organized a community block party to bring together neighbors and community members to think about the future of this space. The current proposal for the future of this building is to sell it to a developer who plans to demolish it and replace it with a drive-thru coffee shop. I know Pittsburgh can do better. I don’t want to live in a city that replaces community spaces and historic buildings with drive-thrus. Last year, I personally nominated the Albright Church Building for historic designation in the City of Pittsburgh. The more I’ve learned about the history of this building, the more convinced I am about the importance of preserving this building. Designed by architect Chancy W. Hodgdon, this is one of the best and most complete sets of stained glass windows from the SS Marshal company. You can read more about the history of this building from the East Liberty Historic Society here.
The historic designation process in Pittsburgh has three steps. After a nomination is submitted, the nomination is heard by the Historic Review Commission, then the Planning Commission, then it goes to Pittsburgh City Council. Both the Historic Review Commission and the Planning Commission have voted to support the historic designation for Albright. The final public hearing for this historic designation is on Monday, July 26, 2016 at 2pm. Thanks to the efforts of neighbors, Preservation Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Young Preservationists, we have had a huge turnout at the first two hearings. I am asking for your help to make sure we have a great turn out at the hearing on Monday.
Here is a portion of my remarks to the City Planning Commission that I think summarizes why this building is important and the opportunity to make this a better community space…
When these churches were built 100 years ago, they served as much more than Sunday morning worship spaces. Just because people are not going to church on Sunday morning, does not mean that we don’t need these spaces and services that churches once offered.
Albright sits at the intersection of 3 neighborhoods, Bloomfield, Shadyside and Friendship. And Albright also sits at the intersection of many different parts of Pittsburgh, a block away from UPMC shadyside, it is also located near the busway and right on several of the main bus routes.
Not only is the Albright church building a geographic hub, it is also at the intersection of several different socio-economic communities.
- Residents of Bloomfield, Shadyside,Friendship
- Employees of UPMC Shadyside and Allegheny General
[Albright] is ideally situated to be a community hub.
Inspired by some of the incredibly successful examples of churches building being repurposed into a community space.
- The Union Project – Highland Park
- Neu Kirch – Northside
- Niya Page Community Center – Braddock.
- Calvary United Methodist Church in Allegheny West, which has been an excellent example of a neighborhood coming together to restore and celebrate the historic building in their neighborhood
- First United Methodist Church, located on the other side of the block has been a model for a community hub as the home for the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library.
Please take action to help me #SaveAlbright today!
1. Attend the Public Hearing & Speak in FAVOR of the historic designation
City Council Hearing on Historic Designation for Albright
Monday, July 25, 2016 @ 2pm
City Council Chambers, 414 Grant Street, 5th Floor, Pittsburgh PA
The public hearing in front of City Council is the last step in the historic designation process. We have had a great turn out for the past hearings and need to fill every seat in the room with Albright supporters.
- IMPORTANT: If you are able to attend and you are willing to speak – please call the City Clerk at 412-255-2138 and ask to be listed as a speaker in FAVOR of historic designation.
- Let us know you will attend and request a t-shirt here.
2. Contact your City Council Representative
Take a moment to send an email to your City Council representative and ask them to support the historic designation for the Albright Church Building. Please cc: Friends@AlbrightPGH.com so we can print a copy to bring to the hearing.
- Bruce Kraus, Council President – email@example.com
- Reverend Ricky Burgess – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Daniel Gilman – email@example.com
- Natalia Rudiak – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Darlene Harris – Darlene.Harris@pittsburghpa.gov
- Deborah Gross – email@example.com
- Daniel Lavelle – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Theresa Kail-Smith – Theresa.Kail-Smith@ pittsburghpa.gov
- Corey O’Connor – email@example.com
3. Sign & Share Our Petition
If you have not yet signed the petition supporting Historic Designation for Albright, please sign the petition and share it with your friends. Click here to sign the petition!
You can help support our efforts by making a contribution to Friends of Albright through our fiscal sponsor, New Sun Rising. Funds will be used for t-shirt printing and legal costs associated with preserving the building.
You can learn more about Albright at AlbrightPGH.com. You can follow Albright on Facebook, Twitter @AlbrightPGH and Instagram.
Providing more details and information on why this church should be designation would be more useful than simply stating b/c it was built a 100 years ago. What is the approximate value of the property? What would the coffee shop do for local economy (and traffic) compared to the proposed alternative uses? What is the plan and steps required to turn the building into something else? (many would rather see the building reused than be a drive-thru coffee shop, but those same people would probably rather see be a drive-thru coffee shop than an abandoned building attracting crime and vandalism; if it is going to take 10+ years to reuse the building, local residents would be better off with a coffee shop).
Also there is a UMC church less than a block next door, so arguments for needing local religious and communal space isn’t very valid. Yes, it would be nice to a some type of community hub/hall, but there seems to be no demand for that theses days. (also worth noting, it would be nice to have a non-chain coffee shop in that area).
We shouldn’t tear down old buildings just because they are old and unused. BUT we shouldn’t save every church when people don’t go to church anymore. A proper cost benefit analysis should be preformed to see what is best for the community.
Leigh Anne Focareta says
Have you thought about running for public office? I think you’d do a terrific job.