Update on Squirrel Hill Development – CBA?

About 100 folks turned out in Squirrel Hill to give input on the planned redevelopment of the stretch that includes the current home of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center. 

The Post-Gazette features a quote from GLCC Chair Rick Allison:

In addition to the Squirrel Hill Theater, several other businesses and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center will be torn down. Representatives from the community center said they still don't know where their group and other nonprofits that use the facility will locate.

“We're just hoping the developer has some funding to help us with relocation,” said the center's chair, Rick Allison. “We're hopeful that they'll help us.”

Someone needs to help.  It would be beyond awful if the GLCC had to close, even for a short period of time, while the LGBT community is making so much progress. 

I'll have to ask Rachel Canning, but this sounds like a CBA situation … the developer needs to make some concrete, binding commitments to the community (communities) impacted by the development. That would geographically be Squirrel Hill, but universally the LGBT community in the entire region. 


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  • Yes, a CBA could be a vehicle by which to ensure the GLBT center and the other groups that use the space were not left high and dry. CBAs are usually tools to help protect low and moderate income communities, but really that is because those are the communities that lack power. I think in this development you have a unique situation where the surrounding community is actually fairly affluent and has a strong power base, but the GLBT center represents a group that does not necessarily have any power and could be very negatively impacted by this development. If any one wanted to argue for a CBA this is where I would start.

  • Unfortunately I never think a CBA will happen here. Also CBA's only happen when there is public funds or land involved. This is a private development with no public funds involved. The city/state will not make a private developer make a CBA if it did…every time someone wanted to build a dog house…we need a CBA. Its unfortunate but that's the case.
    The GLCC for years has been saying it was going to move. It was going to find a building that was handicap accessible. Doesn't the GLCC even have like 20-30K that it received from a fundraiser a few years ago for a building fund? Unfortunately the lack of leadership at the GLCC has put us in this situation.
    This will be a sad day in Pittsburgh…but also might wake up some of the GLBT folk to get involved and push the present GLBT leaders to do something!!!

  • Sue
    it is public record and noted in the GLCC minutes that the GLCC had started a capital building fund almost two years ago…..which continues to this day.
    And yes- Delta foundation's Spark event last year helped in jumpstarting that fund…..off the top of my head I'm not sure of the exact amount–but now the building fund is currently somewhere around $30,000.
    Obviously that is not yet anywhere enough for a downpayment -let alone the total needed to purchase/rent or build out costs of a new building!
    Which is why glcc fundraising events continue with some specifically designated towards the “building fund”. To have raised almost $30 thousand in less than 2 years towards this goal is quite an achievement!
    However, it is blatently untrue that the money raised goes to pay for general glcc expenses! We have seperate fundraisers (most notably outrageous bingo) which helps to cover basic operating expenses of the glcc.
    Any fundraising events specifically for the building fund do NOT go into the general operating expenses of the glcc.
    New building funds are held in an interest bearing account so we can maximize our purchasing power/ build out costs when the right building is finally identified.
    As for the proposed development of the intersection.
    There is also no “fault” to the move….this is a private developer who has the investment capital and inclination to buy the buildings in question and redevelop the site. Simple as that.
    We are just fortunate that the glcc has been keeping an eye out for new building space for the past two years. The subcommittee has reviewed several buildings during that time -each rejected for one reason or another.
    If Tom Jacobs is so concerned that the “leadership” of the GLCC isn't responsive to the needs of the LBGT community I would encourage him to get active and attend GLCC meetings so his wisdom can assist in the process of finding new space.
    GLCC concerns for a new space have been affordability, handicapped accessibilty, on the bus line, in a safe neighborhood with plenty of parking and somewhere that teens can access easily. We currently have almost 5000 square feet of space and additionally rent a second location for the outrageous bingos. We have five standing leaseholders who rent affordable office space from the glcc and many community groups that utilize the meeting rooms. All of these interests must be taken into account when considering new space for the glcc.
    I find it's relatively easy to kvetch about what is lacking in the LBGTQ –but very few folks are willing to put their time, energy, and money into doing something to make it better for the whole community.
    Kat Carrick

  • It is good to have an update on the financial situation. And I agree that “blaming” leaders is not solution oriented and discredits the good work of the GLCC over the past 20 something years.
    The challenge is for the average gay person to step up and do their share to keep the community center a viable asset for our entire community. There have been several letters to the editor in the PG about the Tango Cafe (a great little place), but I haven't seen anything about the GLCC … now is the time to remind the larger community that we need this asset.
    Then get out your checkbook. Or run for a board seat to be the change you want to see.
    Kat, I will go back to the source of information about the original donation from the DF and see where it came from.

  • Concerned GLBT Business Owners created and gave the GLCC the original SPARK proceeds of $22,500. This originally was not the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh but a group of concerned business owners and their staffs.
    Since then SPARK! has become a project of the Delta Foundation.

  • Let me clarify a few things. First I don't feel that raising $7,500 after the inital SPARK! event is an amazing task. Around 2K of that probably came off the interest (hoping they put it in an interest baring account). So since the GLCC has raised another 5K. That doesn't seem to be that good.
    You say “it is blatently untrue that the money raised goes to pay for general glcc expenses!” from my original post I dont believe that accused the GLCC of using any money for anything. I am glad to hear that they have kept the money for this and have set up a separate account.
    I am concerned for the community. That why I have contributed money and continue to be in a supportive role. Coming from Boston I have seen GLBT Community Groups work together. Unfortunately in Pittsburgh the leaders of the GLBT Groups find it more beneficial to NOT work together. I tried 2 years ago when I moved to this region…but the back-stabbing between groups is not something that I want to VOLUNTEER my time for.
    Pittsburgh could be a VERY vibrant GLBT community. We unfortunately have leaders (or at least so called) that are more interested in personal gain then what's best for the community as a whole. This is not a problem with just the GLCC but with other groups as well.
    We are one community…with one common goal. Can't we all just work together and make Pittsburgh the safest and most livable for our GLBT brothers and sisters?

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