I had the chance to hear Mayor John Fetterman of Braddock, PA speak about his plans for revitalization in his town when he visited Duquesne today. Mayor Fetterman was invited to Duquesne as a part of the business school’s Distinguished Ethics Speaker Series. Although I am clearly not a business major, the speaker series is open to all students and community members.
Braddock is about 20 minutes east of Pittsburgh, and was once a thriving steel town. Today I learned that Braddock has seen a 90% decrease in buildings and population, with the remaining 10% in a dire situation. Poverty is high and the remaining population is aging.
The small town of about 3,000 residents has been in the news recently, as UPMC announced it would be closing their Braddock hospital. Mayor Fetterman told Duquesne students that the hospital was the only remaining place to get a meal in town, and housed the last ATM for the residents of Braddock. He intervened and saved the ATM, but soon there will be nowhere to get lunch, dinner, or any kind of hot meal.
The Mayor also discussed the town’s efforts to revitalize their area, including remodeling an abandoned church to use for a community center, hiring the town’s young people to plant urban gardens on abandoned lots, and have special events to attract outsiders to Braddock.
I had heard about Mayor Fetterman on the news because of the closing of UPMC Braddock, and it was awesome to hear him speak in person. Mayor Fetterman really has a passion for rejuvenating his town, and the people of Braddock are lucky to have such a strong advocate.