In 1994, Mayor Tom Murphy had the idea to clean up some of the city’s vacant lots, place picket fence around them, and showcase them as properties for sale. About a year into the program, Project Picket Fence had cleaned up 80 lots, with 19 groups pledging to maintain them. Mayor Murphy’s attempt to expand the program failed when City Council griped that most of the original 80 lots were now just tall weeds with fences around them. This lot on the east side of East Allegheny seems to be maintained ok, but it’s still there, empty, 16 years later.
Current Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has a similar program called Green-Up- “Transforming Blight into Beauty.” I haven’t passed any Green-Up sites yet, but I’m hoping his plan achieves greater success and longevity than his predecessor’s.