Fifth and Forbes & the highest bidder - PittsburghLIVE.com It's time to give the free market a chance to fix Fifth and Forbes.
Government has proven it can't redevelop the two once-proud downtown Pittsburgh shopping streets; it can only strangle and kill them.
Thanks to decades of City Hall's ineptitude and serial abuse of its powers, the Fifth-and-Forbes corridor today is a shabby, undervalued and embarrassing wasteland.
Then he calls for an ebay sell off of the entire URA.
I too have called for the liquidation of the URA. It is an office that should be downsized to nothing.
The URA is holding a lot of property. Those properties number more than 5,000 lots. Those properties are not even on an inventory listing. For starters, let's see a map of the city with the URA Properties clearly marked. The URA can't provide that.
The URA properties don't generate tax incomes. So, those of us that own properties ourselves have to pay more in taxes to support the URA holdings.
However, there are a few problems with the total sell-off of the URA's properties. First, if the URA dumps 5,000 properties onto the marketplace at one time, all the other properties in the city and county are going to nose dive. The supply and demand formula is going to get shaken to its core. In due time, the prices and the marketplace tumbles will self correct. So, perhaps we take a big hit now and ride it out. In the long run, we'll all be much better. In the long run, our properties will then grow in value as our city rebounds in other services too.
Another problem with the total sell-off of the URA assets is the fact that the buyers would be entering Allegheny County. Our population growth is flat. Our economic outlook is questionable. Process problems about taxes linger. And, our leadership is about to change from one one grey-haired, white Democrat to another of same age who can hug and kiss a bit better than than other, more abrasive one. A bulk of the leaders in the past and present are cut from the same cloth that allows corporate welfare and hates to trust the free market and the people of the region.
So, a sell off of the URA property with eBay would help, no doubt. But, the sales needs to be staged. Furthermore, the liquidation of all authorties need to begin. And, system-wide reform is necessary as well.
If we had a splendid landscape of reforming attitudes and systems, then the sell off of the URA properties would cause a windfall for the city and generate a buzz throughout the nation.
I've ranted in the past that we should sell off the side-lots to homeowners who are within a 200-yard distance to the vacant land right away. Then extend the distances each season.
In the early months of 2006, the city needs to get serious about enforcement. If you have over-grown side lots breeding rats, cracked sidewalks, garbage without closed dumpsters and such -- warnings and tickets need to be issued. We need to get the city to do its job with rodent control, and that can occur in two blinks. Then we need everyone's expectations to change.
We need a rebirth in terms of respect for the city. Where you park your car; how you handle your trash; and when you scream your head off (i.e., not in the wee hours) matters. City-life needs cooperation among its citizens. Police and inspectors need to give attention to these basic jobs as well.
Considering eBay and auctions: Pitt's throwback uniforms are for sale now.