Published first on the Progress News, July 5, 2021
Redevelopment, at its core, is all about change – finding new ways of doing things or utilizing spaces to better serve local needs. Sometimes this means big change, like removing buildings, reorganizing structures, or rethinking entire systems. Often, though, Redevelopment is about the little changes, the incremental and modest new experiences we bring into our routines that keep things fresh, engaging, and uplifting.
This coming Friday, July 9th, from 3-6pm, we’ll be doing a bit of both. To help kick off SummerFest, the ORA’s Redevelopment program is holding its first major public event at the former Fuchs Lubricants facility at the end of Main Street in Emlenton. That in and of itself is a pretty big change, since this site hasn’t seen much activity since the facility closed in 2013. The event will also highlight and seek feedback on the big changes to come at the site, which is currently undergoing environmental assessment and remediation planning.
The rest, however, is a celebration of the power of little changes. The addition of “FuchsFest” to the SummerFest lineup is a modest extension to the incredible schedule of activities the Civic Club has planned for the weekend. From the much-anticipated town-wide yard sale that kicks everything off each year to the car cruise that wraps it up (and let’s not forget the always amazing fireworks display on Saturday night!), SummerFest always has something for everyone to enjoy.
Our event will also bring some small but impactful changes to the Fuchs property while we slowly move through the assessment and remediation process. We’ve been busy freshening up the exterior of the site (as much as one can for a graphite-clogged industrial brownfield), and on the 9th a crew of talented local and regional artists will be leading a public mural-painting event, celebrating the beauty and promise of our area. Local artists Jenny Allen, Melissa Bawa, Rachel Brosnahan, and Sandra Jackson will be putting their own personal spin on the mural project, and the Coop Art Studio has designed a paint-by-numbers panel for those like me with plenty of artistic passion, but not so much talent! We still have a few mural panels available, too, for anyone who might like to join in, whether individually or as a group.
We are also incredibly fortunate to be joined by two celebrated Pittsburgh muralists, public arts advocate Max Gonzales and Rivers of Steel Featured Artist Shane Pilster, who will collaborate with our local artists to create a one-of-a-kind outdoor masterpiece. Pilster and Gonzales have received numerous accolades for their artistic talent, advocacy, and community involvement, both separately and as a team, and we are thrilled that they have agreed to be part of the FuchsFest event. Besides the welcome addition of their artistry, their participation in this project continues and strengthens our historic link with Pittsburgh, honoring the history and future potential of our region!
Anyone is welcome to join in the FuchsFest event. Whether you are keen to pick up a paintbrush or have something related to Redevelopment that you’d like to share, please come on down on Friday, July 9th, from 3-6. See you there!