Wilkinsburg Focus Group 2020
Engaging in conversation to identify the issues facing Wilkinsburg and to become part of the solution.
Focusing on the Future
Spring of 2020, the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) invited 350 Wilkinsburg stakeholders to participate in a visioning process from June to August 2020. Because large community gatherings could not be held during COVID-19, participants engaged in a series of surveys and zoom conferences to replicate the community meeting process. An executive summary and complete report are available below.
The Wilkinsburg Focus Group 2020 was facilitated by Ellen Ruddock, who was also the facilitator for the WCDC’s original Wilkinsburg Focus Group held in 2006 and Jordan Pallitto from The Hill Group. Overall 134 individuals were part of the conversation to identify and increase awareness of the issues facing Wilkinsburg and to become part of the solution.
Strengths and Vision
During the sessions participants agreed that Wilkinsburg has distinct strengths of location; community ties; resiliency, friendly and positive people; prominent churches; and existing racial and economic diversity. The group also shared a vision for the future of Wilkinsburg as a regional destination that is diverse and welcoming for all with a vibrant business district, and visibly strong neighborhoods.
Despite Wilkinsburg’s tremendous progress, the group identified a number of barriers to achieving their vision. The list of obstacles needing to be addressed includes:
High Property Taxes – Vacant Property and Blight – The Visible State of the Business District – Perceptions of Crime – School District Performance – Resistance to change
Participation and Next Steps
In order to bring about change in the community they love, participants volunteered to join and form committees. A plan of next steps will be developed by these committees over the coming months. To participate in the final phase of the focus group, we invite you to share your thoughts, experiences, feelings and ideas on Wilkinsburg by filling out the survey below.