A letter to Tom Smith, South Pittsburgh Reporter, and the South Side Community:
Mr. Smith, As you know through the ads we've been placing, Schwartz Market was open for the last two Saturdays in April and is open every Saturday in May, 2011, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM while we plan the renovation of the building as a living building renovation of an existing historic structure (we are registered with the International Living Buidling Institute, ilbi.org), and plan for the future occupancy of the entire building with sustainable healthy businesses. We presented to the South Side Forum about our plans at the April, 2011 meeting and were well received.
There have been some interesting occurances around the project at 1317 East Carson Street recently.
1) The loading dock signs on Bingham Street between the back entrance and our parking lot were removed without our knowledge and we want them back. We were not made aware of this beforehand. I immediately left a message for Bruce Kraus's office to ask about this, but have not yet heard back from them.
On another topic Mr. Kraus's office did contact me recently to ask if we would be interested in pursuing Right By Nature to re-locate at 1317 East Carson Street and we said we are absolutely interested in pursuing this.
2) A neighbor who lives in the flats told me yesterday she received a campaign flyer in the mail from Jeff Koch who is running for Bruce Kraus's seat in Pittsburgh council. It included a photo of Schwartz Market and the Market House, both with CLOSED signs and with the verbage : "Bruce Kraus thinks you don't pay enough taxes."
For the record, Bruce Kraus has been supportive of the Schwartz Market project we are pursuing and the 1317 East Carson Street renovation project as a whole. Mr. Kraus appeared and spoke at our eighth event on December 8, 2010 attended by 80 people, mostly South Siders, on the development of the market and the whole property. The market is open! I am writing to clarify the record. The business was sold by the Schwartz family in 1986 to two families, the Stantons and the Dorfners. They cleared out their equipment and turned the business back to us on March 5, 2011. The business Schwartz Market is open, but in a different way than people are used to. We are working towards developing the building in a way that the collective businesses will eventually be community run. We're offering independent business owners, those that would like to hatch green businesses, and artists tremendous opportunity for collaboration and engagement in this process of Transition. Note this is a capital "T" intentionally)(See TransitionPgh.org for details)
I know that what we are doing is out of the ordinary, very grass roots, and not familiar to most of the population. It is organic and changes often. We are keeping plans totally open to the many local organizations in the South Side and to the local government. Does the community truly want to continue to see the wholesome development of a true community market and commercial/community kitchen? How are they willing to help this process? In our humble way, this is what the development of this type of project looks like. It is careful and slow. Slow development. For some, it will take courage to walk through the doors in this transitional time when it seems like not much is going on . Please understand that there is a lot going on. You will start to understand when you take time to come in and talk with us. Everyone is welcome !
These Saturday openings have been totally fascinating, and I highly recommend stopping by one Saturday if you are able. Each week there is a new surprise! The Saturday before last, Joe Liotta, the man who has been painting the signs since 1938, and continues to paint the signs for us, came by totally unannounced, and told stories about the history of the Schwartz Markets over all of the years he worked there, first as a stock boy and up through the ranks to manager.
We now have two photographers, and one sculptor that uses completely recycled materials, displaying their work in the space. We're also selling food items that are either locally sourced, organic, and/ or healing foods. Peace Garden will be donating all of the fresh vegetables they produce on the South Side this summer to the market to go towards the overall project at 1317 East Carson Street. We educate every person that walks through the door on some level about something to do with our food system. We have been working with multiple non-profits on many levels, and several filmakers to document this process.
Please go to http://1317eastcarson.blogspot.com/, the Schwartz Market facebook page, and http://www.transitionpgh.org/ for updates and to learn how to get involved in this amazing process!
It is apparent to me that Mr. Koch is not aware of any of this activity that has been going on at 1317 East Carson Street for the past two years.
With Great Intentions,