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Reviving American Towns – The Braddock Experiment. Is it worthwhile?

Mayor Fetterman of Braddock Pennsylvania has been fighting to restore Braddock, which was once a prosperous town during 1920s. Now it is dilapidated, but slowly and painfully recovering. There are many such stories around the country.


Also, similar such fate is of Detroit. It is estimated that about 40 % of the houses are in ruins.


To revive a dead town is it a prudent spending. Although, I have made arguments against business revival when it is failing, the counter argument seems possible for dying town, since it is about people and the life around them.

What do others think about the Braddock experiment?

Mayor John Fetterman
[email protected]

In July of 2001, Fetterman started, and still directs, a program serving the dislocated youth from Braddock and the surrounding communities to earn their GED, secure employment, and receive intensive intervention and case management. In late 2003, he purchased an abandoned warehouse on Library Street for $2,000 and converted into a residential loft.

In a 3-way race for mayor in the 2005 Democratic primary, Fetterman soundly defeated a two-term incumbent, and ultimately won the election by a single vote over the other candidate, another life-long resident of Braddock.

As Mayor, Fetterman’s main emphasis is threefold: improving the quality of life for the young people in Braddock, attracting the kind of outside energy, ideas, and interest from the artistic, urbanist, and creative communities, and subverting the $2.5 billion Mon-Fayette Expressway designed to run through the middle of Braddock.

Fetterman’s efforts in his first term are paying dividends for the Braddock community. Creation of a large community center and a major piece of public art are in the works. A garden now sits on what was once one of the town’s most prominent over-grown lots. An influx of activity and interest of all sorts in the town from outsiders is generating a upswing in attention for this Southwestern PA municipality.

In early 2006 Fetterman enlisted Jeb Feldman as his Deputy Mayor. Feldman began working with Mayor Fetterman at the beginning of his term in January, ‘06. Feldman acts cooperatively with the Mayor and others in strategic planning, outreach and recruitment in Braddock renewal efforts.

In October of 2006 Lou the Lincoln returned home to Braddock as the Mayor Mobile. Purchased and housed in Braddock for three decades, this ‘75 Continental was displaced to the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh where it was outfitted with chrome rims and tinted windows. Fetterman and Feldman purchased this car to bring it home as a symbol of Braddocc and its future. Lou the Lincoln is named after his Braddock owner of 30 years; Lou Azzolini.

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