Some dramatic changes could be in store for one of the city's most iconic arteries: West Mifflin Street.
In drafting the downtown plan (which is a guide for development), the city's planning department is considering two alternatives for the area, known for old houses that have been carved up into student apartments and the annual pre-finals keg party each spring. One idea would leave the area as it is. The other would let the houses be razed to make way for four- to six-story buildings.
William Fruhling, a city planner, described the second concept to a Capitol Neighborhoods meeting of about 20 people last week as "warehouse-type buildings with a lot of windows, higher ceilings." Fruhling says loft-type buildings would act as a transition from the taller buildings across Broom Street.
But, Fruhling stressed, "These aren't recommendations. These are concepts. We want people to discuss and react to them."
The reaction last week was mostly negative. "Why can't we preserve what we've got until there really is some need" for a high-density development, asked Bob Holloway, who lives in nearby Metropolitan Place Condominiums.
Ald. Mike Verveer agreed: "I am troubled by some recommendations laid out for your neighborhood. This cherished, cute little neighborhood could be going the way of the dinosaurs."