We’re throwing it back to 1999 and East Liberty’s first community plan that ELDI helped bring to life—A Vision for East Liberty. For those who are newer to the neighborhood, join us for a walk down memory lane. ⤵️

By the time the 1999 community plan was written, there had been over twenty years of decline, dissension, and mistrust in East Liberty. Community leadership was fragmented, with no one able to agree on a strategy to reverse the decline of the neighborhood brought about by urban renewal. Streets and neighborhood blocks were literally gone, replaced by a highway-sized ring road and vast parking lots around the commercial core. Retail life in the heart of the community was choked off by inaccessibility. Racial and economic change created rifts in the neighborhood and deepened the divide between business owners and residents, homeowners and renters, old and young.

In 1979, the East Liberty Quarter Chamber of Commerce formed the nonprofit East Liberty Development, Inc. to facilitate redevelopment efforts in the neighborhood and begin the process of reversing the effects of urban renewal.

Progress was uneven and slow through the 80s and 90s, and in the late 1990s, new leaders in East Liberty brought a sense of urgency to tackling old problems. They recognized that overcoming fragmentation and division by developing an aligned neighborhood had to be a top priority. Through a community-driven process, stakeholders developed A Vision for East Liberty.

This 1999 community plan set the stage for the next generation of revitalization. It highlighted community initiatives that represented the beginning of local investment and success, which became the building blocks for change. It was the starting point to create a successful, self-sustaining community once again.

Check out the gallery below for pictures of East Liberty in the 80s and 90s.

Read the full plan and check out more East Liberty history on our interactive historical timeline.