New Hope From a New Neighbor

PHCA staff, volunteers and neighbors have been busily working on the next edition of the Polish Hill Voice. The Winter 2008 edition is due out in a matter of days. We are releasing the following article as a preview of our upcoming newsletter. Stay tuned here on BLOGSKI for the release –

New Hope From a New Neighbor

By Alexis Miller

At first, Polish Hill newcomer Jeremy Morrow thought he was going to be buying a house in Lawrenceville, but now he can’t be happier that he ended up in Polish Hill.

After looking for property to buy in Lawrenceville for several months, Morrow came across his current house on 3446 Melwood Street.

“I think it scared away a lot of people, because it was halfway completed,” he said, but he saw it as a great opportunity to fix up an old house that needed some love. “This house has so much potential in it. I jumped on it as soon as I saw it.”

Because of the state of disrepair the house was in, Morrow had to do work on the house before even getting a mortgage, but that didn’t deter him. He has been renovating it since the beginning of August, closed on the house at the beginning of September and hopes to move in this winter.

He will be renting out the first floor, which he has remodeled into a modern one-bedroom apartment. Originally, he was planning on renting the top two floors as well, but once he started working, he knew that Polish Hill was going to be his new home.

Although renovating the 1960s building was a major project requiring a lot of risk and a lot of work, the 32-year old insists that despite having no previous construction or renovation experience, “I love what I’m doing here.”

In addition to the fondness for the house, another factor in his decision to live at 3446 Melwood Street was the neighborhood itself.

A Pittsburgh native who was born in the North Side, received his master’s degree from the KATZ School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and most recently lived in Lawrenceville, Morrow sees Polish Hill as a unique neighborhood.

Just in the few months he has been in Polish Hill, he has met a lot of his neighbors, which is funny, he claims, “because I haven’t met that many people in Lawrenceville or anywhere else I have lived. I think that shows a lot about the neighborhood and the people who live in the neighborhood. It has real character.”

Even with the high number of vacant or blighted properties around him, he sees a lot of other people doing what he’s doing. “It means there is an opportunity for improvement,” he says.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about this neighborhood,” Morrow says with an honest smile. “It’s a special place.”