When Natalia Rudiak first ran for Pittsburgh City Council four years ago, she had three main goals: make the business districts better, protect the neighborhoods from crime and neglect, and restore the public’s trust in elected officials.
Rudiak—who last week announced she plans to run for re-election for the District 4 council seat—said those priorities haven’t changed, and now she’s focused on even more.
“I represent a number of communities, each with unique business districts,” Rudiak said. “Each neighborhood has its own formula, and we want to make sure residents have information about what’s happening in their back yards.”
District 4 includes all of Brookline and Beechview, as well as Carrick, Overbrook and Bon Air.
In Brookline, Rudiak said the Boulevard Reconstruction Project will be an especially important focus during the next several months. Detailed information about the project and how it will affect residents will be posted on the District 4 website as it becomes available, she said.
“I want to work with the Chamber of Commerce to figure out how to market the business district to broader its audience,” she said. “Once the reconstruction is finished, we need to figure out how to get people up to the district and market the businesses and housing there.”
In Beechview, she said, it’s time to market the community’s growing business district, which has added several new businesses in the past few years, including The Crested Duck and the IGA Market on Broadway.
Rudiak said she wants to market the area and encourage real estate professionals and property developers to come in and improve existing buildings.
But there also are broader themes Rudiak said she plans to focus on in the next four years.
Public transit and care for the area’s senior citizens are especially important, and often intertwined, she said.
“We have an aging community and they want to stay in these neighborhoods, and that even includes my own parents,” Rudiak said. “But there’s a lack of housing that allows them to do that.”
Rudiak said she already is working with developers on plans to build two new senior high-rise apartment buildings, one in Carrick and one in Overbrook on Route 51. The developments would create local jobs, first through construction, then though staff positions, and will provide a much-needed amenity close to public transit, she said.
Of course, state funding to both transit and human services is lacking.
“These cuts are real,” she said. “The state has cut human services funding, which trickles down to the local senior centers that are providing needs and meals, sometimes the only meal some of these people get. Now the burden is on local government to keep these things afloat.”
Rudiak said she is in constant contact with local state representatives, as well as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the Port Authority of Allegheny County board about these and other issues. Her goal, she said, is to help keep open lines of communication between residents and the officials who can help them.
“I can talk to my state rep, but if 200 people talk to their reps, it’s that much more effective,” she said. “My goal is to help community groups collaborate and keep it up. I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to do in the district and I hope for the chance to continue it over the next few years.”
For campaign information, see Natalia Rudiak’s campaign page.