There’s something awesome about home improvement shows that find houses and spaces that need some TLC, invest a bunch of love and energy in them, and restore them to the warm, fresh, welcoming gems they once were. It’s easy to get sucked into those programs and want to be part of a revitalization project—and that’s exactly what’s happening in Homewood right now with Kenny’s—an empty lot in Homewood that’s being transformed into an outdoor community-friendly space to host various activities celebrating the rich, creative skills, talents, and interests of the Homewood locals.
Having worked in Homewood for the last seven years, Demi Kolke developed a fondness for the community and its residents. As she developed relationships with the people of Homewood, Demi found it gave her the opportunity “to hear first-hand what one of the most disenfranchised neighborhoods in the city desires to see in its future.”
“Once you meet a resident who has lived in Homewood for decades, one of the first conversation topics will assuredly be about ‘the way Homewood used to be’—the liveliness, the bustling businesses, and the sense of community.”
And that’s exactly what she’s hoping to restore with Kenny’s.
This spring the Awesome Pittsburgh grant will be used for the physical revitalization process including grading the space, planting grass, and providing other landscaping needs. Once finished, Kenny’s will hold events that reflect the residents’ vision for the site including outdoor yoga classes, an art market, and a music showcase featuring musicians from the community and nearby areas. There are plans to host annual signature events like a spoken word community day and a summer birthday celebration. The site will also be available for community members for activities such as family reunions, networking events and mixers, community days and cookouts.
Awesome Pittsburgh Trustee, Sonia Bajwa, was excited to hear about what Kenny’s can bring to the community:
“It’s a space that we could truly imagine happening that’s consistent with the pride Homewood residents have for their neighborhood!”
It will be awesome to bring the residents’ vision to life giving the neighborhood a positive, open atmosphere to promote health and wellness, arts and culture, and entrepreneurs and existing businesses. It will be a tremendous win for the Homewood community!