When St. John’s Health and Hospital Center vacated Brighton Heights in 1997, the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation decided to start a development project to build new homes in its place.

Twelve years after it hatched its plan, the federation is working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and contractors to assess the topography of the land. 

According to Pete Bellisario, the president of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, the reason for the long wait is “strictly money.”

“We don’t have money upfront to do something,” said Bellisario.  

The Urban Redevelopment Authority provided $230,000 and the Northside Leadership Conference provided $75,000 through Rivers Casino grant funds for initial site development and a market study. 

The federation has a preliminary plan to build 17 new housing units on the four acre plot.

Although the specific types of housing haven’t yet been decided, Bellisario said that he expects the homes to have at least two bedrooms, “probably” two bathrooms and a one car garage. He also said the development will most likely consist of a mix between ranch and two-floor homes.

The plot of land where St. John’s Hospital once stood is an ideal location for housing because of its proximity to California Avenue and Ohio River Boulevard. From the site, residents could easily access the North Hills and Downtown. 

“That part of the world is a buffer zone for Brightwood and Brighton Heights,” said Bellisario. 

In addition to utilizing empty property, the federation hopes to spur growth by attracting new people to the neighborhood. 

“There are a lot of abandoned houses. It’s a blight. A part of the game will be that, once we start building, some of the houses on Fleming can be bought and sold,” Bellisario said. 

Jeanette Lee is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Professional Writing and Investigative Journalism.

This article was updated to reflect new information about St. John’s on July 19, 2011