By Andy Medici
As part of an ongoing effort to aid the victims of the Western Avenue New Years fire, Tom Roberts and Susanna Ortner Roberts will play a benefit concert at the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church on North Avenue.
The concert will be from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will feature the Roberts’ piano and clarinet music. Suggested donations are $10, and are to be given to the Northside Leadership Conference’s fire relief fund.
The owners of the businesses damaged in the fire have said they plan to rebuild in the wake of the fire.
Irene Zotis, who owns the Modern Café and Little Deli alongside her husband, said that the Modern Café building was still structural sound and that would make rebuilding easier. Right now, the Little Deli is also closed because of smoke damage.
“We just need a lot of patience and a lot of help,” Zotis said. “We are trying to do the best we can and come back even better than before.”
Zotis said that with the help of the community they were hoping for the best in the future.
Kerry Kennedy, who owned the Floral shop, continues to operate out of a temporary workshop in the Parador Inn, and he will continue to take orders and do business until he can rebuild as well.
Mark Fatla, the executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference, responded to questions about directing assistance by setting up a fund to help the business owners during this difficult time.
The text of the letter is reprinted below in its entirety:
Northside Leadership Conference has been asked to establish a Fire Relief Fund for the residents and businesses who suffered in the New Year’s Eve fire on Western Avenue. Please see these news accounts:
At least 2 businesses (Kerry Kennedy Floral and The Modern Café) are totally destroyed, one (Styles By Thomas & Thomas) is significantly damaged. Two residents are displaced and have lost their belongings. Not the best way to start the New Year.
Northsiders and others have been calling to offer their help to these Northside neighbors, and so NSLC has established the Western Avenue Fire Relief Fund at Fifth Third Bank on East Ohio St, Northside. Contributions can be made to the fund and mailed to Northside Leadership Conference at 4 Allegheny Center, Suite 601, Pittsburgh PA 15212. If donors have a preference, they may specify the particular business or individual they wish to help in the Notes line on the check.
NSLC is offering relocation assistance to find temporary locations for the businesses displaced by the fire and technical assistance from NSLC’s Business Development Director under the Mainstreets Pittsburgh program.
Finally, NSLC’s loan fund subsidiary, the Northside Community Development Fund, has offered to meet with affected businesses to extend financing assistance where possible. We want to get these entrepreneurs back on their feet as soon as possible.
Finally, thoughts and prayers for those affected are always of inestimable value. Please remember these Northside neighbors in the manner of your choosing.
Please forward this information to anyone who might be interested and if anyone has any questions, they are welcome to call me at 412-330-2553.
Mark T Fatla
Northside Leadership Conference