The “In Your Business” City Council Candidate Forum took place yesterday at HIP at the Flashlight Factory in the Northside. The event was part of the North Side/Shore Chamber of Commerce’s evening “In Your Business” event series. The Northside Chronicle live tweeted the event.

By Ashlee Green

Photos by Lauren Stauffer

Yesterday, City Council District 1 hopefuls Mark Brentley Sr., Bobby Wilson and Councilwoman Darlene Harris gathered at HIP at the Flashlight Factory in Allegheny West to answer questions about heritage, equity, and what they would each do with a $1 million grant in Pittsburgh’s Northside. Around 50 people RSVPed for the event, and questions were posed by emcee Nick Bonesso, president of Avanti Consulting Group. Candidates and guests were welcomed to the space by Flashlight Factory owner Mitchell Schwartz.

“The Northside’s on fire,” said Schwartz. “It’s a real community over here and we love it.”

Gina Grone, executive director of the North Side/Shore Chamber of Commerce (NS/SCC) talked about the Chamber as a resource to help promote and enhance business activities on the Northside. She introduced Bonesso, who announced the evening’s ground rules: Each candidate was allotted a three-minute opening statement, which was followed by a series of predetermined questions. Candidates were allowed a one-minute response to each question. A full video streamed live at the event is now available from NS/SCC.

In Councilwoman Harris’ introduction, she focused on being in her 13th year on Pittsburgh’s City Council and her continued dedication to the Northside. Brentley spoke of being born and raised in Northview Heights and the time he spent on the school board. Bobby Wilson talked about working as a medical researcher by day and raising his children on the same block where he grew up.

When asked what they would each do with a $1 million grant, Wilson said he would finish the Garden Theatre project, while Brentley would build a small community panel to set prioritizes. Councilwoman Harris said she would give it to the neighborhoods that are not able receive CDBG grants and use it to fund reasonable, immediate needs like walking signs and security cameras.

Other topics covered at yesterday’s forum included economic developments, affordable housing, neighborhood blight, minority and women-owned businesses, and the Antwon Rose II case and verdict. Follow @nschronicle on Twitter and search the hashtag #HIPCityCouncil to see our complete live Twitter coverage of the event. To watch the full video of the forum provided by NS/SCC, click here.

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