With PNC preparing to sell, a McKeesport housing complex’s residents hope hard-won improvements continue
Hi View Gardens resident Bianca Dobbs demonstrates the unreliability of the door to her two bedroom apartment, Thursday, July 28, 2022, in McKeesport. The Hi View resident says she’s worried for the safety of herself and her 11 year old daughter as broken key fob readers mean entry to her building is no longer secure. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)
Hi View Gardens, purchased by PNC in 2018, suffered years of decline before its low-income tenants rallied to demand improvements. Now they have management’s ear — but the bank plans to sell.
“I didn’t expect it to go this far,” Tanya Brown said as she stood outside of the Eat’n Park in McKeesport, wearing a black T-shirt with the words, “Treat yourself like a queen and you’ll attract a king.”
The restaurant is down the hill from Hi View Gardens, where residents last year elected Brown — a full-time babysitter for her great-granddaughter — as the leader of a new tenant council. She didn’t know it at the time, but that election put her across the table from PNC Bank, the nation’s sixth-largest commercial financial institution and — via a holding company — her landlord.
The Hi View Gardens Tenant Council began because tenants grew tired of winters without heat, pest infestations and disorder. They took their concerns to county and local officials, a nonprofit law firm and the media before getting to the table with the half-trillion-dollar bank.