Swissvale is named after the Swisshelm family, who owned a farm where the town is located. Jane Swisshelm became a noted abolitionist and political activist. The family settled here in the late 1700s. Widespread development did not come to Swissvale until the early 1900s with the industrialization of the Borough. The Population peaked at 16,500 in 1950 and rapidly declined. There are now approximately 8,500 residents here, but signs are positive that the population is stabilizing.
Swissvale has a lot of good things going for it from an urban perspective. It’s located at the end of the Pittsburgh East Busway, providing convenient access to downtown. Regent Square and Frick Park are nearby as well. Swissvale still retains much of its housing stock and traditional main street, which is centered around a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stop.
There are signs that investment is picking up in Swissvalle, especially in the western and more stabilized western half of the borough. Increased targeted investment in the urban commercial district would go a long way towards making this a quality urban district.
|URBAN STRENGTHS |
* Solid public transit access throughout most of Swissvale. And good access to Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland.
* Excellent economic and generational diversity and decent racial and diversity.
* Great range of for sale housing starting at around 40K for the rougher product to 300K for the best housing in the most stable streets. Rentals are on the cheap side with 1-bedrooms ranging from $500-$800 and 2-bedrooms anywhere from $800-$1,300. Lots of rental product.
* While set in a strip mark, the Edgewood Shopping Center provides residents lots of important neighborhood amenities (i.e. Liquor store, Supermarket, clothing stores, banks, etc.). In the traditional main streets along Monongahela and Noble St there are some neighborhood shops, cafes, restaurants, some boutiques, churches, and the public library.
* Recreational amenities can be limited depending on where you live. Residents in Swisshelm and the western edge of Swissvale have great access to 9 mile run and Frick Park but only 3 other small parks throughout.
* Cultural amenities pretty limited. There are some restaurants, bars, and cafes but not theaters or museums. One is about a mile though from Regent Square, which hosts many restaurants, bars, and cafes.
* A fair amount of blight and vacancy still exists throughout.
* Several walkable schools within Swisshelm but generally poor ratings.
* ADA infrastructure is a mixed bag. Generally there are curb cuts, but often not ADA compliant infrastructure.
* Not much modern architecture, and what does exist is pretty suburban.