On May 6, 2015, the Historic Review Commission held their second River of Words hearing regarding the appeal filed by neighbor Glenn Olcerst. The first hearing was held on February 4, 2015.
In December of 2014, residents within the Mexican War Streets were asked to remove the words from the exteriors of their houses. Olcerst’s appeal aims to allow the continued display of words within the historic district.
At the May 6 hearing, Olcerst read a prepared statement and presented the Historic Review Commission with a petition signed by more than 100 neighbors in support of keeping the River of Words installation within the historic district.
“The Historic Review Commission has again postponed a decision pending a revision of the design guidelines for the Mexican War Streets Historic District” says Olcerst. “Until a decision is made, the Historic Review Commission and the Bureau of Building Inspection have agreed that no one has to take down their words, and no one will be cited.”
University of Pittsburgh Professor of Communication, Caitlin Bruce, also spoke at the May 6 hearing in favor of keeping the River of Words. Her area of expertise is public art in urban spaces. She has interviewed resident word holders about what their words mean to them. She has published transcripts of each of those interviews on her blog, Kinesthetic Urban Rhetoric.