You may have noticed the ads on IFC.com directing you to consider Braddock, Pennsylvania. You may have seen the story on our air documenting the struggling steel town as it attempts to rise from the ashes of rust belt recession. You may know something about Braddock. We just want to tell you a little bit more.
Braddock, Pennsylvania, is only a few short miles from Pittsburgh, but unlike its bustling neighbor, Braddock is a mix of boarded-up storefronts, vacant lots, and broken down houses. This is a far cry from the Braddock that was the pinnacle of American prosperity. A town so industrious that Andrew Carnegie put his first steel mill there. But the once mighty hamlet has been bankrupt since the Reagan era, the population has fled, crime has risen, and the city is so post-apocalyptic looking that “The Road” (based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) was filmed there.
But out of the ashes of industry is a city on the move. The mayor, John Fetterman, is a man driven to save the city he loves. With a loyal band of denizens –some natives, some who move to the town for cheap home ownership– have been working for years to raise the tiny town up from a dangerously beleaguered rust belt town to a mecca for artists, entrepreneurs, and social activists.
In Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock, presented by Levi’s, we go behind the scenes of a city on the move. Here are a few of the background stories of the community members working to make their town better.
Meet The Mayor, John Fetterman:
This is Stephanie:
And, finally, may we introduce Jeb: