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URA Approves Money for Neighborhoods

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Board of Directors voted this afternoon to establish the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Renaissance Fund, which would give organizations guidance in developing their own community plans.

The fund is collaboration between the URA, City Planning, and the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh (CDCP).

CDCP President Steve Glassman said the URA is providing a start-up grant of $300,000, which they will match through fundraising. He said they will focus primarily on the North Side, the West End, and South Side neighborhoods.

Glassman said they've been involved in this type of work for a long time.

"We have put pre-development funding into projects that have had very high impact such as union projects, Sojourner House, Penn Avenue, Arts Initiative, many projects throughout Pittsburgh," said Glassman. "In fact, more than 240 projects we have done over the years and seen a tremendous percentage of them implemented."

Primary goals, including identifying neighborhoods that generate the greatest need and forging common shared agendas across neighborhoods, are to be established in a 10-12 month timeframe. Glassman said after they announce the application for grants, communities can work with them to develop proposals. A Review Advisory Committee will then analyze the proposals to see which are most viable.

Glassman said the CDCP is administering the program, while City Planning and the URA will be advising them "as to where projects are already underway that could be more rapidly implemented, where plans are in place where we could expand upon particular aspects that have already received community support, where there are new projects that have not even been identified yet but which will bubble up from community conversations that will hold."