PITTSBURGH, PA (August 11, 2014) – Mayor William Peduto today announced the 14 organizations that will receive funding for the seventh round of the Love Your Block (LYB) grant program, a servePGH initiative. Through the block revitalization program, in partnership with The Home Depot, Peoples Gas and PNC, the City awards $1,000 to purchase supplies and tools to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers to transform blighted lots into community assets. Additionally, a special $2,000 prize will be given to the organization that carries out the most successful block transformation, according to identified criteria. Fall project implementation will take place from August 31 to October 31, 2014.
“I am happy to announce that Love Your Block is once again uniting neighbors, community members and volunteers to improve their neighborhoods by turning blighted properties into usable green space,” said Mayor Peduto. “These projects exhibit the sense of pride and spirit of volunteerism that are regularly demonstrated by so many citizens that live in the unique neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.”
Love Your Block is made possible thanks to Peoples Natural Gas, the PNC Foundation and The Home Depot. Peoples Natural Gas donated $15,000 and the PNC Foundation added an additional $10,000, while The Home Depot is providing $9,100 worth of supplies. LYB is also supported by the Corporation for National Community Service, the AmeriCorps VISTA program and it based on the Cities of Service Blueprint of the same name.
While all the projects this past spring were impressive, Carrick Regency Tenant Council was selected to win the “Best Block Revitalization Project” and will receive an additional $3,000 for future block enhancements. The group, made up of residents, volunteers, Boy Scouts, and numerous other community partners, erected handicap accessible raised planter beds, planted greenery and shrubs, and dedicated a memorial stone to local military veterans.
“Our neighborhood has extended beyond our building thanks to the [Love Your Block] grant,” said Janice Myers of the Carrick Regency Tenant Council. “Unseen lines that had been drawn between our Hi-Rise and our neighbors have been erased as a result of the work that the residents were doing to fix up the property. Working outside our building has established a whole new sense of neighborhood for us.”
For more information, visit pittsburghpa.gov/loveyourblock email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-255-2280.
SPRING 2014 GRANT RECIPIENTS
1. 900 Block of Liberty
Volunteer will enhance the 900 block of Liberty Avenue by adding lighting, creating chalk murals and installing banners.
2. Beechview Community Garden
Volunteers will create an outdoor learning classroom in an existing community garden.
3. The Borland Garden Cooperative
Volunteers will improve an existing neighborhood garden by creating a raised planter bed, adding a bulletin board and repairing the adjacent sidewalk.
4. Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council
Volunteers will beautify a community gathering space with trees, benches and solar lights.
5. Grow Pittsburgh
Volunteers will transform a vacant lot into a garden resource center.
6. Lawrenceville United
Volunteers will clean and beautify the 54th Street Steps
7. Northside Coalition for Fair Housing
Volunteers will improve a parklet adjacent to a senior center by adding landscaping and removing debris.
8. Observatory Hill, Inc.
Volunteers will landscape a highly visible property adding perianal flowers, shrubs, mulch and new signage.
9. South Pittsburgh Development Corp
Volunteers will beautify Brookline Blvd by planting flowers and landscaping in an adjacent park.
10. Southside Community Council of Pittsburgh
Volunteers will beautify a veteran’s monument and surround area in Armstrong Park
11. Troy Hill Citizen, Inc
Volunteers will create a children’s play area and landscape a local park.
12. Uptown Partners
Volunteers will enhance a local green space adding trees and shrubs.
13. West End Alliance
Volunteers will clean and beautify a vacant lot.
Volunteers will create a garden on a vacant lot in Homewood.
servePGH was launched in March 2011 to engage Pittsburgh’s citizens in service and answer President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. Through innovative servePGH initiatives, citizens have been engaged in volunteer-fueled solutions to revitalize City blocks, restore homes of vulnerable residents, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges, and more. Over 8,700 volunteers have committed nearly 57,000 hours of service through servePGH to date. Additional information is available at pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh.
About Cities of Service
Founded in September 2009 in New York City by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized or inefficiently utilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective. To learn more, visit citiesofservice.org or follow us on Twitter @CitiesofService.
About AmeriCorps VISTA
The Love Your Block Program is supported by Peoples Gas, PNC, and The Home Depot Foundation & East Liberty Branch, Corporation for National Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps VISTA members commit to serve full-time for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses and strengthen community groups, with the ultimate goal to eliminate poverty in the United States. In Pennsylvania, there are currently over 200 VISTAs serving on 30 projects.