Pittsburgh now boasts more Elm Street districts. Manchester, Central Northside, Troy Hill, Lawrenceville, East Liberty
and the South Side Slopes were all deemed Elm Street districts by the Urban Redevelopment Authority
, with Mt. Washington and Bloomfield-Garfield receiving overdue funds.
As a complement to its Mainstreets Program
the Elm Street Program focuses on the neighborhoods surrounding
Mainstreet districts, says Elm Street Program Coordinator Josette
Fitzgibbons. Recipients of the funds must focus on five areas: clean,
safe and green; neighbors and economy; design; image and identity; and
Each community is given funds for a one-year Elm Street planning
process, says Fitzgibbons, which Mt. Washington and Bloomfield-Garfield
were late in receiving. Both neighborhoods were designated as Elm Street
districts in 2009, but due to state budget cuts the funding was not
Bloomfield-Garfield has its plan ready, say Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation
Deputy Director Aggie Brose and its resident Elm Street Coordinator
Kathryn Vargas. They plan on using funds for vacant lot and street
cleanups, outreach and community groups. "The residents feel ownership
over the planning and outcome," says Vargas, adding that she hopes more
residents will get involved as plans develop further.
Mt. Washington will use its Elm Street funds to engage residents and
increase curb appeal by cultivating growth, development and community
investment, says MWCDC
Executive Director Chris Beichner. "It will help us to attract a
different population of our community to become involved," adds Program
Manager Greg Panza.
Fitzgibbons says it is unknown whether the usual five years of
operational funding that take place after year one will occur, depending
on the state budget.
For now, it's important to work together to create stable plans that
include both community programs and initiatives like streetscape
improvement, she says. "It's the combination of the human and the bricks
and mortar together that make it a successful program."
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Writer: Alex Audia
Sources: Josette Fitzgibbons, URA
Chris Beichner and Greg Panza, MWCDC
Aggie Brose and Kathryn Vargas, BGC