The Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation
(MWCDC) has received a $5,800 Design Fund Grant from the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh
(CDCP), which will be matched by a $5,8000 investment by the URA
The grant will build upon work MWCDC has already done in planning development of the area by studying the recently rezoned Virginia Avenue commercial district. The three-block section of Virginia Avenue west of Shiloh Street was rezoned in late 2009 as "local neighborhood commercial."
"The rezoning makes the community nervous because it directly butts against a residential area," says Andrea Lavin with CDCP. "MWCDC will use the grant to do a public process centered around planning for how this space can be used so that when change does start, it can be guided by the community."
MWCDC will be working on the plan with Pashek Associates. Work is expected to begin in March or April, and should be done by the second quarter of 2010, says Greg Panza with MWCDC.
"With the One Grandview hotel and condo project coming up, our market is going to go through the ceiling. We want to be prepared with a document that says, 'Okay, you want to develop here? Here is what the community has vetted,'" says Panza. "Once the study is done, we're going to be able to use it as a tool to attract development to the area that is compatible with the existing business and residential areas."
The study will look at prime parcels for redevelopment, what types of businesses would make sense in the area, how to calm traffic and make it safer for pedestrians, how to incorporate residential development, and also at making Mt. Washington a showcase for sustainable streetscape design, says Panza.
In 2007, MWCDC received $10,000 of CDCP funding to complete a plan--by Pashek Associates--for uniting Mt. Washington's three business districts, which are segregated due to topography. Various recommendations have been enacted, including the construction of a rain garden at the corner of Shiloh Street and Virginia Avenue, the creation of the weekly arts marketplace and the painting of several murals.
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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Andrea Lavin, CDCP; Greg Panza, MWCDC
Photograph courtesy of MWCDC