The success of
, which provides resident training to rehab and green vacant lots, has prompted organizers GTECH Strategies to create ReClaim South.
Residents of Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Bon Air, Knoxville, Mount Oliver, Mount Washington, Southside Slopes and St. Clair have until 5 p.m. on Sept. 3 to apply
for special training sessions or get a paper application at The Hilltop Alliance’s office, 512 Brownsville Road. Ten will be chosen Sept. 20.
GTECH (Growth Through Energy and Community Health) began ReClaim Northside to reduce blight and enhance the community's development skills, and its 10 participants are about to implement their vacant lot plans.
Besides the training, ReClaim South members each get $3,000 to put their plans in action. And Pittsburgh's Southside neighborhoods could use the help. GTECH and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy studied the local landscape last year and found, in their Green Toolbox Report, that there were more than 400 acres of vacant land in the Hilltop neighborhoods.
For ReClaim South, GTECH has also added a Green Task Force to develop unique plans for other communities under the Hilltop Alliance, as well as those under Economic Development South. Unlike the grassroots work that the rest of ReClaim encourages, this group of municipal managers and community organizers will approach the problem of neighborhood revamping from the top down for several communities that are farther along in their revitalization: Carrick, Overbrook, Brentwood, Baldwin and Whitehall. The Task Force has its first session on Aug. 30.
"We felt this was a good way to build momentum off of the Green Toolbox Report and take action," says Evaine K. Sing, ReClaim South project manager.
Since ReClaim Northside, she adds, GTECH has learned to help ReClaim participants strategize project priorities and vacant lot locations so that they can be sure they are planning projects the community needs and will support. Thus, for ReClaim South, GTECH will do a demonstration vacant lot project this fall to help participants get ideas and see how implementation works.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Evaine K. Sing, GTECH Strategies