Office of Mayor William Peduto
City of Pittsburgh to Seek Partnership with URA on Promise Zone Application
City to apply for federal help for southern and central neighborhoods

PITTSBURGH, PA (Nov. 13, 2014) The City of Pittsburgh will seek to partner today with the Urban Redevelopment Authority on a federal “Promise Zone” application to assist previously neglected parts of the Hill District, Hazelwood, communities in the southern part of the city, and other neighborhoods.

“My administration has been working hard with the White House to implement smart and progressive policies, and a Promise Zone designation would be a great next step,” Mayor William Peduto said. “Promise Zones provide just the tools we need to rebuild neighborhoods and invest in communities, and people, in our city that haven't seen such investment in decades.”

President Obama announced in 2013 that the federal government would designate 20 Promise Zones nationwide to boost economic activity, education and crime prevention in targeted areas. The federal government chose the first six communities in January of this year and plans to select 14 more between this and next year. At least six of the Promise Zones selected in this round will be in urban areas.

Promise Zone designations provide extra opportunities and resources to communities through preferences for federal grants; liaisons to help navigate federal programs; five AmeriCorps VISTA members; and other assistance.

Areas must have 33% poverty rate to apply. The City is currently seeking a Promise Zone designation that would cover all or part of the Hill District, Oakland, Uptown, Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Carrick, Knoxville, Allentown, Mt. Washington, Beltzhoover, Beechview, Bon Air, St. Clair, Arlington, Arlington Heights, the South Side Slopes, the South Side Flats, the neighborhood of Mt. Oliver, and Mt. Oliver borough.

The population in the collective area is 86,478 and the poverty rate is 38.63%. The final list of targeted neighborhoods is subject to change.

“The City of Pittsburgh has received many accolades and praise as a most livable city, for our resilience, a diverse regional economy, or our emerging role as a leader in technology and innovation. However, the reality is there are Two Pittsburghs,” says a draft version of the City’s Promise Zone application.

“There is the [Pittsburgh] cited in the national press and then the one where whole neighborhoods have been left behind and certain populations, both new and old, find themselves marginalized and excluded from the well-publicized prosperity. In order to help better serve these under-resourced places and populations, the City of Pittsburgh is pursuing a Promise Zone designation in the southern and central areas of the city.”

The City is going to the URA board this afternoon to seek a Memorandum of Understanding and a Cooperation Agreement with the authority so they can work together to submit a formal Promise Zone application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for next year.

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