Office of Mayor William Peduto
MAYOR PEDUTO ANNOUNCES 15 NEW 'LOVE YOUR BLOCK' GRANT RECIPIENTS
Citizen volunteers will beautify and restore city blocks this spring with help from City departments, The Home Depot East Liberty branch, Peoples Gas and The PNC Foundation

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 11, 2015) – Mayor William Peduto today announced the 15 organizations that will receive funding for the eighth 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. Spring project implementation will take place from April 25 to June 30, 2015.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the new Love Your Block season bringing together neighbors, community members, and volunteers to enhance our city by turning blighted, vacant lots into beautiful community assets,” Mayor Peduto said. “These projects exhibit the best of what the City of Pittsburgh has to offer, an unmatched sense of pride with a passionate spirit of volunteerism. Through Love Your Block, we in city government have an opportunity to walk hand in hand with Pittsburgh’s citizens to execute these solutions.”

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.  It 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 fall were impressive, Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council was selected to win the “Best Block Revitalization Project” and will receive an additional $2,000 for future block enhancements. This group engaged community members to revitalize a vacant lot next to a community center in the heart of their neighborhood, which has now become a focal point.  They refreshed the garden, built scaffolding for raspberry vines, added a new neighborhood sign and planted a spruce tree that they plan to decorate for the holidays every year.  

“We were able to beautify our community by adding true value to these two spaces that had been neglected over the years,” said Quincy Jones of the Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council.  “The good thing about our location is that it is on the bus line, so when residents ride the bus or come through this main artery of this community they can see the work that we’ve done.”  

For more information, visit http://pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh/loveyourblock email servepgh@pittsburghpa.gov or call 412-255-2280.

SPRING 2015 GRANT RECIPIENTS

1. Bloomfield Development Corporation

Volunteers will enhance a traffic island adding decorative native plants to enhance the gateway sign at the entrance of the neighborhood.  

2. St Paul AME Church

Volunteers will revitalize an existing community garden adding shrub and perennials, refreshing vegetable gardens and installing birdhouse designed by local youth.

3. Mt Washington Community Development Corporation

Volunteers will clean up and beautify the lot containing the Shaler Street steps in preparation for a rebuild of the stairs.

4.White Lily Baptist Church

Volunteers will enhance a local park by landscaping adding plants and flowers.

5. Hill House Association

Volunteers will create beautiful entrance gardens in three high traffic areas.

6. Polish Hill Civic Association

Volunteers will improve a parklet at a busy intersection by adding annuals, perennials and pollinators to create a traffic calming space.

7. Hazelwood Initiative

Volunteers will build a temporary socialization/seating area in an established outdoor market place.

8. South Side Community Council of Pittsburgh

Volunteers will complete the landscape plan around an industrial art sculpture in Riverfront Park, following the initial design plan.  

9. Beechview Business District Revitalization Project

Volunteers will beautify a highly visible Pittsburgh Parking Authority lot, by landscaping adding new native perennials and flowers.

10. Penn State Extension Center

Volunteers will improve an existing teaching garden adding new stairs, trellis and hard cloth to keep out pests

11. Monticello Street Hospitality House

Volunteers will turn an overgrown vacant lot adding a flower and herb garden.

12. Soldiers & Sailors Museum

Volunteers will enhance a veterans monument, sprucing up pathways, clearing overgrowth and planting flowers and shrubs.

13. Larimer Green Team

Volunteers will create a new green space, by clearing overgrowth and planting shrubs, trees and flowers.

14. Spring Hill Civic League

Volunteers will create a garden on a vacant lot in Spring Hill.

15. Perry Hilltop Citizens Council

Volunteers will enhance a community garden by clearing weeds and debris, mulching the beds and planting native flowers and perennials.

About servePGH

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 9,000 volunteers have committed nearly 60,000 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.

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