PITTSBURGH, PA (September 16, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh and Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that they are investing $72,000 in improvements to the historic former Beltzhoover Elementary School as part of the URA’s Neighborhood Initiatives Fund (NIF) program. The investment was presented to the Beltzhoover Consensus Group today, who intend to redevelop the former school using a community-driven revitalization strategy.
The former Beltzhoover Elementary School is a historic 60,000 square-foot building purchased by the Beltzhoover Consensus Group in 2018 with the intention to create a community center to meet the needs of the neighborhood, including affordable housing and a shared community space. Phase I of the revitalization project includes roof repairs and stabilization, an environmental site assessment, existing condition plans, and community outreach and engagement. The community group is working with additional partners on the project, including Neighborhood Allies, Heinz Endowments, and the Birmingham Foundation.
“Today we’re seeing the purpose of the NIF in action,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Through this program the City of Pittsburgh and the URA are able to directly invest money into our communities for a project that is being run by our communities and for our communities. It puts their vision at the center of development. Community-driven development can and should be the strategy and our standard for all of our development so that it’s responding to what our residents want and need.”
Funding for this project is part of the second round of the NIF, which totals $568,000 being awarded for 12 neighborhood improvement projects and programs across nine neighborhoods. This program is designed to help unlock the economic opportunity and placemaking potential within neighborhoods by allowing communities to access funding for neighborhood-scale projects, particularly those in Community Development Block Grant eligible communities.
“It’s imperative that we continue to support nonprofit organizations during this time of uncertainty to ensure they can continue their important neighborhood work, and the URA thanks the City of Pittsburgh for providing this funding,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker. “Through the NIF Program we are investing in these neighborhood-scale initiatives intended to improve residents’ quality of life and shine a spotlight on the amazing projects happening within our communities.”
The announcement was made today on site of the project where Mayor Peduto, Deputy Executive Director Walker, and Mayor’s Office Chief Economic Development Officer Marty LaMar were joined by City Councilman Bruce Kraus and Jennifer Cash Wade of the Beltzhoover Consensus Group.
"We are witnessing the rebirth of the Beltzhoover School which has stood for generations as an important anchor for Betlzhoover and Hilltop residents alike,” said Councilman Kraus. “This begins the process of restoring this historic landmark to its well deserved glory."
"The NIF has proven to be an invaluable tool in providing support to community driven projects undertaken by community members who are committed to continually improving the quality of life for their residents,” said Ms. Cash Wade. “Receiving this award will allow the Beltzhoover Consensus Group to begin the work of restoring Beltzhoover Elementary School to it's rightful place as the center of our community in a manner that best serves the community and the entire Hilltop for today and years to come. And for this we are grateful.”