PITTSBURGH, PA (September 29, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh and Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that they are investing a total of $250,000 in three community-driven projects in the Hill District neighborhood as part of the Neighborhood Initiatives Fund (NIF) program.
Checks were presented to three community organizations:
The Amani Christian Community Development Corporation was awarded $100,000 in funding for the redevelopment project on two parcels located at the intersection of Herron and Wylie Avenues. The project site has an existing three-story building and vacant lot that will be redeveloped as a newly renovated and constructed space. The project will include a 1,600 square foot architecture and design accelerator, studio, and gallery.
The Hill Community Development Corporation was awarded $50,000 for their Wylie Avenue Restaurant project. While the initial stages of this project have been completed, the NIF project will be completed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to renovate two adjacent lots to add outdoor seating and a chef’s garden. This funding will provide the final renovation and equipment necessary to launch a functioning restaurant in a transformed neighborhood that is ripe for investment and growth.
The Hill District Federal Credit Union was awarded $100,000 to double the size of their facility to 2,500 square feet. This project will allow for the expansion of financial education services and counseling to accommodate the rapidly increasing volume of low-income individuals and families requiring their unique financial services assistance.
“The NIF program awards to these three organizations are a great example of how community-driven development responds to the needs of the people in our neighborhoods with the services and amenities they want to see,” Mayor William Peduto said of today's announcement. “We are grateful for the work that Amani Christian Community Development Council, Hill Community Development Corporation, and Hill District Federal Credit Union are doing in providing these important projects for their neighbors and their community’s vision.”
"The NIF program is a perfect example of how the City, URA, and community are working together to create an equitable Pittsburgh," said URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker. "The program is designed to support nonprofit and community organizations by increasing project visibility and access to funding so that community-based projects can truly be realized. By investing in these types of neighborhood scale initiatives, we are improving residents' quality of life and helping to revitalize and stabilize these neighborhoods. We are excited about these three projects and how they will complement the URA's and community's plan to breathe new life into the Centre Avenue corridor."
Funding for these three projects 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.
The announcement was made today at the Centre Heldman Plaza in the Hill District where Deputy Executive Director Walker, Mayor’s Office Chief Economic Development Officer Marty LaMar, and City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle presented checks to Reverend Lee Walls and Lakeisha Byrd of Amani Christian Community Development Corporation, David Serbin of the Hill Community Development Corporation, and Richard Witherspoon of the Hill District Federal Credit Union.
"Amani is committed to preserving and revitalizing existing structures within the Hill District and working with Hill businesses like Communion LLC to revitalize the landscape in our community. We are grateful to have a resource like NIF to accomplish this goal," said Reverend Lee Walls, executive director of Amani Christian Community Development Corporation.
“The Hill CDC is pleased to have the support of the URA and City in bringing much needed resources to the community relative to food venues" Marimba Milliones, president and CEO of the Hill Community Development Corporation, said of the award. "We believe that having additional options to access food in our neighborhood is vital for economic and health benefits.”
“The Hill District Federal Credit Union is in its 50th year of attending to the financial health of the residents in the Hill District community,” said Richard Witherspoon, CEO of Hill District Federal Credit Union. “Today, with the consciousness in society toward social and economic justice in African American communities across the country, there is a higher desire to support and help to prosper institutions such as ours. With that in mind, we are now experiencing significant growth. Since July of 2020, we have opened over 200 new accounts. We have created new savings and loan programs to help people get through these difficult times. If this trend continues, we will have to increase capacity and income to accommodate our growth. We have been working on plans to expand and strengthen HDFCU. With the grant from the URA’s NIF program, we will be that much closer towards the goal of capacity building.”