PITTSBURGH, PA (November 23, 2020) The Office of Community Affairs’ 2020 Love Your Block Program awarded 26 $1,500 mini-grants this year to neighborhood and community groups throughout the City of Pittsburgh. Love Your Block is a City of Pittsburgh program that invites organizations to submit proposals to transform their blocks through designing local volunteer improvement projects with the support of city departments, including the Department of Public Works, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, and the Department of City Planning.
The mini-grant awards fund the purchase of supplies for volunteer projects that engage neighbors and benefit the public. Project categories have included creating green spaces, maintaining community gardens, stormwater capture, enhancing parks, streetscaping, removing graffiti and litter, sprucing up pathways, and encouraging emergency preparedness.
“I want to thank the Office of Community Affairs and city departments for facilitating Love Your Block, one of our key community-driven programs,” said Mayor William Peduto. “I’d like to especially thank our community groups for their leadership in designing creative projects that bring neighbors together to improve their blocks and promote pride in their neighborhoods.”
Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were given the option to delay their projects until Spring of 2021. Five projects were implemented this year:
The Friendship Community Group planted pollinator gardens along Fredricka Street, an alley in Friendship. The gardens utilize native plants and support a thriving, natural ecosystem.
East Commons Community Garden at Allegheny Commons park installed four new garden planters in common areas of the garden for decorative planting.
Project Love Coalition recruited neighborhood volunteers in the Hill District to remove debris from vacant lots and to maintain an existing community garden and green space to ensure a safe and clean place for the neighborhood to enjoy.
The Octopus Garden in Friendship built two new garden beds, placed soil in old and new garden beds, weeded and spread mulch, and designed and installed new rules for the neighborhood garden, which is an ongoing vacant lot project.
Friends of South Side Park built a native garden bed to help draw attention to the Mission Street entrance of South Side Park.
"It's been incredible to see the resilience, creativity, and dedication from community members to make their neighborhoods a better place to live,” said Leah Friedman, manager of the Office of Community Affairs. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate and take on the challenge of Love Your Block this year.”
Emily, a Love Your Block participant from the Friendship neighborhood, said “We’ve felt a great sense of pride from many neighbors who have either participated in creating the gardens or those who simply enjoy them. Typically, alleys seem to be forgotten, but now folks are excited to have Fredericka Street be highlighted in this way. We’ve seen numerous people strolling down the street, stopping to take pictures of the flowers and the bees, butterflies and birds that visit. It has been wonderful to see people enjoying these small patches of nature, particularly during this stressful time.”
Sign up for the Office of Community Affair’s newsletter at newsletter.pittsburghpa.gov to be notified when applications open for Love Your Block 2021.