Monday, April 4, 2011

Pgh. Program Aims to Reduce Blight

Neighborhood organizations in Pittsburgh will have a chance to tidy up some vacant lots in their communities, thanks to a new grant program created by the city using federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

The Vacant Lot Clean Up Grant Program will give four or five community groups about $10,000 each to help transform blighted lots into gardens and parks. The 3,400 lots eligible are all Pittsburgh-owned properties in the 30 city neighborhoods that qualify for Community Development Block Grants.

Pittsburgh’s Director of Neighborhood Initiatives Kim Graziani says the grants will provide enough money for each group to clean up about 11 lots. Graziani says while some community groups do this kind of work already, funding is hard to come by.

“Helping folks to provide funding for that not only shows that we appreciate the work; we also want to provide opportunities for folks to have jobs doing this kind of work,” says Graziani. “It really shows a level of investment and pride in these lots that is really hard to attain at the city level.”

Graziani says city residents know which lots in their neighborhood need to be cleaned up the most, so the city is allowing community groups to propose a plan rather than requesting certain lots be revamped.

Proposals must be submitted by April 18 so contracts can be finalized in early May. The grants cover the 2011 growing season of May through October.

More information can be found at the city’s website.

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