Got grants? Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Design Center of Pittsburgh are trying to spur 12 projects with infusions of $10,000 to $50,000 in various city neighborhoods to foster the kind of economic activity that's returned to places such as Lawrenceville, South Side and East Liberty.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Design Center, a Downtown nonprofit, kicked in $300,000 each to the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Renaissance Fund. Although the mayor's view that the grants can be part of a third city renaissance is a bit overstated, given the modest sum of dollars, the funds are still a boost to corners of the city that deserve improvement.
The Pittsburgh Musical Theater in West End, for instance, will get $15,000 to improve its facade and other building projects. Economic Development South will receive $50,000 to fund a study of a dairy-based initiative in Carrick that could convert old storefronts into new businesses.
The Hilltop Alliance will have $35,000 for a strategy to address blight and home foreclosure. Projects in Point Breeze North, Spring Garden-East Deutschtown, Troy Hill, Polish Hill, Central Northside, Beltzhoover and the Hill District also will get grants.
The amounts awarded are relatively small, but they mean a lot to the hopes and plans of the organizations that receive them. The grants are also a validation of their good work. The Neighborhood Renaissance Fund is a way for Pittsburgh to show how invested it is in the economic viability of its neighborhoods.