Larimer/East Liberty grant project seeks partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools

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Pittsburgh Public Schools has been asked to become a partner in the efforts of Larimer/East Liberty to win a $30 million federal Choice Neighborhoods transformation grant.

At a board committee meeting tonight, Sandra Moore, president of Urban Strategies Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., said she is working with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and the neighborhood on planning efforts to apply for the grant. Urban Strategies already has been successful in helping three other communities win the competitive grants.

The Larimer area has spent years developing plans. The federal grant, which would be through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, would make money available for about 500 units of housing -- including a variety of income levels -- and money to help improve the broader neighborhood. The main streets in the area include Negley Run Boulevard, Washington Boulevard and Penn Avenue.

She said education transformation is an important part of the application. Pittsburgh could get up to a total of $1 million in HUD funding from 2013 to 2019 with a plan to improve schools serving the area.

While no decision has been made, Superintendent Linda Lane said she is supportive of "any neighborhood development because we know schools and neighborhoods go together."

She said it wouldn't be easy, but "We have an opportunity to reach out and help a neighborhood in our city, children in our schools."

HUD has not yet announced the application date, but Ms. Moore expects it to be announced soon. If awarded, implementation may begin in October.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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