Councilman wants city to revive neighborhoods

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City Councilman Ricky Burgess on Tuesday introduced legislation that would provide funding to create comprehensive community plans for the city's distressed neighborhoods, a move he believes will spur development.

Mr. Burgess said he wants to build on the success of the Larimer Plan, a wraparound blueprint that took into account employment, social services and education in addition to housing. The plan was developed for the community's application for a highly competitive $30 million federal grant.

Mr. Burgess believes creating the plan made the neighborhood more attractive to investors. A $100 million project that includes mixed-income housing and mixed-use buildings is now slated for the area, although the city has yet to get word on the grant.

The councilman believes the success could be replicated in other city neighborhoods. His legislation lays out criteria for which neighborhoods would be targeted and would create committees that include community members, city council members and planning department staff.

"When these communities do this type of planning, development will follow," he said.

The bill calls for $200,000 to be taken out of the street paving budget, reducing the amount of money for resurfacing streets to $6.3 million. But Mr. Burgess said he is looking for funding elsewhere.

Mayor Bill Peduto said he supports the concept underlying the bill of investing more in neighborhoods that have been cut out of economic progress seen elsewhere in the city. It was, in fact, one of the focal pieces of his campaign.

He said he's wary of allowing elected officials to shape the development process, but added that he'll allow city council to shape the legislation.

Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto's chief of staff and chief development officer, said the city also does not want to fund the program with paving money, which is direly needed for winter-worn streets.


Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.

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