Bellevue residents and merchants have raised the visibility of the borough's business district in recent months, gaining county and borough backing of a plan to redevelop the main street area. The plan has been led by the Bellevue Initiative for Growth development group, or B.I.G.
The Initiative helped the borough to get $150,000 last year through Allegheny Together to pay consultants to aid a redevelopment plan that will focus on revitalizing the borough's Lincoln Avenue business district.
That plan will take months to devise and implement, but in the meantime, members of the Helping Hands committee of the Initiative want to make physical improvements throughout the borough, and they're looking for hands to help.
The committee will be host to Improve The Vue, a communitywide volunteer effort Oct. 9 that will tackle several projects intended to spruce up the borough. The daylong event is being sponsored by West Penn Allegheny Health System.
Chuck Gohn, head pastor of Bellevue Christian Church and a member of the Helping Hands committee, is leading the program. He hopes to involve 500 volunteers in the effort.
Rev. Gohn also is looking for more business sponsors. The day will begin at 7 a.m. in Bayne Park and will involve work on projects at a local food bank, on a trail in Bellevue Memorial Park, in painting curbs and the exteriors of businesses whose owners want a fresh coat of paint on Lincoln Avenue, in fixing the gazebo at Bayne Park and in other tasks.
It is hoped Improve The Vue will become a recurring event, Rev. Gohn said. It also is meant to bring together a pool of volunteers from which to recruit for other volunteer-based community projects, the pastor said.
In coordination with the event, Pittsburgh Trails volunteers will work with Bellevue volunteers on the trail in Bellevue Memorial Park.
"They are breaking ground that day. We will focus a lot of our volunteers there," Rev. Gohn said.
Volunteers are encouraged to register through the Improve The Vue website, but late arrivals can register the day of the event, starting at 7 a.m. at the registration table in Bayne Park. Part of the thinking behind the day is to show the power of volunteerism, Rev. Gohn said. "We're trying to increase the livability of Bellevue," he said.
Longtime Bellevue resident Paul Cusick, current borough treasurer, isn't a member of the Initiative but regularly attends its meetings. He's optimistic about Improve The Vue, which is being publicized through fliers, a banner in the business district, and word of mouth.
Those interested in joining can get more information or register at www.improvethevue.org.
"Improve The Vue is putting a lot of good elements of Bellevue out front. Everyone benefits from this," Mr. Cusick said.
Jonathan Barnes, freelance writer: email@example.com .