Neighborhood Allies Names Innovator As First President

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neighborhood Allies has named as its first president the nationally recognized innovator behind revitalization efforts in Youngstown, Ohio.

Presley Gillespie begins his work in mid-May with the nonprofit that established this year from the dissolution of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.

Mr. Gillespie founded the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. five years ago. It was that city’s first such entity and it grew from a $200,000 start-up into a $3.1 million force behind housing rehabilitation and green enterprise, including the Iron Roots Urban Farm, a commercial enterprise on a solar-powered campus with a demonstration kitchen, job training workshops and a community loan fund for low- and moderate income home buyers.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/04/17/Neighborhood-Allies-names-innovator-as-first-president/stories/201404170138#ixzz2z9oBG3S0

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Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto Touts His First 100 Days In Office

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is looking to spur manufacturing, help poor residents open bank accounts and offer free Internet in the City-County Building, according to a report on his administration’s first 100 days.

Peduto reiterated many of the initiatives he has touted since taking office Jan. 6, but he also offered a glimpse of what he is planning among the 63 accomplishments and ideas listed in the 13-page report.

“While we have accomplished a lot in our first 100 days, we have a long way to go to realize our potential as a city poised for greatness,” Peduto said in a statement.

The mayor was in Ontario, Canada, on Monday and Tuesday attending an international bicycle summit.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5953206-74/peduto-report-pittsburgh#ixzz2z0xKUyvg
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Allentown Hockey Arena Sees Milestone As Concrete Slab Is Poured

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allentown hockey arena construction saw another milestone today as more than 30 trucks worth of concrete were poured for what will be a 17,000-square-foot ice floor.

A total of 315 cubic yards of concrete were poured today, and the next major step will be making the ice itself, which will occur in the summer.

“This took a great team effort,” said Jim Brooks, co-owner of the Phantoms hockey team that will start its 2014 season at the PPL Center in September.

“There’s not too many 10,000-seat venues in the world, let alone the United States, and even less that have ice-making capabilities,” Brooks said. “It’s very difficult to pull off.”

Read more:http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/04/allentown_hockey_arena_sees_mi.html

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Work On Civic Arena Site To Begin In August

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Construction of streets at the former Civic Arena site, now a sprawling parking lot in the heart of Pittsburgh, will begin in August, officials said on Thursday.

It will be the first significant activity on the 28-acre site since crews completed demolition of the arena about two years ago. More than $500 million in redevelopment is planned.

“We’re almost ready to start construction of the urban street grid,” said Mary Conturo, executive director of the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.

The first phase is expected to cost $9 million and focus on building interior streets on the eastern part of the site, Conturo said. The work is expected to take about a year.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5924203-74/conturo-site-million#ixzz2ybAziPaI
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Greensburg Council Hears Pitch For Westmoreland County Land Bank

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Westmoreland County Land Bank brings a chance to remove dilapidated buildings and find another productive use for them, a county official told Greensburg City Council on Tuesday.

“It’s a proactive way to tackle slum and blight in the county,” said April Kobus, executive director of the county redevelopment authority.

Council expects to consider an agreement for the initiative, approved by the county commissioners in December, on Monday.

Greensburg, the county seat, would be an ideal entity to be among the first of 10 municipalities to join the program as part of a multi-phase endeavor, Kobus said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5906334-74/council-county-bank#ixzz2yRzmj4Ms
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U.S. Senator Bob Casey Backs Community Development Funding

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (...

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey wants more money allocated to the Community Development Block Grant program to allow municipalities to decide what projects are most needed and have the funding to complete them.

During a teleconference Wednesday, Casey, D-Scranton, said the Obama administration has proposed cutting CDBG funding by more than $200 million this year. Casey wants the allocation to be increased in 2015.

“CDBG has played an instrumental role in advancing locally driven projects that create jobs and contribute to economic growth,” Casey said. “The cuts proposed in the administration’s budget could limit the ability of municipalities in Pennsylvania to complete economic development projects that are essential.”

He said he’s pushing for Congress to increase the funding.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1298260/Casey-backs-community-development-funding

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York’s West End: Businesses Want To Infuse New Life Into Neighborhood

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just across the Codorus Creek from the heart of York’s downtown, a steady line of traffic regularly passes through the 200 block of West Philadelphia Street, following the turn of the street uphill past smartly painted homes and storefronts.

Growing up in York more than three decades ago, Steve Billet knew the area colloquially as the “colonial block.” It was a place that had a good reputation and housed property that was a wise investment for owners, he said.

On a Monday in March, however, many of the cars that idled at a nearby stoplight would continue on West Philadelphia without stopping. The idea that the city has nothing to offer has plagued York’s image and dissuaded business owners for years, and many entrepreneurs have struggled to make their shop a destination.

Still, when Billet had an opportunity to purchase a building in the 200 block in 1999, he took it. And when he and his partner David Smith decided to drop out of the rat race — as Smith puts it — to switch careers and return to the city, they settled on the spot that Billet had bought a decade and a half before as the site of their new venture.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_25440353/yorks-west-end-businesses-want-infuse-new-life

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Braddock Library Looking Ahead At 125th Anniversary

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Hempel remembers his father, Robert, pausing every time he drove past the Braddock Carnegie Library.

“That’s where I taught myself to read,” Robert would tell his young son as he’d point to the stately building.

The elder Hempel’s story likely mirrors those held by many residents of the library’s service area. For more than a century, the building has served as a hub for community activity and education, as intended by its founder and namesake, Andrew Carnegie. As the 125th anniversary of the building approaches, library leaders are preparing to celebrate all that has taken place during its storied past.

“Andrew Carnegie said he intended this to be a center for light and learning for generations to come,” says John Hempel of Braddock Hills, president of the library’s board. The memories of his father inspired Hempel to get involved more than two decades ago. “It’s such a neat mission statement and really what the whole place is all about.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/morelifestyles/5768153-74/library-carnegie-braddock#ixzz2xV02JAgJ
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Developers Hope To Attract Grocery Store To Former Bethlehem Steel Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Developers are seeking to attract a grocery store to the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site on Bethlehem’s South Side.

Former Mayor John Callahan, now director of development for one of the site landowners, said Thursday that they’re looking to get a grocery store into the former Steel General Office building, or in a new building planned across East Third Street from the former Steel headquarters.

“I certainly have heard about the idea of putting a grocery store in part of the SGO project and I also believe that potential use would be a good fit for across the street,” said Callahan, who now works for attorney Michael Perrucci, part owner of Steel site co-owner BethWorks Now. “I think there’s only a need for one and it’s just a matter of trying to figure out where best to put it.”

At an unrelated news conference Thursday, ArtsQuest officials displayed a map that showed a future grocery store planned along with apartments and parking at the 13-story Steel General Office building. ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks said he got approval from Sands BethWorks officials to include the plans on the map.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/03/developers_seeking_to_attract.html

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Bethlehem Developer Gets First Approval For South Side Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A developer looking to build stores, offices and apartments across from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site got its first green light from Bethlehem officials today.

BethWorks Renovations needed the Bethlehem Planning Commission’s permission to build its proposed 111 apartments in two buildings, instead of three as originally proposed.

All three buildings were originally slated to host a mix of retail, offices and apartments, but company officials have since decided it would make more sense to separate the offices and apartments, said BethWorks’ Rob de Beer. All three buildings will still have retail space on the first floor.

BethWorks, which is co-owned by lawyer Michael Perrucci, is permitted to build up to 115 apartments on the three lots but needed variance approval to have them only in two buildings, de Beer said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/03/bethlehem_developer_gets_first.html

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Bethlehem Revitalization Authority Readying For Applicants

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority is accelerating efforts to hire consultants so it can start accepting development applications in the summer.

The authority is tasked with implementing Bethlehem’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, which is expected to create $587 million worth of development. Bethlehem received the state economic development designation late last year.

Similar to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the zone allows state and local nonproperty taxes from new development in the zone to help finance construction within it.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/03/bethlehem_revitalization_autho.html

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Allentown’s Americus Hotel Project Advances, But Concerns Remain

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The revitalization of Allentown‘s Americus Hotel took another step toward reality today, but development officials want further assurances the project will actually be completed.

“We don’t want to have a project that’s going to fail,” said Sy Traub, chairman of the authority that oversees development in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

“If we approve a project that goes belly up in the middle of it, and it’s a project in the middle of our city that’s going to sit vacant and stalled, then it’s going to be a real problem,” Traub said.

Developer Albert Abdouche appeared today before a Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority committee with his plans for a revamped 11-story hotel at 549 Hamilton St.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/02/allentowns_americus_hotel_proj.html#incart_river

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How A Pittsburgh School, Empty For 30 Years, Became Home To Electronics Firm

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hays School had been empty for 30 years when Bob Dagostino drove by one morning and saw the “For Sale” sign. He copied the number and called for a tour. At the time, his electronics business Downtown was outgrowing its third location.

“At our other place, [employees] sat an arm’s length apart,” said Chuck Roberts, vice president of Dagostino Electronic Services. “Bob brought me in look at the school and I said, ‘Why don’t we get a renovated space?’ and he said, ‘No, no, this is our headquarters.’ He had a vision.”

It often takes vision to remake a century-old school. Pittsburgh has scores of them, some in private hands, some long vacant, several converted into apartments and 19 still to be sold. Pittsburgh Public Schools has contracted with Fourth River Development to sell them.

The former Schenley High School in North Oakland sold last year for $5.2 million and is slated for luxury housing. McCleary School in Upper Lawrenceville sold last year for $410,000 to a residential developer. Morningside School has been approved for sale to the Urban Redevelopment Authority for $275,000, also for housing; negotiations are underway “as we speak,” said Patrick Morosetti, sales and leasing manager for Fourth River Development.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/02/24/How-Pittsburgh-school-empty-for-30-years-became-home-to-electronics-firm/stories/201402240060#ixzz2uGDkAqAk

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Stability Spurs More Growth In Pittsburgh

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slow and steady wins the race: It works for the tortoise, and it seems to be working for Pittsburgh.

The latest annual “Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow” report by PittsburghTODAY found that Pittsburgh continues to make modest economic progress after years of decline.

PittsburghTODAY is a nonprofit part of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social & Urban Research that tracks the region’s progress compared with 15 other areas of similar size, geographic and demographic makeups.

Doug Hueck, program director for PittsburghTODAY, highlighted data regarding population growth, unemployment levels and housing appreciation rates as examples of the city’s revival.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/22/Stability-spurs-more-growth-here/stories/201402220041#ixzz2u57osImH

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SW Germantown ‘Rising’ Thanks To Program

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ANYONE INTERESTED in learning the true meaning of perseverance should spend some time in southwest Germantown.

After years of attending meetings, making phone calls and lobbying the city, community organizers have succeeded in bringing the neighborhood under the fold of the PhillyRising Collaborative.

The collaborative, an idea from the Managing Director’s Office, seeks to combat quality-of-life issues in crime-ridden neighborhoods by working closely with area organizations.

Organizations like the Southwest Central Lower Germantown Civic Association, run by Allison Weiss.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140223_SW_Germantown__Rising__thanks_to_program.html#76vcBFGG46d2ojRA.99

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Citizens Action Committee For Pottstown To Give Presentation To Borough Council And Codes, February 20th

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Citizens Action Committee will be giving a presentation to Pottstown Borough Council and the codes and infrastructure departments about a wonderful program that has been implemented in sections of Utah and has proven success in reducing crime and blight in communities, holding landlords accountable, and spurring community revitalization and positive growth.  The program is called The Good Landlord Program, some basic details of it are linked below.  Please make every effort to attend this meeting and show your support of bettering YOUR town! Ears are opening at council and we need to make out presence and interest known!

The presentation will be delivered THIS THURSDAY, February 20th at the Codes/Infrastructure meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Borough Hall.  Take an interest and be part of the solution!

http://www.communityprogress.net/filebin/pdf/toolkit/UtahHousingCoalition_WhatIsTheGoodLandlordProgram.pdf

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Business Forum: Steel, Health Dare And Future Wealth Of Our Robotic Region

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A city that doesn’t make things can never be a real city.

The Steel City got its name and built its international reputation by making the best metal products in the world. For Hollywood, wealth and fame came from making the greatest motion pictures the world has ever seen. Silicon Valley earned its place in history by giving us the personal computer, the cell phone and just about every other indispensable high-tech gadget you can think of.

In the aftermath of the dismantling of the steel industry, Pittsburgh was especially fortunate to have a world-class health care and university system. These gems allowed us to sidestep the ruinous fate that has befallen other Rust Belt cities such as Detroit and Gary, Indiana.

However, in the long run those regional assets will not be enough to elevate this metropolitan statistical area and its wealth back to the level it enjoyed during the middle of the last century.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/Biz-opinion/2014/02/15/Steel-health-care-and-future-wealth-of-our-robotic-region/stories/201402150066#ixzz2tPa3gmXI

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Mormons To Build 32-Story Tower Near Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mormon Church plans to build a 32-story apartment tower and a public meetinghouse on a vacant lot next to the Vine Street Expressway, filling in a key piece of the no-man’s-land that has long separated Center City and North Philadelphia’s rebounding neighborhoods.

The private development by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls for 258 apartments, 13 townhouses, and retail shops at 16th and Vine Streets.

The meetinghouse will have a chapel, courtyard, multipurpose space, and a center to research genealogy, said Michael Marcheschi, senior real estate manager for the church’s national special projects department.

The development, announced Wednesday by Mayor Nutter and church officials, will stand next to the Mormon temple under construction on Vine Street and set for completion in 2016.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140213_Mormons_to_build_32-story_tower_in_Center_City.html#xda8G1b8kTLrO4VA.99

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Hearing Call Of ‘All Aboard’? Experts Discuss Feasibility Of Passenger Rail Service

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority President Lawrence Malski said Monday studies show major industries are looking to get out of congested metropolitan areas and move to areas like NEPA.

Passenger rail service that links Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton, he said, would be a major factor in attracting those companies to the area. U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, suggested the idea on Friday to spur economic activity.

“It’s (passenger rail service) is a major requirement that they have,” Malski said. “When you connect cities like Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton to a major city like New York, major industries will follow that rail line out here because they would have an efficient and reliable form of transportation for workers.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news//1152788/Hearing-call-of-All-aboard

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Brian O’Neill: Blight-Ridding Bill In Pittsburgh Shows Plenty Of Potential

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drive down Hamilton Avenue or its side streets in Homewood and you’ll see a whole lot of not there anymore.

City Council is trying to hash out a plan to “land bank” the acres of vacant and boarded-up properties the city controls so they can be cleared for sale. That would take in about half of Homewood and almost half the Hill District.

When I asked Councilman Ricky Burgess, who represents Homewood, if he could give me a quick tour of the problem sites, he said, “You don’t need me. I’m dead serious. Drive down Hamilton Avenue and drive around at your leisure. It’s so bad … it’s breathtaking.”

He was right. It came as advertised.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/brian-oneill/2014/01/26/Brian-O-Neill-Blight-ridding-bill-in-Pittsburgh-shows-plenty-of-potential/stories/201401260059#ixzz2reCwstxI

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