MAYOR RAVENSTAHL ANNOUNCES 23 NEW 'LOVE YOUR BLOCK' GRANT RECIPIENTS
Community volunteers will beautify and restore city blocks this fall with help from City departments and The Home Depot Foundation
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced the 23 organizations that will receive funding through the fifth round of his Love Your Block (LYB) grant program, a servePGH initiative. Through the block revitalization program, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, the City awards $1,000 to purchase supplies and equipment to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers to transform blighted lots into community assets. Additionally, a special $2,000 prize will be given to the organization that carries out the most successful block transformation, according to identified criteria. Fall project implementation will take place from August 31 to October 31, 2013.
“Love Your Block continues to provide an opportunity for residents to serve their communities by carrying out creative block revitalization projects and encouraging community spirit throughout Pittsburgh,” Ravenstahl said. “Over the past two years, Love Your Block volunteers have beautified approximately 200 city blocks, collected over 20,000 pounds of litter and created 150 new community green spaces.”
Love Your Block is one of nine innovative service initiatives that are part of Mayor Ravenstahl’s servePGH initiative, which engages volunteers to help tackle Pittsburgh’s greatest challenges. In addition to receiving funds to purchase necessary supplies, organizations also receive support from City services, such as trash collection and graffiti removal. In choosing the recipients for the fall, the City gave special consideration to projects that engage local veterans and projects that beautify local business districts. Applications for the next round of spring grants will be available early next year.
Love Your Block is made possible thanks to The Home Depot Foundation, which generously donated $130,000 to the initiative and enabled the City to increase the number of revitalization projects from 20 to 50 per year. It is also supported by the Corporation for National Community Service and the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
While all of the projects this past spring were impressive, Lawrenceville United was selected to win the “Best Block Revitalization Project” and will receive an additional $2,000 Home Depot gift card for future block enhancements. The group revitalized an area between 50th and 51st Streets in Lawrenceville and leveraged over $1,200 in donations for the project. Pictures of their work are available on the servePGH website here.
“Love Your Block helped our organization get face time with City workers and agency representatives,” said Becky Thatcher, Community Project Coordinator of Lawrenceville United. “That face time has allowed relationships to grow and flourish and to establish long-lasting partnerships that we can utilize to continue to make positive change in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood will continue to see the possibilities and ability to easily transform blight and vacancy into pride and space for the community.”
Beechview Community Garden
Volunteers will beautify the hillside of a local community garden by planting flowers.
Beechview Walking Club
Volunteers will beautify the local business district by planting flowers and installing a community bulletin board.
Borland Community Garden
Volunteers will add improvements to the Borland Community Garden in East Liberty by installing raised planter beds.
Community Alliance of Spring Garden East Deutschtown
Volunteers will beautify the facade of a historic house in Spring Garden.
The Corner – A Program of Friendship Community Church
Volunteers will create an art installation for community use in West Oakland.
Deutschtown Merchants Association
Volunteers will beautify a walkway on East Ohio Street by planting flowers and picking up litter.
Elliott Community Group
Volunteers will beautify a lot on Lorenz Avenue by installing flower boxes and panel fencing.
Fineview Citizens Council
Volunteers will beautify a lot on the corner of Lafayette and Federal Streets by planting flowers and picking up litter.
Greenfield Community Association
Volunteers will beautify Magee Park and promote community engagement in Greenfield.
Volunteers will beautify a community building in Perry South.
Volunteers will beautify the local business district by planting flowers along the 6000 block of Penn Circle South in East Liberty.
MLK (Moving the Lives of Kids) Mural Project
Volunteers will install mosaic art at a community gateway in Squirrel Hill.
Monongahela Marsden Block Association
Volunteers will beautify vacant lots in Hazelwood.
Mulford Street Corridor Block Association
Volunteers will beautify vacant lots in Homewood by planting flowers and picking up litter.
Oakland Business Improvement District
Volunteers will plant flowers and beautify the 3500 block of Forbes Avenue in Oakland.
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation
Volunteers will beautify building facades along Atwood Street in Oakland.
Observatory Hill, Inc.
Volunteers will beautify the Observatory Hill business district along Perrysville Avenue.
Oliver Baptist Church
Volunteers will beautify vacant lots along Centre Avenue in the Hill District.
Save Race Street Committee
Volunteers will beautify a vacant lot at 7110 Race Street in Homewood.
Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Gateway Committee
Volunteers will install planters and beautify Murray Avenue.
Southside Chamber of Commerce
Volunteers will install dog waste stations and clean up litter in Southside.
Tree of Hope
Volunteers will turn a vacant lot into a community green space on Rosetta Street in Garfield.
Volunteers will improve a community garden by installing a fence.
Mayor Ravenstahl launched servePGH in March 2011 to engage Pittsburgh’s citizens in service and to answer President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. Through new and innovative servePGH initiatives, Mayor Ravenstahl has engaged citizens in volunteer-fueled solutions to revitalize city blocks, restore vulnerable residents’ homes, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges and more. Over 3,744 volunteers have committed nearly 32,000 hours of service through servePGH to date. Additional information is available at pittsburghpa.gov/servePGH.
ABOUT CITIES OF SERVICE
Founded in September 2009 in New York City by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized or inefficiently utilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective.