This summer, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the availability of grants to fund "Love Your Block" projects and the city subsequently awarded $500 mini-grants to 10 neighborhood beautification projects, from the planting of a flower bed to creating a pop-up cafe.
According to the reporting of my colleague Joe Smydo, the Home Depot Foundation awarded Pittsburgh and four other cities $10,000 each, and the mayor’s office invited neighborhood groups to apply.
The city chose 10 winners from 32 applicants and will choose 10 winners in a second round of grants to be announced later.
“Almost all of the projects have had months of prep and have ongoing maintenance plans to ensure long-term impact,” said Rebecca Kottler-Wein of the mayor’s office.
Last weekend, the 9th grade civics class at Allderdice High in Squirrel Hill cleaned and fixed up the community and school tennis and basketball courts, a job the kids worked on again today in a five-part effort.
Lawrenceville United created a community garden and cleaned up a playground at McCandless Avenue and Natrona Way last Saturday. On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Project in Perry South cleaned up a vacant lot and prepared it for spring planting. The photo above, from the city's Facebook page, was taken there. The photo below was taken at McCandless Avenue and Natrona Way this summer.
Tomorrow at 9a, volunteers will be polishing the Veteran’s Memorial on Wabash Street in the West End; the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation will make its second of four mini-granted efforts by cleaning Hillcrest Street and Gator Field from 10a to noon; and the Elliott Community Group will plant a flower garden in an empty lot at Lorenz Avenue and Valier Street starting at 9a.
Over two days this weeked, the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation will clear a vacant lot on Antrim Street and plant a garden on it, working 9a to 5p both days. The mayor's office has announced that Luke will be on hand there tomorrow at 9:30a, though it didn't specify whether he would be weeding, planting or supervising.
Also on Sunday, from 12 noon to 4p, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corp. will be repainting and relighting the concession stand and painting and making minor repairs to the press box at Gator Field and then hold a community picnic.
Activities in the first round of grants will continue through the end of October. The most unusual will probably be Morningside’s pop-up cafe at Chislett and Greenwood Streetsfrom 2 to 5p, Oct. 15. It’s the one event you can attend without fear of being thrown a pair of gloves and told to get to work.
All this block-love makes me feel like the lazy bum I am.