The year-long Sheraden experiment is “a house by house, block by block approach,” says Steve Novotny, a staff member of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.
Under the auspices of the PCRG, Steve's gig this year has been as community coordinator for the partnership that’s bringing the oomph of several non-profits, banks and the Urban Redevelopment Authority together to try the big bang theory out on a neighborhood that is largely lovely and stable but pitted by decay, blight, crime and a high rate of landlordism.
Several strategies are in play now. One is to blitz selected focus areas with rehabs of houses, repairs, volunteer days to clear weeds and debris. An area of focus is Bergman Street's 2700 blocks (two segments of the same street separated by an alley).
One day recently, the West End Alliance’s housing committee organized a group of neighborhood volunteers to clear overgrowth and cut grass there and as they worked, residents all around them came out and began working on their own weeds.
The first photo shows a side view of the property at 2755 before the volunteers got there, and the photo at left shows what the front of the house actually looks like.
That house will feature prominently in a story I am currently working on in following the Sheraden oomph project. Stay posted.
Top photo by Steve Novotny