1. Organization: City of Washington Citywide Community Development Corporation
2. Founding Date: 2011
3. Executive Director: Christy Bean Rowing; Board President: Marie Montecalvo
4. Current Staff Size and Composition: Staff of 1 with the energy and enthusiasm of 10!
5. Geographic Area Served: The City of Washington, PA
6. Mission Statement: To support and improve the lives of the residents of Washington, develop and employ an inclusive community engagement process, and rehabilitate vacant and blighted properties with the City of Washington.
7. What is one project or program that you are really excited about?
I am most excited to begin to strategize, acquire and rehab various properties based on a corridor approach within the Downtown of Washington.
8. What are some of the corporation’s recent accomplishments?
Some of our recent accomplishments have been the completion of the parcel survey of the Downtown Area, the completion of a community listening project, the activation of the joint planning commission, as well as hosting the inaugural Holiday Market. We have also partnered with other community based organizations to enhance the community offerings within Washington.
9. Tell us what you love about your neighborhood. What is your neighborhood’s best kept secret?
It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s the people… they are hardworking, pull yourself up, friendly, and so welcoming. Everyone wants the CDC and the City to succeed. Not a day goes by that a stop at the coffee shop doesn’t elicit an offer to help, a suggestion, or an invitation for a seat at the table.
10. What is a business in your neighborhood that partners with your organization for events, or has in the past? How has it helped you?
A&M Winery has become a community leader in events, marketing, and expansion. They are a dynamic couple that believe that Washington is going to turn the corner very soon… and they have just recently announced plans to open the Washington Brewery next door to the wine shop. I look forward to interacting with them in the future!
11. What is an interesting fact about your corporation or its history?
Eight years ago I welcomed an English Lab into our family named George Washington… I guess it was predetermined that I would land in this position! Also, the CDC is the high score winners of the Washington County Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon!
12. What are some of your upcoming events?
13. Contact Information:
PCRG staff are working hard on bringing the 2017 Summit to life! This year’s theme, CommUNITY: The Power of People in Action, focuses on real, actionable, holistic solutions to persistent problems that make the not-so-usual suspects part of our team.
As always, the heart of our Summit is the sessions submitted by community development practitioners from across the industry. Due to overwhelming interest, we’ve decided to postpone our Call for Proposals deadline to February 24 to allow time for additional proposal submissions. Thank you to all those who have submitted proposals and who are planning to submit. You can submit proposals for workshops and mobile tours at our online form here.
At our Summit, we honor those who have made a significant difference in community development, including organizations, individuals, and the financial partners that support our work. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized for their work in community development? Award nominations open March 8, 2017! Read more about our past awardees on our Summit website.
Interested in supporting the Summit? Our website has just been updated to include sponsorship and advertising forms. If you’ve supported us in the past, sponsorship and advertising forms should be arriving soon to your office. We rely on the generosity of our sponsors and advertisers to put on the premier regional convening of community development professionals, students, activists, and community members. PCRG also partners with foundations to give scholarships to those who would not otherwise be able to attend. Contact Sarah Slater at email@example.com with any questions or to inquire about sponsoring scholarships.
On February 6, PCRG held the first quarter Community Banker Collaborative Council (CBCC) meeting of 2017. This meeting was a great opportunity to have Walter Burlack, PCRG’s Community Growth Fund Executive Director, give a presentation to inform our bank partners and community group members about the Community Growth Fund (CGF) products currently being offered and in development.
What is a Community Growth Fund? A Community Growth Fund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that works to transform distressed communities through strategic investments in affordable housing and economic development ventures that strengthen neighborhoods and increase jobs. The CGF will develop loan and investment products to advances its mission and the first financial product of CGF to be developed is the Community Acquisition and Rehab Loan (CARL), a program many of you are familiar with. The CGF works in partnership with local lenders to originate and close loans under its lending programs. These loans are subsequently purchased by or funded by CGF. Below is a summary of how CGF will operate and expand its services to cover community lending, green initiatives, and manufacturing opportunities.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact Walter Burlack (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request additional information or set up an opportunity to discuss CGF.
For the next few months, we will be introducing the PCRG community to our latest AmeriCorps VISTAs. Get to know our cohort as each member will be featured on our blog and in our newsletter!
Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
I grew up east of Pittsburgh with my parents and three older sisters. As a family, we spent a lot of time camping and having really competitive board game tournaments. These are still two of my favorite hobbies, but I would also add going to concerts/amusement parks and searching for the best loaded nachos in the City of Pittsburgh. I studied Communication Arts and Community & Justice Studies at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, and while this was a great four years, I’m glad to be back in Pittsburgh and surrounded by a more solid base of Pittsburgh sports fans.
I saw AmeriCorps VISTA as the perfect opportunity to put my theoretical knowledge into practice, as my passions and goals align directly with AmeriCorps mission and vision in a number of ways. I was also drawn to the VISTA Program because it does not focus on direct services, but on institutional changes that have lasting, permanent effects for partner organizations.
My goals for the year are to learn about the community development work that is occurring in Pittsburgh and to gain as much hands on experience as possible. I’m excited for the opportunity to engage directly with PCRG’s members and their communities, and I hope I’m able to have a positive impact and assist in building capacity.
One of my current projects is to reach out to PCRG’s member organizations and offer any support and services that would help them implement a lasting change. I am currently working with Tube City Renaissance In McKeesport and assisting Fineview and Perry Hilltop conduct research for their community plan.
My other main project is organizing an Alternative Spring Break trip that will be spending a week of service here in Pittsburgh in March. I am working with a group of ten students from the Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana and four of PCRG’s membership organizations. The students will spend a day completing direct service in each of these communities while learning about issues of gentrification and the work that is being done to redevelop some of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.
After VISTA, I hope to pursue a fulfilling career with community development non-profit organizations here in Pittsburgh.
On February 10, 2017, the Pittsburgh Land Bank Board of Directors released the long-awaited Policies and Procedures draft. The draft document can be read in full and in a summarized version on the Pittsburgh Land Bank (PLB) website. The PLB Board encourages all interested parties in the City of Pittsburgh to read and submit feedback both in person, at community meetings, and on the website. At the PLB Board of Directors meeting on February 10, 2017, the board announced that public meetings to gather feedback from the public will take place in the coming weeks. Five public meetings will be held between mid-March and mid-April in accessible locations across the City. You can sign up for further updates on the PLB website here.
PCRG has advocated for a land bank in Pittsburgh for a number of years. Staff members are currently reading and digesting the Policies and Procedures draft and will follow up with commentary on the document in the near future. We will keep our members and email list subscribers updated as we release further analysis of the Policies and Procedures. To stay informed, you can subscribe to our newsletter at this link.
PCRG would like to thank the Pittsburgh Land Bank Board and staff for releasing the Policies and Procedures to the public, more than thirty days before the first community meeting. You can read more of PCRG’s policy coverage of land banking on our Pittsburgh Land Bank policy page.
Over the last couple of years, the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative group, made up of institutions, nonprofits, City and County government officials, and the business community, has re-convened in order to collaborate, create, and develop the third iteration of the Climate Action Plan (PCAP 3.0) for the City of Pittsburgh. Overall, the goal of the climate action plan is to analyze and implement strategies, policies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within city limits and mitigate Pittsburgh’s contribution to global climate change.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative group is in the process of developing implementation strategies for each of the different subcategories for PCAP 3.0, including transportation and land use, energy, and waste. PCRG has been continuously engaged and involved with the development of transportation and land use chapter, by providing leadership, technical assistance, research, and case study analysis.
Combining the concept of the “smart spines” from Pittsburgh’s Smart Cities Application with Port Authority’s frequent transit service network cloud led PCRG to creating the image below. This incredibly simple map tells a big story: Pittsburgh’s current transit service is strongest in the East End, areas of the North Side, and areas along the light rail south of the city. The challenge for the transportation and land use group – how do we create even more connected, multimodal transit service for the city and how do we strengthen the existing transit corridors identified as having frequent service?
Summit Registration Opens
Monday, March 20
Thursday, April 6
12:00 – 2:30 PM
CARL Information Session
Wednesday, April 12
6:00 – 7:30 PM
9:00 – 10:30 AM
National Building Day with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh
Saturday, April 29
9:00 – 1:00 PM
Wednesday May 24, Thursday May 25
[Omni William Penn]
For more information on this newsletter, please contact Brigid O’Hara, Member Engagement and Communications Coordinator, at bo’email@example.com or (412) 391-6732 ext. 211.