26 Oct

itvLocated just outside the city of Pittsburgh, Bellevue, a town boasting a population of fewer than 9,000, is experiencing a collective involvement of community members with ideas and actions focused around the town’s revival. One of the goals of community leaders has been to maintain Bellevue’s historic and architectural charm while also making it attractive to new businesses, a younger demographic, and homebuyers.

Seth Zimmerman is among this group of young people who, although newer to the area, is highly involved in and passionate about Bellevue’s growth. He is the chairman of Improve the Vue, the Bellevue Initiative for Growth and Revitalization (BIGR) committee that deals with neighborhood upkeep and development. The committee has a mission to “generate and sustain efforts to improve the environment for those who live here and incite positive perceptions for visitors.” Its annual community day of service, which operates under the same name, is currently in its seventh year. This year’s event was made possible by nearly 100 volunteers from in and around the borough and over $2000 in goods and services was donated by the 27 organizations that helped sponsor the event. Service opportunities included the beautification of Lincoln Avenue (Bellevue’s main street), landscaping around local businesses, winterizing the free community herb garden, and bike and hike trail work at Bellevue Memorial Park.

“The greatest impact, I believe, is the change of attitude people are expressing about Bellevue.  There is a lot of energy here, and instead of saying ‘the situation is hopeless,’ most people are very hopeful about changes that are already being made”, says Zimmerman. In a town with a total area of 1.1 square miles, a civic effort to this degree has been significant in revitalizing integrity in and feelings of connectedness to the community. Although many of the service projects maintain and enhance the “beautiful view”, Improve the Vue’s near decade-long commitment to the preservation of Bellevue speaks volumes about the steadfast spirit that is active within the community.