Member Highlight: Hazelwood Initiative, Inc.

7 Mar

James Knox / Tribune-Review

Image: James Knox / Tribune-Review. Sonya Tilghman in front of the Gladstone Middle School Building.
  1. Organization: Hazelwood Initiative, Inc.
  2. Founding Date: 1994
  3. Executive Director or President or Board Chair: Sonya Tilghman
  4. Current staff size and composition: 1 full-time employee (Executive Director) 1 part-time employee (Operations & Engagement) and a partnership with PCRG through RCI for additional staff support for community engagement.
  5. What geographic area do you serve? Greater Hazelwood (Hazelwood & Glen Hazel), generally, but we also produce a community newspaper that serves Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, and Lincoln Place in addition to Hazelwood and Glen Hazel.
  6. What is your mission statement?  The mission of the Hazelwood Initiative is to be a community-driven organization, providing a shared stronger voice for Greater Hazelwood by gathering community input to build a sense of hope, harmony and promise, and by supporting human, spiritual and community development. hazelwood
  7. What is one project or program that you are really excited about? Many people know about the plans to develop the 178 acre former J&L Steel site, but we are also excited about the redevelopment of the Gladstone School.  The school has been vacant for nearly 15 years, but will be purchased by HI from the school district this summer. In preparation for the purchase, HI and our community partners convened (and continue to convene) a series of amazingly well-attended community meetings to create the vision and development plan for the building and nearby parcels.
  8. What are some of your organization’s recent accomplishments?  We have a great partnership with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh to implement a Discount Home Repair Program, enabling home owners to build equity in their homes, and a Rehab for Resale Program, where we rehab vacant housing stock in the neighborhood for sale to low or moderate-income buyers.
  9. Tell us what you love about your neighborhood. What is your neighborhood’s best kept secret? There are a number of beautiful historic buildings in the neighborhood including the Woods House (the second oldest building in Pittsburgh) and the former Carnegie Library building, both located on Monongahela Street in Hazelwood, and, of course, Gladstone School.
  10. What is a restaurant or business in your neighborhood that partners with your organization for events or has partnered with your organization in the past? How has it helped you?  Greater Hazelwood is a bit of a food desert, but we have some great entrepreneurs who are making their mark while serving the neighborhood: Fat Rai’s, Elite Treats, ‘Tis So Sweet, and Dylamato’s Market.  These organizations have been great partners in Hazelwood’s Summer Market as well as our community meetings, and Dylamato’s recently opened a permanent storefront on Second Avenue.
  11. List an interesting fact about your organization, leadership, history, the area you serve, or other topic.  August Wilson briefly attended Gladstone High School.
  12. What are some of your upcoming events?  On March 31 we will be having a launch party for Zip Car in Hazelwood; on April 12, we’ll have the next in our series of Gladstone visioning meetings, and we’ll soon start planning for the upcoming Summer Market.
  13. Contact information:
    1. Name of contact person for further inquiries:  Sonya Tilghman
    2. Phone: 412.421.7234
    3. Address: 5344 Second Avenue
    4. Link to Website: We’re working on it!


Alyssa Lyon

Manager of Community Outreach and Member Engagement at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG)
Alyssa P. Lyon is currently a part time Master of Public Management Candidate (2017) at Heinz College housed at Carnegie Mellon University.She’s also a Pitt alumna having received a BA in Communications and Africana Studies from the University in 2012.Originally hailing from The Bronx, New York, Alyssa’s undying love for the city of Pittsburgh has influenced and guided her into community and economic development where she now focuses her efforts towards community organizing and urban planning.

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