Growth Through Energy and Community Health (GTECH) Strategies is now accepting applications from South Pittsburgh residents to participate in ReClaim South.
The ReClaim South initiative will provide 10 community residents with a series of training sessions on vacant land management and community development tactics and tasks them with creating a green project on a vacant lot. In addition to the training sessions, up to $3,000 in funding is available per participant to implement the proposed project.
According to the Green Toolbox Report, an assessment of blight in Hilltop communities along with suggested green strategies, there are more than 400 acres of vacant land throughout the neighborhoods. The report was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and GTECH for the Hilltop Alliance back in 2012.
Highlighting the importance of combining education and vacant projects, ReClaim South Project Manager Evaine K. Sing said, “Community education, engagement, and resident-driven tangible actions on vacant land are key components to strengthening the community capacity in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.”
Not only do land reclamation projects show investment in a neighborhood, they also improve the area’s local economy.
According to the Green Toolbox Report, research proves a greener environment has a positive impact on the perception of a place as a good location to live, work or shop. Such a shift can prompt new investments and lead to new development opportunities.
ReClaim South will build upon GTECH’s past and present neighborhood scale initiatives, including one currently underway in the Northside neighborhoods. Past participants have used problematic, underused land as a platform for such community engaging projects as the Manchester Growing Together Community Garden and public blueberry bushes in the Perry South neighborhood.
Future project to be implemented include a neighborhood aquaponics growing system, a gateway beautification project, as well as a chess park.
Residents of Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Bon Air, Knoxville, Mount Oliver, Mount Washington, South Side Slopes or St. Clair are eligible to apply. Submissions must be received no later than 5 p.m. on September 3 with decisions made by September 20.
Training sessions will be held between October 2013 and April 2014 with project implementation taking place between May 2014 and October 2014.
Interested individuals should apply online at http://gtechstrategies.org/102/reclaim-south or pick up a paper copy of the application at the Hilltop Alliance’s office, 512 Brownsville Road.
The ReClaim South initiative is made possible through the funding provided by an anonymous doner and The Pittsburgh Foundation. The program is run in partnership with the Hilltop Alliance and Economic Development South.