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By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Mt. Washington CDC is one step closer to finalizing five-year plan


August 29, 2017

An updated five-year strategic plan for the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) took another step toward completion when a draft version of the plan was reviewed at the organization’s August meeting.

Michael Grande, president of the MWCDC, said the draft plan includes an executive summary; information for funding organizations concerning the process used to formulate the plan; a president’s statement; and, the priority categories the MWCDC would be focusing on in the future.

The priority categories were: Sustainability, Advocacy, Planning and Development.

Mr. Grande said the executive summary noted community stakeholders felt they had a “great neighborhood now,” but “we had a great deal more potential to reach.” They used the priority categories to demonstrate how to reach that potential.

He added the strategic plan was a resident driven approach with input from various stakeholders and elected officials.

The strategic plan also addresses how to gather the resources (funding) to implement the ideas suggested in the plan along with the capacity to do so. Capacity could include hiring staff, strategic partnerships with other organizations or both.

“It’s building on relationships,” Mr. Grande said.

In the visioning process, he explained, there were more than 250 individual ideas from residents, stakeholders and board members. Not every idea was included individually, but could have been included in one of the groups.

“In a strategic plan the purpose is not necessarily to be totally specific on every project. Although there are some you will see called out,” Mr. Grande said. Though there are categories like Planning where they talk about identifying priorities within the priorities.

The new Vision Statement will be: “We will be the ideal community for diverse residents, businesses and visitors to Pittsburgh.”

He said Mt. Washington is in a unique position among many of the neighborhoods in the city by having so many visitors.

The new Mission Statement will be: “To engage community, promote development and provide opportunity.”

Housing and business development were included together under the Development category. The plan promotes sound and responsible residential and commercial opportunities while capitalizing on tourism opportunities.

It also advocates for the entire length of Grandview Avenue and includes such things as rest rooms, beautifying the area and coming up with a Master Plan for Grandview Avenue from one end to the other.

“So it looks like the jewel that I think that we all think it should look like,” he said.

The Planning category may get changed to Engagement in the final plan. As the plan moves forward, residential engagement will continue, Mr. Grande explained. If there is something in the plan for later years, but the funding and community backing is there sooner, the project could be moved up.

Advocacy would include advancing community concerns with local decision makers who can influence change. A new Advocacy Committee would be formed to create campaigns and strategies in order to seek funding for neighborhood wide safety programs and other priorities.

The Sustainability area includes not only resource development, but also the right level of board, staff, volunteer and financial resources.

Members of the audience participated in break-out groups to review each priority category with everyone having the opportunity to review all four categories. The input taken from the meeting will be incorporated into the final five-year strategic plan.

The next two MWCDC meetings will return to the Mt. Washington Senior Center on Virginia Avenue. Candidates for the MWCDC Board of Directors will speak at the September meeting and elections will be held in October.


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