The WCDC is in partnership with Wilkinsburg’s business community, property owners, and residents, working together to foster economic development, improve the business corridor, and enhance the quality of life in the community. The WCDC does this by supporting existing businesses, attracting new businesses, and creating a flourishing commercial and retail environment in Wilkinsburg.
Business District Revitalization Plan
A major part of starting our Wilkinsburg business district revitalization efforts involved working collaboratively with volunteers, businesses, and community leaders to develop an extensive Wilkinsburg Business District Revitalization Plan and establishing our other program areas:
- Education & Youth
- Green, Clean & Safe
- Image & Identity
Additionally, we have achieved several major milestones that will make our business district more appealing to developers, entrepreneurs, residents, and consumers, including applying for and being accepted into the PA Downtown Center’s Main Street Program; developing an aggressive tax abatement strategy; offering more assistance to small businesses through programs such as Kiva Zip; developing materials for vacant property acquisition; and legalizing liquor licenses for the sale of alcohol at restaurants in the borough.
Liquor License Campaign
Following the May 20, 2015 primary election, Wilkinsburg is no longer a dry borough! Thanks to the efforts of over 40 community volunteers and several supportive businesses, restaurants in our community are now able to apply for and receive liquor licenses. Up to five licenses may be issued in Wilkinsburg without municipal approval. However, licensees must fulfill PA Liquor Control Board requirements, have a physical location, and meet borough zoning requirements. We also ask that, upon application, potential licensees meet with us and participate in our community process, which aims to eliminate the possibility of nuisance establishments in our borough.
Next Steps for Business District Revitalization
In the coming years, we will continue our work to revitalize Wilkinsburg’s business district by:
- Updating business district zoning recommendations
- Working with building owners to make their space code-compliant, thereby responding to market demand
- Providing incentives for developers and investors to reclaim vacant space
- Working with the Borough of Wilkinsburg to streamline the permitting process
- Renovating the business district streetscape as a model of urban sustainability
- Initiating a major clean-up and maintenance effort followed by regular street sweeping, litter removal, and sidewalk cleaning
- Renovating, stabilizing, or demolishing blighted buildings
- Holding property owners accountable for paying taxes and complying with building and maintenance codes
- Promoting a major, visible project on Penn Avenue
- Engaging in a media relations effort to rebrand the Wilkinsburg’s business district as safe and a desirable place to own a business and shop
- Conducting stakeholder interviews to provide feedback on our progress to date
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