Strong Neighborhoods Committee

Working together to improve quality of life in Wilkinsburg by addressing blighted and abandoned properties.

Our Purpose

The goal of this committee is to build strong neighborhoods through an investigation of the causes and impacts of blight and vacancy in Wilkinsburg and work with the WCDC to develop a Vacant Property Re-Use Plan to address vacancy and blight, mitigate threats of displacement and gentrification, and create catalysts for reinvestment driven by community vision.

Our Objectives

  • Complete a Vacant Property Survey
  • Develop a robust and active outreach plan
  • Develop a framework for community planning sessions
  • Conduct  neighborhood planning sessions
  • Create a Vacant Property Re-Use plan for each neighborhood
  • Connect residents to housing and vacant property resources
  • Work closely with established groups to implement the strategies

Get Involved!

The Strong Neighborhoods Committee meets monthly in a virtual setting to discuss the challenges facing Wilkinsburg residents and business owners as it relates to vacant properties, share resources and information and work towards committee goals.

Participants may engage through contributions including but not limited to:

  • Attending committee meetings 
  • Volunteering expertise
  • Actively network building and recruiting
  • Collecting data for mapping
  • Participating in neighborhood visioning sessions
  • Participation in other committee activities
  • Learning and sharing

    Beginning in 2021, the committee will establish working groups for each of Wilkinsburg’s nineteen neighborhoods (map below) to conduct neighborhood planning sessions and develop community driven strategies specifically designed for each area. Meeting agendas, notes and outreach documents are available here via google drive.

    Join us for committee meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 4:00pm to 5:30pm.

    Fill out the interest form or email jpallitto@hillgroupinc.com to receive the monthly zoom link.

    *January Update*

    Data Collection

    Vacant property data collection began in November using the Landgrid platform for mobile devices. So far, the SNC (Stong Neighborhoods Committee) has completed about ​65% ​of the survey with the assistance of 14 residents. ​Data will be analyized aiming for February analysis so that communication for planning efforts can begin in March and extend through the summer as needed.

    Other SNC Meeting Highlights/Themes

    • The cost to rehab or demolition does not justify the investment by many residents.
    • There is a lack of clarity over which programs are applicable and access to or awareness of various financing options.
    • There is a need for connections to knowledgable contractors for consultations. ​

    Next meeting: Monday February 10th, 2021, at 4 pm

    Click the button for a downloadable pdf of the full Strong Neighborhoods Committee January Update.

    Leadership

    The Strong Neighborhood Committee is led by committee chairs, Deb Rose and Pam Panchak with guidance from WCDC staff members and Vacant Property Consultant, Evaine K. Sing from EKS Solutions, LLC.

    Facilitation is provided by Ellen Ruddock and Jordan Pallitto from The Hill Group. The committee is working in collaboration with the WCDC’s Vacant Property Recovery Initiative funded by the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE).

    Formation

    The Strong Neighborhoods Committee was formed following a Focus Group visioning process led by the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation. Through a series of surveys and zoom, which took place over the Summer of 2020, residents and stakeholders discussed strengths, challenges and key issues facing Wilkinsburg. Blight and the abundance of vacant properties were among the largest concerns identified. Learn more about the Focus Group HERE.

    Neighborhood Map of Wilkinsburg as outlined in the Borough’s Comprehensive Plan.

    Looking for more help acquiring a vacant property?

    Get more details on our Vacant Property Webpage or by emailing vacantproperty@wilkinsburgcdc.org.