Photo by Lauren Stauffer
The Nail Pounding Ceremony for Phase I of the Observatory Hill Bonvue Street Project marked the first of many affordable housing projects. The Urban Redevelopment Authority provided loans and grants to OHI and deferred second mortgage loans to keep the homes affordable.

By Alyse Horn

Two housing revitalization projects began on the Northside this month with Observatory Hill entering Phase I of the Bonvue Street Project and Brightwood entering Phase II of the Woodland Avenue Revitalization Project.

Observatory Hill

On Thursday, November 10 community members, volunteers and partners of the Bonvue Street Project gathered at 115 Bonvue St. for the first Nail Pounding Ceremony to kick off Phase I of the project in which five homes are being rehabbed.

Leslee Schaffer, assistant treasurer of Observatory Hill Inc., said this project originally began rolling two years ago with the mission of gathering the “low hanging fruit like abandoned houses that have been sitting vacant for awhile and seeing which of those we could purchase” for rehabilitation.

“In a short time we have made a nice leap forward in our progress,” Schaffer said.

The homes that are currently under construction are 23 Bonvue St., 29 Bonvue St., 24 Bonvue St., 111 Bovnue St., and 115 Bonvue St.

Partnership with the Northside Community Development Fund, VAF Architecture, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, SSB Bank, and the Northside Leadership Conference was key in making the project possible, and Schaffer said that Mayor Bill Peduto’s office and Councilwoman Darlene Harris have been very supportive throughout the venture and getting the vacant houses under control.

“It’s a good time to be apart of the neighborhood,” Schaffer said.

At the event on November 10, the Vice-Chairperson for the NSCDF Walt Nalducci, said “we are here really to celebrate a new beginning for Observatory Hill and a bright future for Observatory Hill” before the nail pounding took place.

For more information of Phase I of the Bonvue Street Project, click here.

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Brightwood

The Nail Pounding Ceremony for Phase II of the Woodland Avenue Revitalization Project was held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 17 at 1136 Woodland Ave.

President of Brightwood Civic Group Angel Gober, who led the event, said at the beginning of the ceremony that the organization “couldn’t do this by ourselves” and that there was “a lot of participation and partnerships” to get the project where it is today.

Executive Director of the Northside Community Development Fund Mark Masterson, which has partnered with BCG on the project since Phase I, said he is hopeful that he and his organization will be able to do more projects of the nature on the Northside.

“What [the NSCDF does] is loan money to nonprofit neighborhood organizations on the Northside, like Brightwood and Observatory Hill,” Masterson said, noting the funds support in Phase I of the Bovnue Street Project.

“Fifty-two percent of our loans go towards these [projects], and we need to do more of them,” Masterson said.

The Brightwood homes part of Phase II are 2649 Brighton Rd., 2703 Brighton Rd., 1128 Woodland Ave., 1134 Woodland Ave., 1136 Woodland Ave.

The BCG partnered with WesBanco, the NSCDF, the Northside Leadership Conference, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Councilwoman Darlene Harris and Mayor Bill Peduto during the second phase of the project.

Click here to read about Phase I. Click here for more information on BCG and Phase II.

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Photo by Alyse Horn
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