Above: CASGED plans to improve the gateway to East Deutschtown.

With the help of several grants, East Deutchtown is investing in its curb appeal.

In an attempt to draw people into their neighborhood, the Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutchtown is investing roughly $120,000 in its very visible gateway with new signage and landscaping to greet the thousands of cars that pass its entry each day.

The gateway to Deutschtown is at the intersections at Chestnut Street , Rt. 28 and East Ohio Street, which are jammed at rush hour, surrounded by fences and bordered by unused land sporting litter and overgrown vegetation.

“This gateway is the North Side’s front door. That’s why it’s a high priority for our community group,” explained CASGAD President Ruth Anne Dailey. “We want people to see that North Siders care about their communities, that our neighborhood is experiencing new life… A beautiful, inviting and safe gateway will communicate the exciting things that are going on here and will spark even more positive activity.”

The first phase of the project will involve landscaping the roadside property which his owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, installing a large sign depicting the history of Deutchtown and attaching decorative panels to the security fences along the roads.

Pashek and Associates who has been working with CASGED to create a comprehensive plan for East Deutschtown came up with the concept of using the dramatic  shapes of Deutschtown rooftops, like the Priory Hotel’s, Penn Brewery’s  and the Heinz time office dome,  for the fence panels.

Multiple grants will fund the gateway project. CASGED will receive $25,000 from the Design Center of Pittsburgh, $10,000 from the Colcom Foundation for landscaping and up to $75,000 from the Northside Leadership Conference’s Casino grant fund.

“It’s one of those projects that that takes a piece of land that is underutilized and people think no one can touch it…and the community group is allowed to come in and beautify it through a community effort,” said Thor Erickson, programs manager at the Design Center of Pittsburgh.

The community group has also raised $10,000 on its own towards the project and still has several grant requests pending.

“Deutschtown was devastated by the construction of I-279 and the expansion of Rte. 28. The powers-that-be didn’t invest anything into ameliorating the very negative impact of these projects, and our neighborhood has borne the brunt of it,” said Dailey. “We are the first part or the only part of the North Side that many people usually see, and the weedy lots and missing buildings send a negative message.”