After 21 months spent visiting 700 households and listening to thousands of participants, Perry Hilltop and Fineview Citizens Councils complete community-wide study
By: Neil Strebig
Perry Hilltop and Fineview Citizens Council (PHCC, FCC) will be releasing their Inclusive Community Plan on Saturday, April 28 at Fineveiw Park from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The plan, which began in 2015, was first inspired by the potential impacts the redevelopment of Allegheny Dwellings in Fineview would have for the both Fineview and surrounding neighborhoods. From there, community members began piggybacking off research and data compiled by One Northside. The entirety of the work took approximately 21 months to complete, according to PHCC/FCC project manager Joanna Deming.
“It sort of built off of One Northside data,” Deming said. “What else do we want to know?”
The volunteer-driven plan was completely built around resident supported initiatives and is seeking to become the first neighborhood-developed plan, without any significant third party involvement, to gain Registered Community Organization ordinance (RCO) through the City of Pittsburgh. According to Deming, the plan was designed from a “grassroots” level and built “capacity during the process.”
Deming, fellow team members and volunteers from PHCC and FCC went door-to-door asking residents specific questions about disquiets they have within their respective neighborhoods. These areas were chosen based upon issues that current Fineview and Perry Hilltop residents found alarming.The results were 8 “top priority” target areas including: art and cultural preservation, education, housing, jobs and economic development, public health, public safety, open spaces and transportation. The goal is to begin building concrete plans within these priority areas and implement successful strategies that will elevate resident and neighborhood concerns.
“We’re not going to be successful – even if our community is nicer – 10 years from now if our neighbors can’t benefit,” said Deming.
A good amount of concentration and energy will be focused on synergy and how each of the 8 areas influences each other. Transportation concerns will be targeted to help improve concerns about a lack of access to employment, training and educational opportunities. In addition, open and vacant spaces will be revitalized to help promote the public health and cultural preservation targets.
Deming is hoping this becomes a blueprint for other Pittsburgh communities to replicate.
“It has been a real opportunity. Every neighborhood should have the capacity to engage their neighbors,” said Deming.
The PHCC and FCC Community Plan was financially supported by the Heinz Endowments, PNC Charitable Trust, and the City of Pittsburgh along with partnerships with Allegheny Cleanways, Charles Street Area Council, GTECH, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Project, Pittsburgh Project and the University of Pittsburgh.