Above: Painters are nearly finished with the Beckert Building on East Ohio Street. (Photos courtesy Randy Strothman).
Two grants provided paint and supplies that helped volunteers make a big difference on East Ohio Street this weekend.
Twenty five volunteers painted, planted and cleaned up East Ohio Street and neighboring blocks and changed the face of a key piece of real estate on East Ohio Street, the Beckert building.
Organizers Emily Leone of the Northside Leadership Conference and Barbara Burns of the local nonprofit Historic Deutschtown Development Corporation called the event “a great community effort.”
The first grant came from the City of Pittsburgh’s Love Your Block Grant program, which provided $1,000 for plants, gardening supplies and other clean-up necessities in collaboration with Home Depot. Volunteers cleaned up trash on East Ohio Street and planted hundreds of bulbs and greenery near the parking lot at Middle and Foreland Avenues.
This was the second time Historic Deutschtownreceived this grant to clean up the business district, the first being in the spring.
The second grant came from the state, and supplied $3,000 of BEHR paint as a part of its Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania program in collaboration with Home Depot and BEHR.
Volunteers and painters from Sarandis Painting used the donated paint to give the Beckert Building on the corner of East Ohio and James streets a makeover.
The three-story Victorian building is owned by HDDC and houses five apartments on its upper floors, though the commercial space on the ground floor is for rent. It is considered a strategic location in the business district.
“Our goal is to refresh the historic character of this grand building, rethink its use and how it can contribute again to our community by restoring and updating it,” said Barbara Burns, President of HDDC.
The HDDC was the only group in Allegheny County to receive this grant.
Though the grants were received by separate groups from separate funders, the organizers decided that they could best utilize volunteers by having the clean-up and the painting on the same day.
Allegheny Center Alliance Church, Northern Community Probation, School Based Probation, Community Intensive Supervision Program and Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – Family Division sent volunteers who joined Deutschtown residents for the day.
“The volunteers came with so much energy and we had great weather,” said Leone. “It was really a good day for the neighborhood.”