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Beechview, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from joseph a’s photostream

Proposed Commercial District Revitalization Efforts Highlighted in Beechview

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 25, 2014) – Mayor William Peduto, Councilman Dan Gilman and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak today officially declared the week of November 24-30 “Small Business Week” in the City of Pittsburgh.

Small Business Week highlights a renewed commitment from the Mayor and City Council to support commercial district revitalization. Recent support has enabled the Urban Redevelopment Authority to provide more robust assistance to budding business districts and neighborhood serving businesses that provide critical income and employment to Pittsburghers, help activate streets increasing safety and community, and provide amenities that make Pittsburgh neighborhoods some of the most attractive places to live in the region.

In support of shopping local during Small Business Week, the Mayor backed Council’s efforts with the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh to implement free parking in city surface lots, meters and garages on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The city’s commitment to commercial business district revitalization extends well beyond the confines of Small Business Week. The Mayor’s proposed budget contains a substantial increase (from $75,000 to $360,000) in spending for Storefront and Façade, Streetface and Business District Support (details and descriptions below). The creation of the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment included a Small Business and Redevelopment Manager, a position specifically designated to support and serve residents and business owners in underserved neighborhoods. In the Department of Public Safety, a Night-time Economy Manager position was created to further develop a coordinated effort between night-time economies, city agencies and the residential areas they’re in or near.

Early next year the Mayor’s Office, the City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation and Performance and the URA will work together to strengthen the city’s regulatory processes. Similar to the restructuring work being done in the Bureau of Building Inspection, the end goals are to streamline the process and make doing business in Pittsburgh easier and more efficient for all.

In District 4, Councilwoman Rudiak set aside money from her council office budget to support a business district consultant for Broadway Avenue in Beechview. David Brewton was hired and is working in conjunction with Beechview residents, URA staff, Mayor’s office staff and the Mt. Washington CDC staff.

Proposed Storefront and Façade, Streetface, and Business District Support

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Storefront Renovation monies are matching grants that can be used by businesses in Pittsburgh making improvements to the façade of their buildings, improving both the attractiveness of their business as well as the neighborhood in general. Matching grants are up to $5,000.*2015 reflects the Mayor’s proposed budget which is yet to be passed by City Council, and is subject to be modified by City Council

Streetface Program provides forgivable loans that can be used to improve the façade of buildings in targeted commercial corridors, and require adherence to design standards as well as improvements to entire facades, not just the floor on which a business is located, forgivable loans up to $35,000.

Business District Support consists of biz buzz grants of up to $7,000 that business districts can use to plan and implement catalytic projects, programs, and events that “build a buzz” about the districts, as well as other targeted district specific efforts.