Update on 4900 block of Second Avenue sparks lively discussion on universal design; ERAP closes; housing summit planned; 23rd annual Safe Halloween
By Juliet Martinez
Participants at the August 9 Hazelwood Initiative community meeting gave feedback on plans for developing the former S&R Market lot on the 4900 block of Second Avenue.
Architects Kate Tunney and Eli Gutierrez of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative presented ideas and received community input about the currently empty lot across from Rite Aid. Hazelwood Initiative, which owns the lot, engaged the architects to develop the design through this collaborative process.
Ms. Tunney reviewed project goals that emerged from three previous community meetings:
Reflect the spirit of the community
Create ways for residents to interact and have chance meetings
Be available to the public
Offer amenities like a public bathroom
Offer something the neighborhood does not already have
Create a safe streetscape that has great character
The current design envisions an addition built onto 4901 Second Avenue, which houses Hazelwood Initiative’s offices. A lobby will connect the two buildings and add a front entrance to the organization’s offices. On the Glen Caladh side, a sheltered area will provide shaded seating, and a parklet will offer a place for residents to socialize.
Some participants commented on the accessibility of the building entrance, saying the current intercom system at the door is difficult to use for those with hearing or mobility disabilities. Ms. Tunney welcomed this feedback. Hazelwood Initiative executive director, Sonya Tilghman, said the organization will work on installing a video doorbell.
Meeting participants offered extensive and thoughtful input on accessibility of the elevators and restrooms, and the safety of disabled people in an emergency such as a fire. Ms. Tunney thanked them and invited them to form an advisory committee on universal design.
Other suggestions included making space for public art, changing the art installation in the parklet periodically, considering a green roof or other sustainability features, improving the ventilation, and adding ornamentation to the exterior of the existing building.
ERAP has closed
Tiffany Taulton, Hazelwood Initiative director of outreach and sustainability, said the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has ended. The program paid out $118,175,697 to 28,587 households in Allegheny County. Hazelwood Initiative helped distribute close to $1 million to help people in this community pay rent and utilities.
Ms. Taulton is working to connect property owners and tenants who missed the deadline or need help with other assistance programs.
The Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative Housing Committee will hold a housing summit 5:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, at Propel School. The summit has two goals: To help renters and homeowners in this neighborhood get help keeping their homes; and to decide what policy issues we can advocate on to promote housing equity. See the ad on page 6.
23rd Annual Safe Halloween
Jim and Judy McLaughlin are organizing Safe Halloween again this year. To donate in support of the event, make checks payable to Hazelwood Initiative and write “Safe Halloween” on the memo line. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at Hazelwood Initiative, 4901 Second Ave. 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh PA 15207. Deliver candy donations to the same address by October 20. See the ad on page 17.
Ms. Taulton reported the Allegheny Solar Co-op became the largest solar co-op in Pennsylvania with more than 200 members. The co-op closed to new members in late June, but raised $135,000 to give free solar panels to moderate- and low-income Hazelwood homeowners.
Gladstone Residences trade apprenticeships
Ms. Tilghman reported that nine students are moving through the pre-apprenticeship program offered in partnership with ABC Construction. Graduates can continue with paid training after the course. The cohort was in its third week on August 9.
URA outreach for the 2023 Housing Opportunity Fund
The Urban Redevelopment Authority is starting their community outreach process for the 2023 Housing Opportunity Fund. They are asking people to complete a survey and give feedback on how the fund should be used and what it might be best suited for. Watch your email inboxes for Ms. Taulton’s e-newsletters for more information, including possible public meetings.