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Hazelwood’s cooperative grocery store project goes back to the drawing board | The Homepage

Updated: Jun 26

Also: The URA housing fund can help renters, homebuyers and homeowners with a range of needs

By Juliet Martinez, managing editor

The May 14 Greater Hazelwood community meeting drew a lively crowd. The in-person meeting took place on the second-floor classroom of Community Kitchen Pittsburgh. About a dozen participants joined online as well. They learned about housing resources and where Hazelwood’s new bike-sharing stations might go. They also got updates about the special bus shelters planned for Hazelwood Green and Second Avenue.

But first, Hazelwood has not had a full-size grocery store for decades. Community groups are working to create one.

Co-op grocery store

The groups’ goal is to open a co-op grocery store. Lutual Love, pastor of Praise Temple Deliverance Church, spoke on behalf of the Greater Hazelwood Coalition Against Racial and Ethnic Disparities. GH-CARED is an offshoot of People of Origin Rightfully Loved and Wanted, known as P.O.O.R.L.A.W., which is spearheading the project. Hazelwood Initiative is a project partner.

At the last update, the groups were planning a three-story, 40,000 square-foot building with two floors of underground parking and the grocery store on the first floor. Mr. Love said some residents were unsure about the underground parking.

“So, we went back to the drawing board,” he said. They are conducting a new feasibility study to find what Mr. Love called the best fit.

The one-, two- or three-story development could include a farm on the top floor. The groups are also looking into the former home of Rite Aid at 4934 Second Ave. P.O.O.R.L.A.W. founder Saundra Cole-McKamey said it would be an excellent location for the store. The owner has said they are not willing to sell.

Mr. Love invited everyone to a community meeting in June to discuss the project.

Housing resources

Eric Burnheimer is the housing administration and outreach coordinator at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. He presented the annual allocation plan for the authority’s $10 million Housing Opportunity Fund.

Most of the authority’s housing programs are aimed at helping moderate- to low-income people. This means they must have a household income of 80% or less of the area median income, known as AMI.

AMI is a measure that governmental agencies use to figure a family’s eligibility for aid programs. For example, a family of four earning $41,500 or less would qualify as 50% or below Pittsburgh’s AMI.

Half of the fund’s resources go to households earning 30% AMI or less. Another quarter of the resources go to households at 31-50% AMI. The last quarter is for those earning 51-80% AMI.

The exception is for the OwnPgh program. It offers Pittsburgh homebuyers $5,000 to $7,500 for down payments and closing costs. People earning up to 115% AMI can use this program. While technically a loan, it is forgiven after several years living in the home.

OwnPgh also offers up to $90,000 as a grant to low- and moderate-income homebuyers. The authority recently marked the 100th home sold through this program.

The homeowner assistance program helps people make repairs or upgrades to their homes. Homeowners can get a $5,000 grant and $30,000 in forgivable loans. The loan is forgiven after 20 years if the person is still living in their home. The program is in high demand. Applicants with code violations, health risks and homes with children under 5 are most likely to be approved. Right now they are waiting for a renewal of funds for this program.

Housing stabilization aims to help people stay housed by getting them fast cash for rent, utilities or mortgage payments. It can also go toward paying the first month’s rent.

The free legal aid program helps Pittsburgh renters get legal representation when they are facing eviction or disputes with their landlords. Homeowners can get help with title issues and foreclosure prevention.

Mr. Burnheimer said the housing programs rely on public feedback. He encouraged participation in their annual survey, especially from those in Hazelwood. To take the survey, scan this QR code.

He encouraged anyone facing eviction or missing a rent or mortgage payment to go to the housing stabilization center. It is located at 415 7th Ave. and open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bike-sharing stations

Erin Potts is the director of marketing and community outreach from local nonprofit, Bike Share Pittsburgh Inc. She spoke about the expanding network of POGOH bike-sharing stations.

The POGOH program has 60 stations throughout the city. More than half the bikes have electric assist to make riding uphill easier.

Bike Share Pittsburgh’s goal is to build its network of charging stations to 320. They propose placing new a station on Mansion Street near either Second Avenue or Johnston Avenue. These would both allow the network to move toward Glen Hazel.

The stations would be in the street. Ms. Potts said the station takes up about as much space as a parked car. Anyone who wants to give input on these locations can email her at erin@pghbikeshare.org. For more information, visit pghbikeshare.org.

Bus shelters

Placement options for the second bus shelter. The first will be at Second Avenue and Tecumseh street. Option A (top) is an outbound stop in front of Automotive Medic at Second Avenue and Elizabeth Street. Option B (bottom) is kitty corner at the same intersection. Images courtesy of Shiftworks

Sallyann Kluz is the executive director of Shiftworks. She updated attendees on the plan to install three pairs of bus shelters. Two will be on Blair Street on Hazelwood Green and one pair on Second Avenue.

Artists and architects designed the bus shelters with community input. Hand-made flags and engraved quotes from Hazelwood residents will adorn them. They will be wheelchair accessible and have phone charging ports.

The inbound Second Avenue bus shelter will be at Tecumseh Street near Hazelwood Towers. The city already removed a shelter there in anticipation of the new one. The location of the outbound bus shelter is not yet determined. One possible place is Second Avenue and Elizabeth Street in front of Automotive Medic. Another possibility is to have two outbound shelters. One would be near Hazelwood Towers, the other in front of St. Stephens Catholic Church, kitty corner to the Automotive Medic.

Email Ms. Kluz at sallyann@shiftworkspgh.org for more information.

Music festival canceled

The organizers of the Sudden Little Thrills Music Festival scheduled for Sept. 7 and 8 canceled it without explanation on May 14. The website says the promoter will refund tickets.

City of Bridges annual meeting

City of Bridges’ 5th annual meeting and celebration will be Tuesday, June 18 at 6 p.m. at the KST Alloy Studios. It is free for current CBCLT members, homeowners and supporters. Learn more at cityofbridgesclt.org/rsvp2024.

Architecture summer camp

Pittsburgh Project Pipeline Architecture four-day summer camp is open for registration. The cost is $20.00 per student for supplies, food and a T-shirt. Discounts are available. Sign up by July 26. For more information, visit www.instagram.com/noma_pgh.

Community baby showers

Beverly’s Birthdays offers free, in-person baby showers for expectant parents and parents of newborns up to 3 months old. Receive baby items, celebration and support, and connections to resource providers. Learn more at beverlysbirthdays.org/our-programs/beverlysbabies/.

Food justice grants

The citywide Food Justice Fund has $1.5 million available for grants of up to $75,000 for 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations with a budget under $500,000. Learn more at engage.pittsburghpa.gov/food-justice-fund.

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