After five years operating without official leadership, the Hill District Community Development Corporation has named Marimba Milliones as their interim executive director.
“The organization is excited to turn this corner after years of hard work. We will now focus on fulfilling the role of facilitator for Hill District development and will serve as a resource to residents, private, public and community-based developers.” Milliones said. “The needs of the Hill District are diverse and a CDC focused on collaboration and balancing all interests is essential—residents, government, business owners, developers and new parties seeking opportunity must all be considered.”
The Hill CDC has played a key role in addressing the development components of the Greater Hill District Master Plan, which includes a number of initiatives such as workforce development and the creation of business incubators. The organization has been focusing its efforts on infield development to fill in vacant land left by homes that have been demolished.
“The master plan has two separate approaches; it has categorized needs in two different categories, program initiatives and urban design and development. There are literally probably 50 programs and initiatives,” Milliones said. “There will be numerous organizations and parties that have to drive certain components. The Hill CDC’s focus is the development components as well as program initiatives that relate to development.”
Milliones has been a longtime advocate and supporter of Hill District initiatives. She has also been elected to the 2011 – 2012 board of Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.
Primarily, her energies have been focused on the revitalization of the New Granada Theater, owned by the Hill CDC. The site was designated as a national landmark in December 2010 and will be redeveloped for mixed-use development including retail, office and institutional space. The Hill CDC has raised $1.8 million for the building’s stabilization.
“Moving forward, the Hill CDC will be the facilitator of Hill District development and will drive the re-development of the New Granada building. The Hill CDC will use the master plan to guide its facilitation work. The focus will be promoting, managing and tracking the implementation of the design and development initiatives within the master plan i.e. Centre Ave Business District, Herron Ave, Middle Hill District infill development and more,” Milliones said. “We will also support community partners in the implementation of numerous support program initiatives identified within the master plan.”
To fill the position of board chair left open by Milliones, the board has elected Chloe Velasquez. Velasquez is the owner of Sabio Springs, a bottled water company located in Pittsburgh
“I am excited to take on this new role at this critical juncture,” said Velasquez. “The master plan provides a clear roadmap for the community and the actions taken position the Hill CDC to be a critical player in the implementation of that strategic vision.”
The Hill CDC was founded in 1987 and has since played a primary role in the creation of several residential and commercial developments such as Crawford Square, Loendi Townhouses, Wylie Ave Townhouses, Dinwiddie Townhouses, Bedford Hills and Williams Square. In its new capacity, Milliones said the Hill CDC’s new mission is to work in partnership with residents and stakeholders to create, promote, and implement strategies and programs that connect plans, policies and people toward community development opportunities.
The Hill CDC will host its next community meeting June 16 at 6 p.m. at Miller African Centered Academy located at 2055 Bedford Ave.