Nearly three years ago, the Hill District community completed a comprehensive master plan that envisions the revitalization of one of Pittsburgh’s most historic neighborhoods. Today, the Hill District community moves forward in fulfilling its long-held goal of collaboration between the Hill Community Development Corporation (Hill CDC) and Hill District Consensus Group (HDCG).
The groups, including staff and board of directors, worked closely to create a new “Development Review Panel” which will provide inclusive community-level review of development efforts for the neighborhood.
The Hill CDC was founded in 1987 and the Hill District Consensus Group was established in 1991. The Hill CDC has focused on community and economic development, while the Hill District Consensus Group has served as a community forum for nearly twenty years. Both organizations were key in the completion of the neighborhood’s master plan. “The master plan contains the hopes and dreams of the residents, so it was critical to find a way to maximize this opportunity by working together,” said Hill District Consensus Group Director, Carl Redwood.
“I am encouraged by our collaboration, and excited by this inclusive model that advances a community-driven vision,” said Hill CDC President & CEO, Marimba Milliones.
The Development Review Panel will be comprised of Hill District residents appointed by both organizations. The Panel will be staffed and convened by the Hill CDC and a launch date will be determined. The Hill CDC will begin planning over the next several months and will begin to seek funding to support the initiative. “For many years, governmental agencies, philanthropic organizations and developers have encouraged a clarification of roles between the two organizations, we are happy to have answered that call,” said Chloe Velasquez, Board Chair of the Hill CDC.
Emma Lucas Darby PhD, Board Secretary of the Hill District Consensus Group agreed.
“As a resident who has served on multiple community boards, this is such an important benchmark. The community is better-suited as a result of this tremendous effort on the part of both organizations,” she said.
Councilman Daniel Lavelle and state Rep. Jake Wheatley were both key supporters of this collaboration and said they will do whatever possible to support this important moment for the Hill District. Both played key roles in facilitating the conversation between the two organizations.
“This is a huge step for the Hill District and helps government to interact with the Hill District in a transparent, productive and healthy manner,” Lavelle said. “It removes questions about which organization performs which functions. I, for one, am happy to have a well-written document that clearly outlines the development-review process for the Hill District.”
Wheatley, a veteran law-maker, commented on the potential of the Hill District and additional investment with this clarification of roles.
“This was long overdue, and yet right on time, as the neighborhood reaches a clear tipping point,” Wheatley said. “This wasn’t an easy process, but both organizations put serious effort into making it a reality – they should be commended.”
Additional details will be provided at upcoming meetings with key community and broader stakeholders. Representatives of the Hill Community Development Corporation and Hill District Consensus Group will participate in the ongoing process.