The Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program returns for the third year!

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The application period is now open for homeowners to apply for a matching grant of up to $5,000 per property for residential façade (street-facing) renovations.  Improvements could include:

✒ Replacing gutters, siding, windows and doors
✒ Painting trim or porches
✒ Planting permanent landscaping
✒ Repairing or replacing sidewalks, steps or retaining walls

Applications are due by March 31, 2015.  An independent committee including contractors, architects and design professionals will review applications and award funds.  Grants are competitive and funds are limited.  Awards will be announced on April 17, 2015.  Homeowners must pay for all work up front.  The grant is paid out as a reimbursement check and is not paid until the work is completed.

The program application, guidelines, and design guide are available on our website or at the PHCA office.  For more information, call 412.681.1950 or email us.

Peoples Gas to replace gas line at Dobson Street

Peoples gas

Representatives from People’s Gas came to the Polish Hill community meeting on March 4 to talk about the upcoming gas line work on Dobson Street.  The work will affect residents on Dobson Street between Hancock Street to Herron Avenue, and residents on Harding Way and Fleetwood Way.  The work is supposed to start sometime next week, and People’s Gas will send letters to customers who will be affected.

Here are some points of information that People’s Gas representatives shared at the meeting:

— Work will take place on Dobson, Harding Way, and on Fleetwood Street (to about 100 feet short of Herron Avenue).  The project should take 3-4 weeks.
— There will be some disruption of service at the end of the project, when changing over to the main line.  People’s will be doing pressure  and safety test, which will result in outages lasting 10-15 minutes.
— Outages will be scheduled and the residents who will be affected will be contacted directly by Peoples.

Have more questions?  Peoples Gas has provided a direct contact number for the project Operations Supervisor, John Walko:  (412) 812-3369.  The PHCA has also asked Peoples to keep our office updated about the project so we can share that information with residents.

Health Department Offers Funds for Home Energy Upgrades

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The Allegheny County Health Department, in a partnership with Growth Through Energy and Community Health (GTECH) Strategies, is offering homeowners an opportunity to receive funds for investing in whole-home energy upgrades that reduce energy consumption and improve indoor air quality.

The Healthy Homes Incentive Program (HHIP) will provide up to $2,500 in funds to the first 100 qualified applicants who invest at least $5,000 in whole-home energy upgrades.  Only non-smoking homeowners in Allegheny County are eligible to apply for the program.

Improving indoor air quality is important because the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and it is estimated that indoor air pollutants are often two to five times higher than those found outdoors.

Participants will be walked step-by-step through the entire energy upgrade process.  Homeowners receive consultation and guidance through an energy audit, which will provide an outline of the exact scope of work needed to make their home more energy efficient.  The retrofits may include insulation, air sealing, ventilation, moisture control and other whole-home energy, health and safety measures.

Homeowners interested in participating should call Nicole Miller of GTECH Strategies at 412-361-2099, extension 7.  Applicants will be asked to provide up to 13 months of utility data for their homes.

The program is funded by a $300,000 grant from the Allegheny County Clean Air Fund.

HHIP is being administered by GTECH Strategies’ ReEnergize Pgh Program. GTECH Strategies is a 501(c)3 social enterprise that cultivates the unrealized potential of people and places by creating opportunities in the green economy that improve the economic, social and environmental health of communities.  For more information about GTECH Strategies, please visit www.gtechstrategies.org.

Announcing the 2014 Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program

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The Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program debuted in 2013, and the response was overwhelming.  Seven projects were awarded funding (we reported about those projects in the Fall-Winter 2013 Polish Hill Voice).

We’re excited to announce that funding has been secured to offer the program again in 2014.  Polish Hill property owners are eligible to apply for a matching grant of up to $5,000 per property for residential façade (street-facing) renovations.  Improvements could include:

✒ Replacing gutters, siding, windows and doors
✒ Painting trim or porches
✒ Planting permanent landscaping
✒ Repairing or replacing sidewalks, steps or retaining walls

Stuck on what to do?  Select renovation ideas from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide.  Or, sign up to meet with an architect on Feb. 12 for a free 15-minute consultation about your project.  Call 412.681.1950 by Feb. 5 to secure a spot.

Applications are due by March 14, 2014.  An independent committee will review applications and award funds.  Grants are competitive and funds are limited.  Awards will be announced on April 5, 2014.  Reimbursement checks are issued when work is completed.

The program application, guidelines, and design guide are available on our website or at the PHCA office.  For more information, call 412.681.1950 or email us.

URA facade renovation grant application period still open

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh has informed us that the application period is still open for their facade renovation grant program.  The program is available to six neighborhoods in Pittsburgh:  Arlington, Central Northside, Garfield, Manchester, Upper Hill District, and Polish Hill.

The grant is an up-to-$5,000 matching grant for eligible owners to fix up the facade (front) of their residential property.  The grant pays up to 50% of the total project costs up to a $5,000 maximum.

There does not appear to be any information about this program on the URA website.  We have an informational flier at the PHCA office.  For more information, contact Quianna Wasler of the URA at 412.255.6550, or email her at qwasler@ura.org.

The deadline for the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program is tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder… Saturday March 30 is the deadline to get your application for the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program in!  That’s tomorrow, by 6:00 p.m.!  There’s been a big response to this so the deadline will not be extended.  Call us at 412.681.1950 or email us if you have any last-minute questions.

Read the original post about the grant.

(Image by Loysen+Kreuthmeier Architects, from the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Design Guide)

Twenty-two days until the deadline for the Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant application!

If you’ve been thinking of doing some work on the outside of your house, we urge you to check out this chance to get some money to help with that.  Façade renovation grant programs are offered in communities all over the country.  The purpose of these programs is to make neighborhoods look better, one property at a time.  In Pittsburgh, Oakland has had a façade grant for a few years; now Polish Hill has its own program.

The grant is for the street facing sides of the propertythat includes areas of the property that face a street, public alley or public steps.  Possible improvements include structural work, permanent landscaping, site improvements such as walkways, stair and sidewalk repairs and replacement, and retaining walls.  Homeowners can also apply to do more cosmetic renovations, such as replacing windows, or correcting older or misguided renovations to make the front of the home look better.  For ideas on renovation possibilities, read the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Design Guide.

All residential properties are eligible, although priority will be given to owner-occupied properties.  For more details, check out the Grant Guidelines and the Application. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions.  This is a great opportunity — free money is not something that comes along often; most home improvement incentives come in the form of low-interest loans.

Pass the word along — here’s a flier to print or email.

(Examples of traditional and minimal renovations.  Illustration courtesy of Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, from the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Design Guide)

Announcing the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program

The PHCA is delighted to announce the Polish Hill Pivotal Streets Façade Renovation Grant Program.  Each residential property owner in Polish Hill is eligible to apply for a 1-to-1 matching grant of up to $5,000 to renovate the façade (street-facing side) of their property.  Awardees must contribute the project match amount and all amounts over the maximum $5,000 match.  Grant amounts less than $250 will not be considered, meaning the façade renovation project must cost at least $500.  Grant funds are reimbursed after the work is completed — in other words, the awardee must pay for the renovations upfront before receiving the grant money.

Renovation possibilities include:

✒ Replace gutters, siding, windows and doors
✒ Paint trim or porches
✒ Plant permanent landscaping
✒ Repair or replace sidewalks, steps or retaining walls
✒ Receive a bonus for energy efficiency improvements

Stuck on what to do? Select renovation ideas from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide.

Eligibility: Polish Hill residential property owners — owner-occupied and rental — who are ready to begin their projects!  Applications are due by March 30, 2013, awards will be announced by April 30, 2013  Reimbursement checks are issued when work is completed.

An independent committee of volunteer professionals will review applications and award funds. Grants are competitive and funds are limited.  Program funded by the PNC Foundation and Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.

Here are the program guidelines, and here is the application.
Questions?  Contact us at 412.681.1950 or email us.

(Above:  Illustration courtesy of Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, from the Pivotal Streets Design Guide)

Free home improvement workshop on Saturday, February 23

Do you want to add value to your home or storefront, but don’t know where to start?  Join Councilman Patrick Dowd and the District 7 office for the second Home Improvement Workshop, where residents can learn about property design, property renovation, City of Pittsburgh services, local neighborhood groups, and other resources for making improvements to their home or storefront.

The workshop will feature presentations and information tables on a wide range of topics.  Volunteer architects, landscape architects, and interior design consultants will be available for brief one-on-one renovation consultations facilitated through the Design Center’s Design Consults program.  RSVP is required only for the one-on-one consultations.

To get to the West Penn Wintergarden, which is in the North Tower, we suggest you enter via the Friendship Avenue entrance.  If you enter through any other door, be sure to follow the blue N arrows to the North Tower and then find your way to the first floor.  The Wintergarden is across the hall from the Friendship Cafeteria.

To register for a one-on-one consultation, please contact the District 7 office by February 19th by calling 412-255-2140 or by emailing district7@pittsburghpa.gov.

Free workshop on interior house restoration, Saturday November 10

Do you have an interior house restoration project in mind? Maybe you want to re-do your basement, fix a broken sink or get general tips on a project you’re considering.  The Landmarks Housing Resource Center will hold a free workshop titled Interior House Restoration on Saturday, November 10
 from 10:00 a.m.—11:30 a.m..  The workshop will be held at the Landmarks Housing Resource Center , 744 Rebecca Avenue,
 in Wilkinsburg.  (Here’s a map and driving directions)

This comprehensive workshop will touch on all aspects of interior house restoration, focusing on feasible Do-It-Yourself projects and resource guidance on how to tackle and solve house maintenance issues.
  The workshop will be led by Stephen Shelton, who has worked in the construction industry since 1972 starting out as a masonry laborer.  Since, he has worked professionally as a masonry laborer, bricklayer, stonemason, tile setter, welder, electrician, and plumber.  A Pittsburgh native, Stephen grew up in the East End and has long been enamored by the architecture and craftsmanship of a gone-by era, which produced some of the most impressive brick and stone buildings that inspired him to join the building trades.  In 2001, Stephen started Shelton Masonry Inc., masonry and general construction company, which employs 22 people and is one of the premier restoration companies in the city, working on both commercial and residential projects.

This workshop is FREE and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated. Contact Mary Lu Denny: marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808 ext 527.