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LOVE YOUR RESILIENT BLOCK

Love Your [Resilient] Block

Please see below for important dates for the 2017 Love Your [Resilient] Block season:

Application Release November 14, 2016
Application Deadline January 6, 2017
Grantees Announced January 27, 2017
Mandatory Orientation TBD
Project Period March 1 - August 31, 2017
Best Block Award Winner Announced September 15, 2017

Love Your Resilient Block Events

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About LYRB

Love Your [Resilient] Block is a City of Pittsburgh program, made possible through a partnership with Cities of Service and Peoples Gas, to revitalize our City block by block!

Here's how it works:

  1. Nonprofit organizations from across Pittsburgh are invited to propose projects to build resilience in their blocks with up to $1,500 in funds and the support of key City Departments.
  2. Competitive projects will be selected, after which City agencies will engage with awarded group members and listen to their block improvement requests.
  3. They will then proceed to carry out the requested services, as feasible.
  4. With grant money, the selected groups purchase equipment and supplies, engage their neighbors, and roll up their sleeves to carry out their own brand of block beautification and repair.
  5. Make sure you rally volunteers and put forth your best effort as there is an award of $3,000 given to the most impressive block transformation, to be used by the winning community group for future site improvements. 

Partners

The City of Pittsburgh is grateful to Cities of Service and Peoples Gas for their investment in Love Your Block and its commitment to vibrant and sustainable communities.

LYRB Guidelines

Most importantly, call us with questions. We’d love to speak with you! If you would like project guidance or have questions about resilience, please contact Alexander Cupo at 215-285-5030 or Emily Costello at 814-360-6858. If you have questions regarding the application, please contact Lex Janes at 412-255-4795.

Please consider the following in planning your project:

  1. All projects must benefit the public and sites should be visible from the street or another public space.
  2. There are different guidelines for private vs. public property.
    • You can check who owns your proposed project site here.
    • If you would like to work on private property, we will need written permission from the property owner. A sample property permission form is here.
    • If you would like to work on City property, give us a call and tell us your project idea. We’ll help inform what the City will permit or what challenges may arise.
  3. We encourage community art projects, however we do not recommend art projects on City property under the Love Your [Resilient] Block program.
  4. All structures, on City or private property, are subject to the receipt of permits from Zoning and the Bureau of Building Inspection.
    • Structures include fences, sheds, walls, and signs. All must be illustrated on a scaled site plan, at a minimum.
    •  In addition, if you require a permit, the project site must have an address. But don't worry; we will help you!
  5. Many projects on City property will be subject to Art Commission approval. If you’ve never attended a public hearing, this is a great opportunity for you to learn how that process works!
  6. Grantees may be eligible to purchase or rent equipment, however the equipment must remain under the ownership of a community group. 
    • Final approval of your budget is always subject to City approval.
  7. While faith-based organizations may participate in Love Your [Resilient] Block, the City will not fund projects involving religious activity or practices.
    • Make sure your proposed project would be inclusive and welcoming to all residents.

In planning for strong and successful projects, consider the following:

  1. Build strong partnerships
    • Consider having local businesses come out and lend a hand or donate food or materials.
    • Recruit volunteers from a local VFW post, or have a service-learning component for youth.
  2. Leverage donations
    • Consider having residents donate plants, compost material, or food for your volunteer event day.
  3. Make sure it’s feasible
    • We love creative ideas- but don’t bite off more than you can chew! If you have a huge idea, make Love Your Block a first step in the right direction and secure some other partners that can assist with your plans for the future.
  4. Engage neighbors
    • While your volunteers can come from anywhere, we’ve found that the most impactful projects utilize volunteers within close proximity to the project. People like to be a part of what’s happening next door, and are more likely to maintain and sustain the project afterward if they helped plan and implement it.

Projects & Ideas

Below are locations and descriptions of some past Love Your Block projects! 

If you are interested in volunteering with one of the projects below, call 412-255-4795 or email lex.janes@pittsburghpa.gov for information about the project stewards. 

Here are some project ideas from past grantees and other cities to help get your wheels turning! What type of change would make the greatest impact in your neighborhood? 

Past Projects:

  • Rain garden to mediate excess water
  • Veterans Memorial clean up and beautification
  • Pop up café in front of vacant storefront to attract potential business owners
  • High school students revitalized the school basketball courts, tennis courts, and baseball field by:
    • Repainting lines
    • Picking up litter
    • Fixing the bleachers
    • Planting flowers
    • Painting sidewalk art

Other Project Ideas or Components:

  • VFW post beautification
  • Storm water mitigation
    • Bioswales
    • Rain barrels
    • Retention basins
    • Rain gardens
  • Emergency Preparedness
    • Establishing a phone tree
    • Gathering and distributing 72 hour preparedness kits
    • Public information sessions
  • Outdoor classroom
    • Private property
  • Other community gathering space for picnics, small concerts, or local neighborhood events
    • Private property
  • Trail beautification or riverfront clean up
  • Park cleanup & revitalization
    • Weeding
    • Litter removal
    • Graffiti removal
    • Fence replacement/painting
  • Mural painting
    • Private property only
  • Social cohesion & personal well-being
    • Starting social groups
    • Certification trainings
    • Yoga or meditation classes
  • Safety/security lighting/improvements
    • Private property only
  • Energy or water conservation measures 
    • Low-flow sprinklers
    • Recycling bins
    • Motion detector lighting

Consider including a community engagement piece. Here are some creative ideas that past grantees have utilized:

  • Engage youth to paint flower pots that you fill with flowers and deliver to all of the residents on the street.
  • Go door-to-door and spread the word about the Love Your [Resilient] Block project or educate neighbors about some related component of the project.
  • Have a local community artist work to survey the neighborhood in a creative way or create graphic design materials to spread the word about your project.
  • Ask neighborhood volunteers to contribute $5 of matching funds toward the project or 2 flowers toward the garden.
  • Get tools for your event day from the neighborhood; or go one step further and consider starting a tool-share program in your community.
  • Have students write poetry about their Love Your [Resilient] Block project and then screen-print it for a community art showcase.
  • After the Love Your [Resilient] Block garden is complete, add it to an ongoing community garden tour.
  • Have a community resource table featuring neighborhood assets, ask local restaurants cater, or offer related activities for kids to do on your Love Your [Resilient] Block event day.
  • Add a competition, with a prize for the resident that does the best job sprucing up their front porch and front yard on or before event day
  • Make your project as “green” as possible by incorporating composting, efficient energy strategies, or water management

To be notified when the next round of Love Your [Resilient] Block grants are available:

Grant Info

Description of Program

The Love Your [Resilient] Block initiative invites organizations to submit project proposals that can transform their blocks with up to $1,500 and the support of City Departments. With these grant funds, winning groups can purchase supplies, engage their neighbors, and roll up their sleeves to build resilience their neighborhood – block by block! Projects may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Creating Green Spaces:  Community gardens, pocket parks, public spaces, or vacant lot cleanups
  2. Implementing Stormwater Capture:   Rain gardens, bioswales, green bump-outs, rain barrels
  3. Enhancing Parks:  Painting structures, creating garden beds, picnic areas, shrub / flower plantings
  4. Streetscaping:  Planting trees & flowers along curbs / entry-ways, sprucing up neighborhood signs
  5. Removing Graffiti and Litter:  Tire dumping, recycling waste, swapping graffiti for murals, etc.
  6. Sprucing up of Pathways:  Mulching / clearing overgrowth on trails, creating safe school walking routes
  7. Encouraging Emergency Preparedness:  Creating emergency kits, establishing phone trees, community cohesion plans, flood protection

This City of Pittsburgh initiative was initially developed as part of servePGH, the City’s high-impact service plan to engage citizen volunteers to tackle Pittsburgh’s greatest challenges. 

You can download the Grant Eligibility Requirements, Selection Process, Grant Reporting Requirements and Post-Grant Contest Guidelines below:

Grant Application

Please click the button below to fill out the Love Your [Resilient] Block 2017 Application.