2012-2013 Community Education Series

"What's next for our community? And how do we take these visions and make them into reality?"


The Greater Hill District Master plan is complete. During the planning process, community members discussed and laid out several  goals and ideas. Together, Hill residents and stakeholders formed a community vision for the future of our neighborhood.

The Consensus Group presents "A Community Education Series," a series of interactive workshops designed to educate and engage our community in the process of community development. As the community moves forward with the Master Plan, the Consensus Group invites all community residents and stakeholders to join us for guest speakers, activities, and frank discussion.

Food and refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are requested -- info@hdcg.org or 412-697-4692.    

The Greater Hill District Master Plan is available at www.greaterhilldistrictmasterplan.org



“Development without Displacement”

Monday, November 12th, 2012 – 6-8pm

Thelma Lovette YMCA, Meeting Room, 2114 Centre Ave


“Development by whom… and for whom?” This workshop aims to help residents and developers understand the benefits of development without displacement.


Gentrification and displacement occur when new development does not consider the needs of existing residents.  Long-time homeowners may lose their homes due to increased property taxes, stepped-up code enforcement, or the inability to resolve tax or mortgage delinquencies. Long-time tenants may be forcibly uprooted to make way for development or may be faced with unaffordable rent increases. These changes can harm families, aggravate social ills, erode a neighborhood’s cultural character and perpetuate racial disparities in wealth and opportunity.  But it is possible to minimize gentrification and displacement through careful planning.

Featured Speakers:

Robert Damewood, Development Services Attorney for Regional Housing Legal Services, will discuss the causes of displacement, the policy implications of failing to address the issue, and examples of displacement-free development strategies that other neighborhoods have used.  Contact at 412-201-4301 or robert.damewood@rhls.org


Ronell Guy, Executive Director of the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, will discuss a unique partnership between a Section 8 resident council and their property management company that has turned around a troubled Section 8 property, made it into a valuable community asset, and improved management efficiency. Contact at 412-321-5527 or ronell@northsidetenants.org


Cheryl Brooks Maxwell Hurt, President of the Community Economic Development Corporation of Clairton, will discuss the award winning Clairton Southside revitalization, a comprehensive revitalization of a severely distressed neighborhood that benefitted existing residents through affordable lease-purchase and homeownership opportunities, home repair grants, and other homeowner support.

Presentation: Click here for PowerPoint Presentation



“Open Space”

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 – 6-8pm

Hill House, Conference Room A, 1835 Centre Ave


This workshop will highlight strategies & resources for reclaiming, beautifying, and re-purposing vacant land.

In addition, the workshop will also introduce the Open Space Neighborhood Advisory Panel (OSNAP), which is a joint effort of the Mayor’s Office, the Department of City Planning, City Real Estate, and the URA, to assist in the improvement of existing open space throughout the city of Pittsburgh. In response to a variety of issues facing the city including a much diminished population, stormwater management issues, and the benefits of high quality open space on neighborhoods, this team was assembled to assist, evaluate, and facilitate open space projects taking place on City and URA owned properties.

Featured Speaker: Karen Abrams is the Community Affairs Specialist for the Urban Redevelopment Authority. She is also the coordinator for OSNAP. Karen also serves on the Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy steering committee, GTECH Partners board, Uptown Partners board member, Member of Larimer Green Team, is a resident of the Hill District, and is originally from Harlem, NYC. Contact at 412-255-6425 or kabrams@ura.org

URA Website: www.ura.org
Open Space Neighborhood Advisory Panel (OSNAP): Click here to learn more


“Bringing Community Back into Community Development”

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 – 6-8pm

Hill House, Conference Room A, 1835 Centre Ave


What is community development? How can community members participate in community development? How do we keep new development accountable to the interests of the community?

Featured Speaker: Matthew Hawkins, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
This workshop will focus on the topic of 'Community Development'. Our workshop leaders will lead a discussion on best practices in community development and examples from other cities and neighborhoods.



“Bringing Vacant Housing Back to Life”

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 – 6-8pm

Hill House, Conference Room A, 1835 Centre Ave


What does it take to remodel a vacant home? This workshop will focus on the issue of bringing vacant housing back to life. Our workshop leaders are both working on a Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy for the Hill District. They will cover the basics of revitalizing vacant housing, provide some available resources, and help answer any questions you may have about the process. This will be more of an informal discussion, so please come with questions!

Featured Speakers:

Kendall Pelling, Project Manager, East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI)

Earl Hord Jr., Home rehabilitation expert and longtime Hill resident 

Key Resources:

Look up property information: Click here for the Allegheny County Real Estate Assessments

Check the legal status of property: Click here for the Department of Court Records Civil/Family Division and go to Civil Docket Access

ELDI Website: www.eastliberty.org

"Home Renovation"
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Hill House Association, Conference Room A, 1835 Centre Ave

In this workshop, Design Center professionals will be leading a workshop on home renovation. The Design Center is a nonprofit organization that has been improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by encouraging good design and planning of the built environment for more than 40 years.


The session will include:

  • an overview of Design Center programs & services
  • a discussion of specific renovation topics
  • an open question & answer session

Featured speakers:

Cate Rassman, Community Programs Coordinator

Contact at 412-391-4144 x24 or clrassman@designcenterpgh.org

Thor Erickson, Programs Manager

Contact at 412-391-4144 x33 or terickson@designcenterpgh.org

Special thanks goes out to the Design Center professionals who are sharing their time and expertise with the community.

Presentation: Click here for PowerPoint Presentation
Workshop Handouts: Click here

Website: www.DesignCenterPGH.org

"Business Resources"

Monday, April 1, 2013 from 6-8pm

Hill House Association, Conference Room A, 1835 Centre Ave


This workshop will focus on programs and resources to help start and support local businesses. Quianna Wasler and Rochelle Lillien will talk about programs available from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Richard Newell and De Anna Vaughn will be available to talk about banking resources available from PNC Bank.

ROCHELLE LILIEN is a Loan Officer/Senior Business Development
Specialist with the URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF PITTSBURGH (URA) since June 1998, working with business owners and real estate developers to assist them in obtaining financing to start up or expand their businesses.

Experience to date includes work on a wide array of projects such as real estate development, high technology, manufacturing, health care, leasing, supermarkets, HVAC contracting, restaurant development, telecommunications, numerous retail, and service organizations.

Prior to the URA, Ms. Lilien held various positions in banking since 1986. She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration (1997) from  ROBERT MORRIS  UNIVERSITY; Pittsburgh, PA and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Business (1985); UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH; Pittsburgh, PA.  She has certifications from National Development Council (2001).
Contact at 412-255-6553 or rlilien@ura.org

QUIANNA WASLER is a Mainstreets Development Specialist with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) and has been with the URA since 2006.  The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, committed to creating jobs, expanding the City's tax base and improving the vitality of businesses and neighborhoods. As a Mainstreets Development Specialist, Ms. Wasler manages the URA's five façade renovation grant and loan programs, Downtown Life Safety Program, and the Best Fit Program in which she works extensively with business owners, real estate developers, and homeowners.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Carlow University; Pittsburgh, PA (2010). Contact at 412-255-6550 or qwasler@ura.org

Richard Newell

Assistant Vice President of Business Banking



De Anna Vaughn

Mortgage Loan Officer



Presentation: Click here for the URA PowerPoint Presentation

URA Website: www.ura.org

PNC Bank Websites: www.pnc.com and www.pncmortgage.com



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, 1835 Centre Avenue
Suite #130, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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