10,000 Friends of PA Continues South Side Revitalization Program in New Castle

March 28, 2019


New Castle, PA (March 2019) – 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania kicked off the second year of its $1.35 million revitalization program in New Castle’s South Side neighborhood on Monday, March 18, 2018 at the Gussie Walker Community Center with investors, public officials, neighborhood organizations, residents and business owners in attendance.

The partners working in collaboration with 10,000 Friends to implement the neighborhood improvement plan over 6 years are the City of New Castle, Gussie Walker Community Center, Lawrence County Land Bank, Lawrence County Community Action Program, UPMC Jameson Hospital and the South Side Business Association.

At the kickoff, 10,000 Friends presented a check for $25,000 to the Walker House for its youth programs, including summer camp and community gardens.

In the program’s first year the collaboration positively impacted the neighborhood by eliminating blight, lead abatement and rehabilitating homes, promoting the business district, expanding the programs of Gussie Walker Community Outreach Center and increasing urban green space in community gardens, and the completion of the Earl A. "Muff" Sallie Field playground.

The plan for this year includes promoting the County Land Bank’s Side Yard program to offer newly vacant lots at minimal cost to neighbors to expand their yards and green space, completing a market study of New Castle’s long-term planning efforts and expanding the summer youth program at the Walker Community Center.

“We’re encouraged by the progress of our collective efforts in the first year, and excited for new partnerships and plans for growth in the neighborhood this year,” states 10,000 Friends CEO, Stacie Reidenbaugh. “The side yard program is a great opportunity for neighbors to expand their property and green space, and the market study will create an important foundation for the city and the neighborhood’s growth for years to come.”

The program is generously funded by UPMC Health Plan, First National Bank, and First Commonwealth Bank, which have collectively committed investments of $1.35 million to the South Side over six years through the Commonwealth Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Partnership Program. First Commonwealth Bank presented 10,000 Friends with a check for $50,000 at the kickoff event.

Dana Scarpino, representing UPMC Health Plan, noted that the provider is already seeing results that make it proud to be an investor in the initiative.

“We’ve already seen in the first year of this program more affordable and stable housing, improved and safer recreational green space for children, blight remediation. We believe all these things and more tie into what a good, healthy and vibrant community should be.”

The Neighborhood Partnership Program, part of DCED's Neighborhood Assistance Program, develops a long-term strategic plan for a specific neighborhood and focuses on assisting distressed and low-income areas by promoting community participation and collaborations among nonprofits, businesses and residents. It is funded by business commitments over six years and provides state tax credits to partners who invest significant funds in the program.

See an interview with President & CEO, Stacie Reidenbaugh about the project

See KDKA Pittsburgh's article about the project