There’s a quiet hum rising in Larimer and it’s beginning to sound like an overture for urban redevelopment.
This community of one-square mile, known as the Little Italy of Pittsburgh in the 1960s, has been on a downward spiral for the last 30 years, a victim of blight and decay that has led to a loss of residents (1,744 today) and businesses. Nearly a quarter of the housing in Larimer now stands vacant.
But change is underway thanks in large part to the work of local neighborhood organizations that have worked tirelessly with city leaders, businesses and nonprofits to turn the neighborhood around. Tax-abatements in progress are helping families remodel their homes. Other funding is assisting with the development and construction of affordable housing and improving vacant lots.
In 2015, Larimer landed a sought-after $30 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant from HUD that will put the wheels of change into further motion. The grant will be used to construct housing to advance the Larimer Vision Plan, a neighborhood design for a greener, more sustainable future for all residents.
Of the total, $21 million will go to replace 156 apartment units in the Hamilton-Larimer HUD complex and the HUD subsidized East Liberty Gardens. The city and Mayor Bill Peduto in addition to the housing authority, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and PennDOT, promise further funding.
The community’s stated goal is to restore the neighborhood and make it a safe and sustainable place for families to work, live and play. Home to GTECH and the Kingsley Association, and with a great location east of downtown and close to the Pittsburgh Zoo and playgrounds, Larimer could finally be on its way.
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