How We’re Doing It

Neighborhood Organization Programs Relevant to Historic Little Italy The National Trust for Historic Preservation and its National Trust Main Street Center developed a comprehensive commercial district revitalization strategy (the Main Street program) that has been widely successfully in towns and cities nationwide. The State of Pennsylvania, through its New Communities Program, adopted a Main Street Program, and established an Elm Street Program and an Enterprise Zone Program to complete the package of new community development initiatives.

Pennsylvania’s Main Street program, which is coordinated through the PA Downtown Center, emphasizes four points which work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort. These include:

Organization  Promotion  Design  Economic Restructuring

In establishing the Elm Street component of its New Communities Program, the State integrated the Main Street downtown revitalization program with a neighborhood renewal strategy, and added a Clean, Safe, and Green element. The Elm Street program is designed to provide assistance and resources to those mixed-use and residential areas in proximity to central business districts, to further enhance the downtown area and to improve the viability of older neighborhoods.

Both the Main Street and the Elm Street programs incorporate volunteer support, leveraging of private dollars, strategic planning, rehabilitation and reuse of existing buildings, and streetscape improvements into a coordinated revitalization effort. The State provides a model approach for both programs, understanding that each community or neighborhood is unique and may vary slightly from the recommended approach. To be eligible for Main Street or Elm Street Program funds, communities need to closely follow the program guidelines.

Another popular approach to neighborhood revitalization is Blueprint Communities, which was launched byFHLBank of Pittsburgh and 16 funding program partners. Blueprint Communities initially involved 22 urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania during 2005. The program has since expanded to other states.

Blueprint Communities is designed to serve as a catalyst to revitalization by fostering strong local leadership and collaboration, focusing on planning and goal-setting strategies, and building local program capacity to sustain community growth. Its process is based on sound local and regional planning that includes a clear vision for the community or neighborhood, and provides a comprehensive implementation strategy. Blueprint Communities encourages coordinated investments in targeted neighborhoods by public and private funders.