Dear Community Partners,

Our neighborhood has seen both the negative effects of fragmentation and the great success of consensus building. We have learned the only way to fight the uphill battle of rebuilding a broken residential community and commercial district is to leverage the ideas, connections and momentum of many people and groups.

Our best example of this collaboration began 10 years ago and is currently being updated with the East Liberty Community Plan. These documents serve the purpose of capturing the neighborhood’s collective vision and instilling confidence throughout the community, stakeholders, investors and developers by encouraging everyone to take ownership in our community’s future. The process of organizing and coordinating over 60 community meetings, facilitating sensitive community discussions, and taking hundreds of pages of notes was a challenging, but completely necessary undertaking. The first community plan set the course for a decade of positive developments, and planning for its update has engaged new stakeholders and invigorated longtime residents and business owners. Without the momentum created by community planning, East Liberty would never have begun its return to a thriving business and residential destination.

The exciting buzz around East Liberty and within our organization has not happened in isolation. In partnership with our neighboring Community Development Corporations, we have worked diligently together to highlight the entire East End as a strong market. We hope to make people within the City of Pittsburgh and beyond understand that the East End is a place to live, work, shop and play. People can enjoy a night on the town with a cultural dinner in East Liberty, boutique shopping in Lawrenceville and an art opening in the Penn Avenue Arts District.

By working with our surrounding communities of Shadyside, Highland Park, Garfield, Friendship, Lawrenceville, Larimer and their Community Development Corporations, we have collectively marketed our assets and strengthened the area as a whole. The creation of the East End Partnership through the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development came from an understanding that communities who are competing for local and national development dollars are stronger when they are collaborating with their neighbors and thinking in innovative ways. The East End Sustainability Project, supported by the Heinz Endowments, is funding groundbreaking ways to bring green development to our area. With plans to reduce water run-off and invest in community gardening and tree planting, we are hoping to set the pace for Pittsburgh’s shift to healthier, more environmentally-friendly living.

The best lesson we have learned as a neighborhood and organization from the past decade of development is that even the best projects or initiatives will fail if developed in a vacuum or pushed along without neighborhood input. We at ELDI learn more every day and strive to be the best community partners and neighbors to East Liberty.

We thank you for your interest in our organization.