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Pittsburgh’s Inaugural Blight Bootcamp Kicks Off to a Huge Success!

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On Saturday, November 7th, more than 100 participants packed the Schenley Ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel in Oakland to learn how to take a proactive approach to fighting blight in their neighborhoods.

2015-11 Blight Bootcamp group_edited

The Blight Bootcamp is a first-of-its kind, collaborative effort of Neighborhood Allies, the Mayor’s Office, GTECH, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG) and the Design Center of Pittsburgh to bring together residents, community organizations and public officials for a day of learning and networking to increase the impact of blight elimination efforts within our neighborhoods.

Blight Bootcamp One Pager

The day started with a morning motivational keynote address from Presley Gillespie, President of Neighborhood Allies. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Henry Pyatt from the Office Mayor William Peduto, which emphasized the importance of community and government partnerships to fight blight. Panelists included: Maura Kennedy, Director of Pittsburgh’s Department of Permits, Licensing and Inspection; Irene McLaughlin, Attorney at Law; Ian Beniston, Executive Director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation; and Liz Kozub of the Turtle Creek Council of Governments.

2015-11 Blight Bootcamp YNDC

Throughout the day, attendees participated in a range of workshops taught by leading field experts on topics such as: Planning Your Vacant Lot Project, Resident Led Advocacy, Community Arts to Fight Blight, Data Driven Decision Making, and Green Space Solutions, just to name a few. Individuals also received specialized attention to their specific blight problems through our Blight Doctor Consultation Sessions.

2015-11 Blight Bootcamp panel

The afternoon keynote address was delivered by Ian Beniston, who provided a powerful, passionate plea to residents, calling on them to work with the resources they have now to revitalize their neighborhoods for a better tomorrow. The keynote address was capped with dynamic performances by Jacquea Mae and Devyn “Nerd Boy” Swain.2015-11 Blight Bootcamp volunteers

Special thanks to all of our volunteers, especially our Coro Fellows!

Please share your blight fighting stories and pictures with us by using the hashtag #PghFightsBlight when tweeting.

Visit our facebook page to see all of the photos from the event!

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