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The Larimer Consensus Group | Building on Past Growth to Envision an Exciting Future

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The Larimer Consensus Group formed in 2009 as an all-volunteer, community led organization that would serve as a strong voice for residents in decisions about development throughout the community. Now, ten years later, the group continues to empower Larimer residents to move into sustainable community and economic development via strong communication networks, partnerships, and an open participatory process.

In the summer of 2014, Larimer was awarded a highly competitive $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy for the community.

Up until 2014, the Larimer Consensus Group (LCG) operated as an un-staffed organization, capitalizing and relying on the guidance and capacity of strong local partners including the Kingsley Association, to help fulfill their mission. With the news of the Choice award, the LCG sought funding support and technical expertise from Neighborhood Allies to expand the organization’s capacity. IMG_5097In late 2014, the LCG was awarded a Catalytic Grant from Neighborhood Allies to create and support the organization’s first staff person–a full-time Neighborhood Improvement Specialist, who would be responsible for managing the immediate obligations related to the $30 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant (CNIG) while continuing to implement and activate the goals of the Vision Plan and advocate and represent the residents of Larimer.

Since then, the LCG has achieved great things, including obtaining their 501c3 status, attracting new funding to fuel their work, and becoming one of Pittsburgh’s first Registered Community Organizations (RCOs). As the LCG continues to work to be a voice for Larimer residents, the organization looks ahead to 2020 – a year sure to be packed with exciting new ideas!

“We want to move in a direction of not only building on bricks and mortar, but also focusing more intentionally on increasing the quality of life for people in our community.” – Donna Jackson, Board Chair.

As Board Chair, Larimer resident Donna Jackson has spent years working to create a healthy, vibrant community in her neighborhood. She says that her main focus now is to work with the right people to help to increase quality of life for Larimer residents. Among other things, this includes addressing public safety and crime concerns while also working to bolster communication between residents and law enforcement.

“It is so important to understand safety when developing a community. People want to feel safe and experience a low crime rate in their neighborhood.”

Goals for 2020 include working toward building generational wealth within the community.”We’ve addressed affordable housing,” said Donna. “Now, we need to work on establishing a market and building up the commercial corridor in order to generate wealth throughout the community.”

The LCG is also working with a consulting firm that is aiding them in developing resident leaders to serve as board members with the necessary skills for promoting the development of a viable community – a place where people feel comfortable living and raising their families.

“Above all, I want community members to voice their comments and concerns and allow us to navigate alongside them to reach a reasonable solution.”

Neighborhood Allies has been proud to have the Larimer Consensus Group as an ally and partner over the years. Their continued work to empower residents is inspiring and important as Larimer continues to develop and grow. We are honored to continue working alongside them into 2020!

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