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Brookline First to Receive New Grant

Brookline is the first community to receive a new grant focused on small business districts.

A new grant will help Pittsburgh neighborhoods support their business districts, and Brookline is the first to receive it.

The “Biz Buzz” program, funded by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, is a small-grant program that will fund marketing projects and other activities designed to attract people to the city’s small-business districts.

City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl presented the grant award to the Brookline Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon, in front of on Brookline Boulevard.

“Our hope is to point to success stories in these communities, and then hopefully expand the program,” Ravenstahl said after the presentation. “This isn’t a large sum of money, but it is important to these communities. It shows them that we’re here to support them, too.”

Brookline applied for and received a $2,500 grant, which will be used to support a local shopping program dubbed “Because You’re Mine, I Shop the Line.” The shopper-reward program utilizes “Boulevard Bucks” to encourage people to shop on Brookline Boulevard.

Grants up to $7,000 are available.

Citywide Main Street Coordinator Josette Fitzgibbons said the URA created the grant to give communities like Brookline the opportunity to start a revitalization project that can be done by volunteers, and have a quick and positive impact.

Fitzgibbons said the URA is giving the communities a lot of freedom to be creative with the grants. Grant money could be used for a specific event, a campaign such as Shop the Line, beautification projects or any number of other things.

“We’re leaving a lot up to the business districts and the communities,” she said. “We’re really looking for the creativity, and to start a conversation about things that could be done.”

The purpose, she said, is to do something that will create a “buzz” in the community, and highlight what makes the community unique.

Brookline is just the first of many to hopefully receive the grant, she said. Fitzgibbons said she expects seven or eight communities will benefit from the first run of the program.

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Gary August 02, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I've heard about this program. Not really sure what it's supposed to do. But I'd have to repeat what the mayor said, It's not much money.
Erin Faulk August 02, 2012 at 06:38 PM
The program is designed to encourage people to shop in their local communities - in this case, to encourage Brookline residents to keep the business district alive and lucrative by shopping on Brookline Boulevard. As the organizers said, the hope is that this initiative will continue to encourage shopping on the Boulevard, even through next year, when construction in the area could make it difficult for local business owners to stay open. It's true that it's not a ton of money, but the amount awarded is the amount the community requested. This is a small-grant program. It's been increasingly difficult for communities and local organizations to get grant money from anywhere in the past few years, and the impression I got from yesterday's event is that the Chamber was pleased this opportunity is available to them.
Joyce August 02, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Think it's a great idea, and would love to see something like the PittsburghMarket go there. I for one would open my business there!

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