UPDATE: Adds cost for the borough.
has been selected to participate in an economic development program that will provide planning assistance to help improve its business districts.
“This is a great opportunity for the borough of Dormont and the business district,” borough Manager Gino Rizza said of the Allegheny Together program.
The five-year program will provide the borough with architects, real estate experts, community planners, community development specialists and project managers, according to a news release from the borough.
The program provides matching grants and low-cost financing for improvement projects such as façade enhancements, streetscaping, business signage, awnings, and architectural lighting.
Dormont must contribute $32,500 spread out in years two through five, but Rizza said the cost is “pennies on the dollar” compared to the value, which in the first year alone is about $50,000.
Rizza touted Dormont’s walkability and easy access to buses and the T, saying those attributes benefit existing businesses and residents and could be used to attract new ones.
“Dormont has some empty storefronts. We have to get those filled,” he said.
Rizza credited Dennis Davin, director of Allegheny County Economic Development, and his entire staff for “acknowledging that our community is moving in the right direction.”
“The county has the confidence in the management of Dormont to make this a success,” he said.
“Neighborhood business districts are the economic backbone of communities throughout the county, and Allegheny Together is designed to help municipalities develop a vision and plan to improve their business districts and make them thrive,” Onorato said in a release. “By helping our traditional business districts succeed, we can attract additional investment and jobs to Allegheny County.”
Besides Dormont, Carnegie has also been selected to participate in the program this year. Tarentum, Swissvale, Bridgeville and several other communities are already in the program, which started in 2007.
“Our business district has a lot of potential and this will help us capitalize on that. We do have some challenges, and we need this kind of guidance to direct us toward where we want to go,” said Ian McMeans, assistant borough manager. “If you look at the other communities in the program, their business districts have a sense of uniformity and consistency — that’s what we want to develop here in Dormont.”