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Joint effort could fight blight in Sharpsburg

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

Sharpsburg soon could get help in its fight against blight in the borough.

The Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone (ARTEZ) and the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group are teaming up for a one-year partnership that would focus on housing issues in the borough.

The two organizations plan to share a community program manager for Sharpsburg.

“That person will focus on housing-related issues and main street development,” Iris Whitworth, executive director of ARTEZ, said.

Whitworth said that person would be based in the ARTEZ office in Millvale and have a daily presence in the borough.

“We would work that out as part of the partnership,” Whitworth said.

The work in Sharpsburg would be an expansion of Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group's Imagining Communities program. The group previously has done work in the West End and South Hills areas.

The two organizations are applying for grant money to fund the position. Whitworth said the reinvestment group has done similar work before.

“We're pretty confident,” Whitworth said of grant money being secured.

If funding is received, the manager will help residents with mortgage issues and rehabilitation lending to maintain their homes. Councilman Matthew Rudzki said it would help with housing issues in the borough.

“It's a great tool for us to help improve our housing stock, to serve our residents, financing help, they offer mortgage help. It should be a big benefit to us,” Rudzki said.

Whitworth said the program would be a benefit for the community. A person will be selected for the position after funding is secured, she said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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