Photo by Matt Robison.

A nonprofit group that plans to open a center for at-risk children in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood is getting a $100,000 grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) to help pay for renovation costs.

The award to the Northside Partnership Project was one of 18 grants worth a total of $850,000 that were awarded to nonprofit agencies through the URA’s Neighborhood Initiatives Fund.

The Northside Partnership will use the money to repair the heating plant at the former McNaugher School in Perry South. The URA also awarded $100,000 grants to the Hazelwood Initiative and to Bible Center Church for improvements to its community kitchen.

“The Northside Partnership actually purchased a closed school from Pittsburgh Public’s closed school portfolio,” says Susheela Nemani-Stanger, director of the URA’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

“The location is perfect to serve their at-risk youth population. But the building needed so much work. Unfortunately, closed schools do not qualify for a lot of state funding programs. This is going to help them stabilize their building. It’s a historic building, and it will help them upgrade the heating system,” Nemani-Stanger says.

Grant awards were based on geographic diversity and on projects that could be completed within a year.

“The criteria for the grants was to identify projects that could help unlock the economic and place-making potential within neighborhoods,” says Nemani-Stanger. “Something that had a vision to action, a community investment strategy that helps build an equitable Pittsburgh and has a positive impact for the most amount of people, really.

“That can be somewhat difficult,” says Nemani-Stanger. “That’s why we’re planning a second round. We know there were projects that were not ready, and we encourage them to stay tuned and stay in touch for subsequent rounds — so when their project is ready to go in a second 12-month period, they could be ready.”

The next round of projects will be selected in the spring.

The URA continues to work with each nonprofit after the money is awarded.

“Every grant recipient also has an economic development staff member who will remain on the project with them, to provide any technical assistance needed,” says Nemani-Stanger.

Other grant awards include:

• Pittsburgh Musical Theater: $94,360 for its historic building
• Brookline Together: $19,995 for a community apiary and garden
• Bloomfield Development Corp.: $20,000 for streetscape improvements
• Grow Pittsburgh: $18,000 for the East Commons Community Garden at Allegheny
Commons Park
• Union Project: $78,000 for the building’s front plaza and stairs
• Manchester Citizens Corp.: $50,000 for the Juniata Street Green Project
• ACH Clear Pathways: $80,000 for the ACH Clear Pathways Arts Center
• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: $15,694 for Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Community Gardens updates
• Northside Leadership Conference: $5,000 to expand the We Like Bikes! Bicycle rack program
• Mount Washington Community Development Corp., $20,000 for the Wyoming/Virginia/Southern Intersection Redevelopment Planning Project
• Elizabeth Seton Center: $83,333 for a roof replacement
• Project Love Coalition: $15,800 for the Agri-Green Space and Learning Garden
• Point Breeze North Development Corp.:$20,000 for Westinghouse Park planning
• Landforce: $19,818 for the South Side Park Accessible Trail Loop
• Nine Mile Run Watershed: $10,000 for Rosedale/Hill Neighborhood Gateway
Association Improvements

Application information for the next round of grants can be found here.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.