Blight Bootcamp 2016

Blight Bootcamp 2016


October 7th and 8th (see agenda details below) 

PROPEL Hazelwood – 5401 Glenwood Ave

Blight Bootcamp is a two day event for residents to learn about resources and best practices to increase the impact of community-led blight elimination efforts in Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The first Blight Bootcamp took place on November 7th, 2015. The event was put together by the City of Pittsburgh, Neighborhood Allies, GTECH, PCRG, URA, and The Design Center Pittsburgh. Conference sessions highlighted work from around the city, including this years host neighborhood, Hazelwood. See below for more information on the conference and to view recording of the different events and sessions.

Session Descriptions

Please see the session descriptions below. Sessions have been divided into three themes: Land, Building, and People. Three sessions are available per theme, and each attendee will need to select one session per time slot.


These sessions are intended to provide both an overview as well as first hand experiences on land use and various greenspace projects. Sessions are designed to help prepare you to undertake and maintain your first (or next) greenspace project.

  Greenspace Projects from Start to Finish Attendees will be guided to the Lots to Love Platform for the identification of potential project sites and resources, the lessons learned from residents who have already implemented projects and next steps for taking action and new tools for sustaining their projects.


James Snow: GTECH Strategies

Linda Piso: GTECH ReClaim Ambassador

Applying for Adopt-A-Lot  This session will provide a thorough review of the Adopt-a-Lot Program, the new public process process to get permission to do projects on City-owned vacant land. Attendees will  hear first-hand accounts from a community group and a resident on how their experiences have been with the program.

Shelly Danko+Day: City Planning

Demi Kolke: Operation Better Block

Plant Identification and Maintenance Weeds, invasives and general plant care are always challenges in maintaining greenspace projects and gardens. Hear about best practices for managing your own garden, what progress is being made against the tougher invasive species in our region as well as native solutions for maintenance.

Tacumba Turner: Manchester Bidwell, GTECH Strategies

Lisa Coeffe: Department of Public Works


The conversation regarding vacancy encompasses both vacant land AND buildings. These sessions will focus on connecting residents with organizations for assistance in maintaining their own properties, public programs for keeping residents in their homes and city departments that can help to identify non-emergency and emergency code violations.

Who You Gonna Call?  It can be difficult for residents to understand who they should call to address non-emergency situations as well as identify whether a situation constitutes an emergency. This session will outline situational examples, identify appropriate contacts within the City for various issues and discuss new tools for addressing dangerous situations. Attendees should leave this session with knowledge on specific tools such as the MyBurgh App, 311 and the Nuisance Property Task Force.

Julianne Reiland: Department of Permits, Licensing, and Inspections

Wendy Urbanic: Pittsburgh 311/MyBurgh

Before It Comes Down  This session will provide attendees with information on programs that provide resources to stabilize properties before they become problems. The focus of this session will be on opportunities for keeping people in their homes and the importance of opening lines of communication between community organizations and residents.

Katie McAuley: Rebuilding Together

Sarah Slater: Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

Tim Dolan: Hilltop Alliance

DIY: Simple Steps to Maintaining Your Property  Cracking paint, squeaking banisters and loose floorboards. There are simple actions that can be taken by residents or small community groups to help neighbors and stabilize their properties and prevent blight. This session will highlight what some of those easy solutions are and programs with resources for getting help.

Rene Cuenca: Design Center

Louis Sturgess: Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation

Jeaneen Zappa: Conservation Consultants, Inc. 


This series discusses the power of community and how coming together can achieve great things. Topics to be covered in this theme include resident engagement, civic leadership, and financing tools available to residence for various projects.

The Power of Participation  This session will highlight the importance of showing up and fully preparing oneself to participate in community conversations in a positive manner. Attendees will hear about how Beltzhoover residents have organized to make positive change occur in their neighborhood as well as stories about their own experience and outcomes.

LaShawna Russ: Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

Renne Hayword: Beltzoover Resident

Blythe Stephens: Beltzoover Resident


Don’t Do It Alone Volunteers are essential to the success of a project.  In this session, residents will learn how to recruit, manage, host and communicate with volunteers. Resources will be shared on where and how to find good volunteers throughout the year as well as how to recruit in your own community.

Riley Baker: Pittsburgh Cares

Ayanna Davis: GTECH ReClaim Ambassador

Mission Continues

Janee Romesberg: Allegheny Cleanways

Finding the Funds to Make Things Happen This session will offer an overview of options for micro-fundraising for community projects including small grants programs, crowdfunding, and corporate sponsorship. Attendees will walk away with information regarding specific programs and techniques for fundraising.

Shad Henderson: Neighborhood Allies

Josh Lucas: Work Hard Pittsburgh 

The Pittsburgh Blight Bootcamp was made possible by the members of the Pittsburgh Blight Working Group:


The Pittsburgh Blight Working Working Group thanks our sponsor:

GTECH logo
Neighborhood Allies
URA, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Loveland Technologies
Hillman Foundation
Blight Bootcamp 2016 volunteers