May 1996 Hill District Community Plan

The Hill District is a community with rich, vibrant people and history. The community has many resources and the potential to develop significantly. These resources include a strong connection to the Jazz industry, the advantage of being one of the major centers for African American Culture in the tri-state region, a prestigious topographic location between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland with spectacular views of the entire city and a series of active visionary human resources.

The Hill District is faced with many challenges. Although once a major hub of African American culture, the Hill District has been adversely affected by Urban Renewal and the riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Little business has survived and much of the housing stock is old and in poor condition. Unemployment and under education are severe problems. Teenage and out-of-wedlock births, as well as infant mortality rates, are distressingly high. The population, as in the entire region, is decreasing. In addition, the Hill District must change a city-wide misconception of being dangerous, drug infested and preclusive.

These challenges can be overcome. The Hill District Consensus Group came together to coordinate the efforts of the Hill District’s agencies and residents to make the best with the area’s resources. Social Service and Development agencies have been attempting to curtail these trends for many years. However, in the past many of these agencies have worked independently. This phenomena has worked to the disadvantage of the Hill District, spreading financial and human resources thin.

As a planning body, the Hill District Consensus Group has compiled this Community Plan. It is important for every community to have a comprehensive and organized plan to approach its physical, economic and social development. A community plan is a document that states the basic goals, objectives and policies that will guide the future development of the community. It is a factual report that examines how the past has lead to the present, and what needs to be done to lead the community into a planned future. Thus, the policies, goals and objectives outlined in this Community Plan will serve as the blueprints for any housing, transportation, community facilities and services to be developed in the area.

A Community Plan is needed so that all on-going and daily decisions on everything, from locating a new housing development to opening a store, widen a street, set-up a drug and alcohol awareness program to locating a new health care center, are followed in an integrated and compatible fashion. When this type of planning process takes place, it is necessary for it to be done in an orderly fashion. This Community Plan has been developed based on a series of surveys, data collection, analysis and projections, problem identification and evaluation of the outcomes presented by the Hill District community’s goals and objectives.


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