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STATUS: Design Phase
Community Background

The Beltzhoover neighborhood is located in Pittsburgh’s south hills and has the highest rate of home ownership in the city. As with many neighborhoods in western PA the area has been plagued by years of disinvestment by business and local government, the resulted of which is a large number of abandoned buildings and lots. The urban blight and safety issues stemming from the abandoned properties leads to lower property value and negatively impacts the neighborhood’s sense of community. 

The South Hilltop Men’s Group has been working to maintain vacant lots, clean and weather proof abounded structures, and generally reverse the years of disinvestment and neglect through educational, spiritual, and economic empowerment.  

Project Overview

The South Hilltop Men’s Group has started a project to take ownership of an abandoned building in the Beltzhoover neighborhood and transform it into a community space. The renovated building will include the following:


  • A greenhouse which will grow produce for the local community

  • Storage space for tools and equipment for use in local urban gardens

  • Space for local artist to work and showcase their work

  • Classroom space to allow groups to provide classes on urban gardening, green infrastructure and lead contamination in local soils

The new building will also utilize solar power and rain water reuse for the greenhouse to make the project as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.

The South Hilltop Men’s Group approached the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders to assist in the design and permitting of the project. The Pittsburgh Professional Chapter will be working through the Community Engineering Corps


December 2016

The South Hilltop Mens Group approaches EWB-PPC with a possible collaboration on a project in the Beltzhoover neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

May 2017

The project is formally approved by the EWB Community Engineering Corps.

Project Leads

Michael Elisco
Project Lead

Michael Elisco
Technical Lead

Joe Kudritz

Responsible Engineer in Charge (REIC)

Dennis Mialki

Technical Mentor

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