"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success." Stephen A. Brennan
In 1999, Neighbors in the Strip (NITS) began to evolve from the inactive Strip Business Merchants Association. Recognizing a need for more than just business promotions, a group of Strip District stakeholders united their efforts to form an organization that would "promote economic development opportunities, while preserving the personality, integrity and character of the Strip."
To this end, funds were raised from businesses, government agencies
and foundations to initiate a Strip Neighborhood Improvement Study.
After four years, NITS has been enriched
The Strip had operated autonomously for years without City intervention. Over the past five years, NITS has been instrumental in working with the City to bring about basic services, including improved lighting, pedestrian crossings, an emergency response team and street cleaning.
The Strip's potential as an economic engine for the neighborhood, city and region is currently unrecognized by many. For example, in the year 2000, pre-development taxes on a property located at 45 26th Street were $1,334.82. Now in 2003, post-development taxes are $31,280.82.
Daily counts indicate that 22,406 cars enter the Strip and 24,800 individuals use Port Authority's services to get to the Strip. Currently, the Strip provides over 16,000 jobs and supports the grocery needs of approximately 37,929 households or 241,522 individuals in Lawrenceville, the Hill, Downtown and Northside.
Based on this along with the key findings of our various studies, research and the Strip District Vision, Neighbors in the Strip is now in an "action phase." As a result of the pro-active work of NITS's four mainstreet committees - Organization, Economic Restructuring/Design (combined) and Promotions, the key goals upon which NITS will focus its efforts will be strengthening the economic base of the Strip; creating an innovative program to market the unique characteristics of the Strip to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists and residents; and implementing a viable short- and long-term organizational funding plan that provides economic sustainability.
Perhaps Neighbors in the Strip's biggest contribution to the Pittsburgh Community is their ability to make connections and see the inter-weavings necessary to build a tapestry of neighborhoods. NITS supports and encourages area neighborhoods and their activities by including these activities in all nits-e-grams and website advertising/notices as well as actively seeking collaborative projects where all neighborhoods can benefit. One example of this collaboration is NITS's staff working with Tinsy Lipchek, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Cultural Tourism, to develop a weekend tour of the Strip and Northside that will be marketed to the Tri-state area - The Discover the Strip / Priory-Northside Getaway Weekend.
Some of our partners include:
From fundraising and development of a Neighborhood Improvement Plan to a reduction in crime of 14%, 10% and 9.2% in, 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively, to assistance in bringing nearly 50 new businesses and approximately 700 jobs to the area over the past four years, Neighbors in the Strip has been intricately involved effecting positive changes for Strip District residents, businesses, property owners, visitors and the Pittsburgh region.
We agree with Stephen Brennan's quote (at the