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Vandergrift Main Street Gets Lift

by Shaun Yurcaba
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
September 8, 2008

Sen. Jim Ferlo announced today a $35,000 grant to assist the Vandergrift Main Street program.  This grant will be added to the Restoration Revolving Fund, which was created in 2006 to bring new life to downtown Vandergrift and to restore its distinctive buildings.  The Revolving Fund was initially capitalized with a $300,000 grant from the Allegheny Foundation, a charitable entity of Richard M. Scaife.

In addition, the Vandergrift Improvement Program (VIP), Inc., a non-profit organization, announced the acquisition of two new buildings in the heart of downtown Vandergrift, and the restoration of a third building, all utilizing the original Scaife grant to establish the Revolving Fund.

“The VIP is using the Restoration Revolving Fund  so effectively that I am very pleased to add additional state resources to it for further leverage,” said Sen. Ferlo.

143 Grant Ave:  The VIP purchased 143 Grant Ave. in 2007 and has completed a complete masonry and storefront restoration of the facade.  The roof has been replaced.  The VIP is in negotiations with a tenant who plans to open a bakery and yoga studio on the first floor and live above in the second floor residential unit.

139/141 Grant Ave:  The VIP has just secured 139-141 Grant Avenue.  The roof, which had been severely compromised, has already been replaced.  The VIP is also upgrading the electrical system and plans to fully restore the facade.  Long term plans include renovating the 5 second floor apartments, which are uninhabitable.

134 Grant Ave:  The VIP also just secured 134 Grant Avenue (the former JC Penny’s Building).  The VIP has cleared the building of debris and is working on a long term plan to locate a Community Art Center and a small business incubator in this space.

According to Meade Jack, President of the VIP, downtown Vandergrift has reached a tipping point.  “We have invested a lot of time and hard work in this effort.  But it’s been well worth it.  The seeds we’ve planted the last several years are now starting to bear fruit.  We have a long way to go but we are on the right track,” Jack said.  “We are demonstrating that there is still plenty of life in Pennsylvania’s small towns.”

The VIP began in 2003 with a grant from Sen. Ferlo and received DCED Main Street designation in 2006.  The main street program is in year three and is being managed in partnership with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF). 



Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633