2011 Award Winners

Community Development Awards


Clairton Southside Revitalization


Clairton’s Southside neighborhood revitalization initiative began when the Sanders Task Force, a project of Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED), asked the residents of the Millvue Acres public housing community what improvements they would like to see to their living situations.  The Sanders Task Force then approached the Community Economic Development Corporation of Clairton (CEDCC) with an offer to finance a comprehensive revitalization.

CEDCC partnered with Falbo-Pennrose to construct 44 affordable lease-purchase townhouses and 23 for sale homes.  The CEDCC also took over marketing of the for-sale homes and was able to sell all 23 within an 11 month period.  The CEDCC coordinated the acquisition of nearly all vacant property (over 120 vacant parcels) by ACED and partnered with Mistick Construction Company and Steel Valley Technical School to create on-the job training for 17 residents, 8 of whom are still employed in building trades
2 years later. The CEDCC’s achievement in the Clairton Southside Revitalization is all the more impressive considering they are a grassroots organization of volunteers with only one paid staff member.

South Hills Retirement Residence


The construction of South Hills Retirement Residence is a testament to the effect that coordinated partnerships can have on efforts to redevelop and reuse vacant property.  The building that formerly housed South Hills High School has sat vacant since
1985.   However, a partnership between a.m. Rodriguez Associates, Sota Construction, the Pittsburgh Board of Education, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, PA Housing Finance Authority, Mount Washington CDC, and many others turned this long vacant property into Mount Washington’s first LEED green building featuring  106 apartments for senior citizens.

As of April 2011, 92 of the 106 units have been filled, with only 3 people transferring from the immediate Mount Washington neighborhood.  Also important is the location of this development in an LMI census tract, by restoring a large, vacant building to productive use, the South Hills Retirement Residence reduces the risk of potential crime and helps to stabilize the neighborhood.

Founders Award

Ralph Papa, Citizens Bank

                         RALPH PAPA

                         RALPH PAPA

Ralph J. Papa is Chairman of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, with market responsibility for all of western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Erie and State College.

Papa is also a member of Citizens Financial Group’s Executive Leadership Group, and Citizens Financial Group, Inc.’s senior leadership team.

Papa joined CFG in 2001 after it purchased the retail, small business and certain middle market banking operations of Mellon Financial Corporation. Prior to joining CFG, Papa was President of Mellon Bank’s Western Region in Pittsburgh and Chairman of Mellon Bank N.A. – Central Region in State College. He joined Mellon in 1969 as a management trainee and held a wide range of senior management positions during his tenure, including senior vice president, community banking.

Papa received a bachelor’s degree in social science/psychology from Penn State University in 1969. He is a 1983 graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University. Papa has a history of service at his alma mater; he was named an alumni fellow in 1990 and helped lead the committee that raised more than $20 million in private funds to build the Bryce Jordan Center. He was named Penn State’s Renaissance Man of the Year 2000 in recognition of his many years of leadership and support of numerous community, business and educational organizations.

In 2002, Papa received the CEO Communicator of the Year Award by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and was named Vector’s 2002 Man of the Year for Finance. Among many awards received in recent years for his community work and achievements, Papa in 2005 received B’nai B’rith’s International Community Achievement Award and the Amen Corner Fred E. Obley Award for business leadership and excellence. In 2007, Papa was named by the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame as The Man of the Year, and was recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times with the Diamond Award as one of the top 10 business leaders in Pittsburgh. Papa received the Penn State University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the Variety Children’s Charity 2009 Humanitarian Award. In 2010, Papa was the recipient of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund Champions for Children award.

Ralph serves on the boards of Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Duquesne Club. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Senator John Heinz History Center. He also serves on the Special Olympics’ executive committee and is an immediate past chairman of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.

Papa has been involved in numerous organizations throughout central Pennsylvania, including chairmanship of the Centre Chamber of Business and of the Whittaker Center in Harrisburg, and as a Penn State Harrisburg advisory board member.

Columbus Square


The former American Electric Facility in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Manchester has been vacant for over two decades.  Nearly 7 years ago, the Manchester Neighborhood Transformation Initiative targeted this parcel of over 4 acres of vacant land for redevelopment. The new residences provide an attractive housing option for individuals employed nearby at Allegheny General Hospital, CCAC’s Allegheny campus and the U.S. Postal Service’s North Side operation.

A partnership between the Manchester Citizens Corporation and Fourth River Development LLC has created a redevelopment plan that will produce 31 new residences in a long-vacant industrial brownfield. Construction of the first five residences began in April, and four of the five will be available for occupancy by late summer.  The remaining unit will serve as a model to spur future home sales. The new residences will expand the existing tax base for the neighborhood of Manchester while construction of the units will produce approximately 150 jobs over the next four years.

Larimer Vision Plan


Larimer is a relatively small, but highly distressed neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End. Like many low income neighborhoods, in Pittsburgh and throughout the country, Larimer faces high vacancy, a shrinking population, historic disinvestment and many other common problems.

In an effort to counter the current trends in Larimer and recreate the neighborhood for the next generation, the Larimer Consensus Group in collaboration with a multitude of stakeholders came together to create the Larimer Vision Plan.  “A house for a house” is the motto of the Plan, meaning no one should be forced to leave their homes and those who choose to leave a home, but stay in the neighborhood, should receive a home in return. The Larimer Vision Plan will consolidate new residential development in the community core and along the border of a new community park.  This development pattern will create a smaller, stronger, more centralized community and the new park will create a city-wide and regional destination.

Neighborhood Leader Award in Memory of Bob O’Connor

James Simon


Uptown resident and artist James Simon has been pivotal in his contribution to the Uptown community’s evolution. In 2007, as a volunteer, James helped incorporate Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh, working closely with the Duquesne University Law Clinic, and the community, and became a founding UP board member. He has served on greening, arts and housing and economic development committees, was the UP Board Secretary and is now Co-President. He has served on the Uptown Vision Plan team, worked with Leadership Pittsburgh on our first community festival in 2009, and has volunteered to plan and help implement it since…even volunteering to design the street festival brand. He inspired the Pittsburgh Association for the Deaf (PAD), a decades old social club on the corner of his block, to join the event. For the first time, PAD opened its doors to the community to host poetry readings and sell food on the street. James also donated hours of his time and energy on photo production for our first website, www.uptownpartners.org.

To increase our street tree canopy, James became a volunteer certified Tree Tender, applied to TreeVitalize and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for street trees and worked alongside 60+ Duquesne students to plant our first trees. James passionately believes in the power of art to transform neighborhoods. Over many years he has enlivened our streetscape with sculpture and public art. As a volunteer, James initiated thevArt on Gist Street movement, a unique, growing outdoor ‘gallery’ of public art, with participation of other Uptown artists, which has become somewhat of an off-beat destination venue. He applied for two Sprout Fund murals for Uptown, including a vibrant centerpiece on Miryam’s/Bethlehem Haven building. For 10 years James freely opened his sculpture studio for the immensely successful monthly Gist Street Readings, which has brought thousands of visitors of all backgrounds into our community. (Approximately enthusiasts attended the sold-out readings each month.)Without compensation James continues to bring together lively crowds to his Uptown studio to enjoy folk, classical, jazz and other musical genres, Flamenco and Mid-Eastern dancing, and other art forms…promoting and sharing the assets of Uptown.

An artist with national and international reputation, James created the over-sized “Liberty Avenue Musicians” sculptures in theCultural District, award-winning public art projects in Braddock produced with Borough youth, and was commissioned by the City tocreate Bloomfield’s St. Michael memorial sculpture for our three recently fallen police officers. James is helping to put the community on the map with a large mosaic Welcome to Uptown sign, in the shape of a tree, for the portal of Uptown by the Birmingham Bridge. He engaged Hill District youth in the project to help put mosaic pieces into place.

Bringing more music into Uptown, in his studio this fall, James is hosting a one-week artist-in-residency for contemporary classical composers, through Alia Musica Pittsburgh, a non-profit composer consortium and ensemble. From years of living in lively Brazil, James has developed a keen appreciation for the infusion of color, form and lyricism into everyday life. Fortunately for the Uptown community, he shares his ideas, talent and energy in bringing that much-needed sensibility to our doorstep.

Community Banking Awards


Excellence in mortgage lending in Allegheny County’s low- and moderate-income


Excellence in small business lending in Allegheny County