Emerging Green Equity Press Releases Sustainable City

Triboro EcoDistrict Announce Support for Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg Effort

Courtesy of the Triboro EcoDistrict

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 29, 2018) Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, New Sun Rising, and Etna Economic Development Corporation announce the launch of the Triboro EcoDistrict and a $2.3 million grant investment from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

The program is set to begin with the summer kickoff of the Etna EcoDistrict Education Series; solar panel installations and education in Sharpsburg, the New Sun Rising Moose in Millvale, and the Garden of Etna; and the creation of an environmental justice policy toolkit to help other communities build a more sustainable future through the EcoDistricts platform.

Since the Fall of 2016, leaders from Etna Economic Development Corporation, Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, New Sun Rising, and evolveEA have been planning a strategy for coordinated, community-led sustainable community development throughout the Boroughs of Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg. With over 10,000 residents and a strong collaborative history, these Allegheny River towns are committing to strengthening the resiliency of their Food, Water, Energy, Air Quality, Mobility, and Equity systems. The Triboro EcoDistrict is an initiative of New Sun Rising with activities set to launch in June 2018.

Mary Ellen Ramage, Etna Borough Manager, says “Collaborating with our neighbors has been thoughtful and introspective, leading to a more comprehensive and trusting understanding of each of our community’s needs, goals and challenges; some very similar, some very different. In Etna, it has also helped us bring forth strong leadership from within the community, residents and business owners who are now actively engaged in strategizing and planning for a brighter, healthier future.”

Program activities will be led by an Advisory Board of community residents and leaders including Brittany Reno, Lauren Pearce, Mary Ellen Ramage, Robert Tunon, and Zaheen Hussain with the coordination of Triboro EcoDistrict Director, Brian Wolovich.

The priority selection of the Triboro EcoDistrict activities was based on analysis of community surveys, plans, and ongoing conversations to reflect the community’s priorities for sustainable and equitable development. Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization Executive Director Brittany Reno says that the Triboro collaboration has been, “an invaluable learning experience as we strengthen our connections across social and municipal boundaries toward the ultimate goal of people in Sharpsburg, Etna, and Millvale enjoying a healthier environment, greater physical and mental well-being, and more robust access to economic opportunity. When our most pressing issues – economic opportunity, the environment, public health, energy, access to food, mobility – are so inter-related and systemic in nature, our solutions need to address the root problems that are causing our many different symptoms. The Triboro EcoDistrict planning will strengthen local relationships and capacity within our communities so that we as residents have the power and organization on the ground to implement positive changes for the benefit of the people here.”

Community planning and architecture design work is being led by evolveEA. Christine Mondor of evolveEA notes that, “Too often, arbitrary boundaries on a map can mean major differences in people’s health and quality of life. The Triboro Ecodistrict is tackling this problem by bringing together Communities of Action that transcend municipal boundaries to work on issues like regional air quality, mobility, and social equity. The initiative demonstrates an important ecodistrict principle, which highlights the need to plan and design our environment at multiple, overlapping scales. Our partners in Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg deserve recognition for this innovative approach to planning and governance.”

Triboro EcoDistrict is a Vibrant Communities program of New Sun Rising, held in partnership with the Etna Economic Development Corporation and the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization through the generous support of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

For more information, visit newsunrising.org/project/triboro-ecodistrict

Triboro EcoDistrict Projects Focus on building eco-literacy and building leadership, deploying alternative energy generation technology, addressing affordable housing issues, and supporting catalytic building projects through:

● Solar Installations at the Garden of Etna and in Sharpsburg
● Solar Installation and Direct Current Energy demonstration project at New Sun Rising Moose in Millvale, in partnership with University of Pittsburgh Energy GRID Institute
● Build out of a Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization mixed-use space
● Completion of the Etna Riverfront Park by the Borough of Etna
● Equitable housing repairs and development
● Environmental justice community building toolkit by Emergence: A Women’s Collective
● Renewable energy themed youth public art and paid internship programs
● Micro funding for resident-led projects

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Contact: Brian Wolovich, Triboro EcoDistrict Director, New Sun Rising, brian@newsunrising.org, 412-977-7672

About New Sun Rising: New Sun Rising (NSR) is an innovative 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to build vibrant communities through culture, sustainability and opportunity. NSR provides programs and services that create equitable opportunity, solve social challenges, and strengthen the vibrancy of place. Since 2005, over 400 individuals, organizations, and funders have worked with NSR to launch their nonprofit projects, social businesses, and economic development initiatives throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region with $5 million of support. For more information, visit NewSunRising.org.