Allegheny Together - Program Technical Assistance Provider
Allegheny County, PA
Allegheny County Economic Development manages business retention, expansion, and attraction for the 129 municipalities in Allegheny, excluding Pittsburgh. With new leadership, the County was looking to bring new direction to their program focused on business districts.
Allegheny Together is a program that focuses on traditional business districts in Allegheny County. These municipalities were hit hard when the steel industry left the region in the 1970s and 80s, and have not seen as robust a recovery as Pittsburgh. The downtown business districts in the county have great foundations, but many have seen disinvestment. Through this five year project, Fourth Economy aims to improve these commercial districts for both business owners and residents.
This program had previously focused solely on aesthetic improvements. Fourth Economy partnered with an urban design and architecture firm to continue to address this aspect, while pivoting toward a more strategic approach. We gathered a group of stakeholders, presented data about the community, and listened for insights into where to focus. This drove our community engagement - from talking to businesses about flood resiliency to addressing the commercial business mix. Finally, community wide Build Sessions were held to come up with actionable solutions that comprised a strategic plan for the business district.
At the same time, we have reimagined the structure of the program, opening up the application process to a larger pool, and establishing a yearly summit to share best practices, and creating a mechanism for peer support.
The first round of downtown strategic plans will launch in late 2019, and in 2020 we will add two to three more communities. Metrics such as investment and business starts are being tracked to understand the impact of the program.
Economic Development Strategy