Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., (HI) began in 1994 with Mayor Tom Murphy's initiative to organize maintenance task forces throughout the city. In response, a group of about 15 concerned residents founded the Hazelwood Neighborhood Maintenance Task Force (HNMTF). The group worked with City department representatives from the Bureaus of Building Inspection, Environmental Services, and Public Safety; and the Department of Public Works to address day-to-day maintenance issues in the community. By taking on small community issues and problems such as vacant, abandoned housing, junk cars, and illegal dumping, HNMTF worked through its first few years cleaning up the commercial district and the river's edge.
By 1996, with assistance and support from Operation Weed and Seed, the organization grew to membership of more than 24. Another 15 to 20 volunteers also could be counted on for specific community projects. These special activities included an annual Operation Clean-Sweep; initiating and planting of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy garden at the corner of Second and Hazelwood Avenues; and acquiring funding for the purchase and installation of holiday lighting for the Second Avenue commercial district. This was the first such lighting the community had seen in almost thirty years.
During the late 1990s, the neighborhood task force joined with a local group opposed to the rebuilding of LTV Steel's Coke Works. Soon after plans for a new coke plant were defeated, the task force evolved into the Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. Chartered in 1999, HI is a recognized 501(c)(3) community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to betterment of the greater Hazelwood area. This includes Hazelwood, Glenwood, Glen Hazel and Riverside.
HI's dramatic success is punctuated by the report, Master Planning in Hazelwood and Junction Hollow's yearlong community-focused study that identifies the future direction for redevelopment of the Greater Hazelwood Area. HI truly is at the forefront of Community Development. At the direction of the City Planning Department and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, HI is taking the lead on various projects. These include commercial development along Second Avenue through the City Mainstreet Program and housing development with the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation.
Having recently advised the Department of Environmental Protection on remediation standards for the former LTV Coke Plant site, HI anticipates working on redevelopment plans for this Brownfield Site with ALMONO, LLP a Partnership of several major Pittsburgh foundations.