Kinkead: $684,160 awarded to expand local recreation opportunities

Grant-funded projects will build on entertainment venues, youth programs

AVALON, Jan. 28 – More than $684,000 has been awarded to improve and increase access to existing recreation venues in the Strip District, Avalon, Northview Heights, and Lawrenceville, state Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny, announced today.

“These projects will create new ways to enjoy life for a vast array of people in our community,” said Kinkead. “The bus purchases alone will enable an additional 60 youths per day to access after school and summer programs. The investments in Pittsburgh’s Ballet and Opera, as well as Avalon’s community basketball courts mean that more people across my district will have access to arts and entertainment in transformational ways. I’m very proud that this money will have a direct, positive impact on the lives of our residents.”

The funded projects include:

  • $150,000 to purchase buses for Boys & Girls Club dedicated transportation.
  • $179,160 to rehabilitate basketball courts at Avalon Community Park.
  • $150,000 to construct a new seasonal performance venue for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
  • $205,000 to support the Pittsburgh Opera’s 2022-23 operating costs and public programs.

Kinkead said the new buses will serve neighborhoods in Northview Heights and Lawrenceville that previously lacked easy public transportation to access Boys & Girls Club programs. Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, said the funds would allow them to purchase at least one bus and fund half of a second bus.

“The borough is grateful to receive this grant funding,” said a representative of the Avalon Borough. “We’re excited that residents will soon be able to benefit from these much-needed improvements at our basketball court.”

Upon learning about receipt of the grant funds, Mary McKinney Flaherty, Board chair of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre said, “This is such wonderful news and ensures the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre can continue to deliver on its mission of increasing accessibility to the arts.”

“The Pittsburgh Opera remains deeply grateful for the GEDTF grant program,” said Christopher Hahn, general director of the Pittsburgh Opera. “Especially as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the performing arts community, it’s a blessing to know we can continue to count on this program’s support.”

The money comes from the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development Tourism Fund, which funds community and economic development projects in Allegheny County through revenue generated from all casinos. The program provides grants for single-year and multi-year projects, including economic projects, infrastructure and community improvements, job training, public safety, public interest and administration costs.

More than $9.3 million was awarded to 33 projects in Allegheny County through this round of GEDTF grant funding. Learn more through this link: Authorities | RAAC | GEDTF Fund (