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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
May 2, 2005

Carnegie Mellon Students Develop Plan To Bring Much-Needed Grocery Store To Hill District

The project is a finalist in the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition

PITTSBURGH—A team of eight students from Carnegie Mellon University will present "Centre Food: Bringing a Non-Profit Food Store to Pittsburgh's Hill District Neighborhood" to a panel of blue-ribbon judges Tuesday, May 3, in the final round of the 12th annual JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition in New York City.

The interdisciplinary team includes students from the Tepper School of Business, the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, the College of Engineering, the School of Architecture, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Team members Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor, Lena Andrews, Nick Ennis, Renee Roy, Erica Shinohara, Stanley Sun, Ryan Will and Rob Wilson addressed the need for a grocery store in the Hill District, a predominantly African-American neighborhood that is underserved by existing food outlets.

Their plan calls for a not-for-profit, full-service grocery store to be created in partnership with The Hill House, a non-profit organization that offers an array of social services in the Hill. The project's ultimate goal is to spur quality development in the Hill District, one of Pittsburgh's most economically distressed neighborhoods.

"For all the attention we've been getting, it's really not about us as presenters. The focus of this project is to work with The Hill House to bring a grocery store to the Hill District," said Project Manager Lena Andrews, a Heinz School master's student of public policy and management.

"Getting the weight of a major financial institution like JP Morgan Chase behind our plan is incredibly exciting," Andrews said.

The aim of the competition is to give students, schools and communities an opportunity to come together around much-needed development projects. The competition is open by invitation and this represents the first time that Carnegie Mellon and the city of Pittsburgh have entered a proposal. The awards are $25,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for a third-place finish. The money goes to the community partner as seed funding to pursue the implementation of the project.

"We are delighted that our relationship with the school has continued to grow and that our relationship may produce a wonderful opportunity for the Hill District community," said Terri Baltimore, director of arts programs at The Hill House. "This project is unique because it represents how the relationship between Hill House and Carnegie Mellon has inspired people from the community to help the project members develop the plans."

The students received advice and support from Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff members including Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Bob Gradeck, Kristen Kurland and Jerry Paytas and the Heinz School Career Services Office. Numerous Hill District residents as well as faculty in various departments and professionals around the city provided the benefit of their time and expertise to advise the project.

"The success of this multidisciplinary team is a perfect example of the commitment that Carnegie Mellon has to the Pittsburgh region. We have been working with the Hill District since 1990, and this achievement reaffirms our ongoing commitment to their citizens and institutions," said Rico-Gutierrez, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts.

For more information and a link to the project, please visit the Heinz School's Center for Economic Development at

The interdisciplinary team won the $25,000 first prize at the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Competition. The money will go to Hill House as seed funding to implement the project.


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