By Elizabeth Perry
Chartiers Avenue has a slightly new look these days–Focus on Renewal has updated its signage and logo based on feedback received from a community survey conducted in January.
The organization which supports the library, food bank and Father Ryan Arts Center among other community-focused endeavors, paired the refresh with an updated website.
“I’m pretty good at letting things go,” Father Regis Ryan, director emeritus said at an event held for colleagues and press to celebrate the changes earlier this month.
He said the original logo which features a city skyline and red letters spelling out NOW in the shape of a megaphone, was a more static design than the new logo which has dynamic green arrows pointing toward the initials.
Focus on Renewal was founded in 1969 by Sister Paulette Honeygosky and Father Don Fisher. Ryan, who joined the organization in 1975, said the old logo reflected the times. The organization was built in response to endemic racketeering and mob activity in the area. Murders committed over the rackets at that time just weren’t solved, Ryan said.
“There was a whole lot of corruption that needed to be addressed,” Ryan said.
Problems in the community have changed since then and Focus on Renewal has tried to keep pace. The organization commissioned a quality-of-life survey financially sponsored by the McCune Foundation which asked 608 residents about their concerns and needs.
The rebranding came out of the survey, said Executive Director Cindy Haines.
According to the quality of life survey, 73% of respondents said violence was their biggest concern, with their second biggest worry being unemployment at 49%. Seemingly, though the source of violence has changed, the problem is still rampant.
According to the U.S. Census, the average household income is $37,084, which is 62% lower than the average in Allegheny County. More than 27.5% of the people living in Sto-Rox are doing so in poverty. Many of them are children. Of the 1,500 students who attend Sto-Rox School District, 80% come from single-parent households and all of them qualify for free or reduced lunch.
“The community has spoken, and we are working to address our neighbor’s biggest concerns – violence, safety, food insecurity, employment, early childhood education and healing the trauma, among other things,” Haines said via press release.