PITTSBURG — It’s no secret that Block 22 has been grabbing a lot of attention lately. Recently, another announcement about the project has again thrust it into the spotlight.

This time it comes from the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), who have announced that the Block 22 project is a finalist in their 2018 Awards of Excellence competition.

According to their website the UEDA “works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development, and technology commercialization.”

The competition invites higher education institutions from across the country to submit projects that focus on positive economic effects on their communities. The nominations are then reviewed by a panel of professionals, who choose 24 finalists from around the nation.

PSU’s Block 22 is completing in the Place and Innovation category where it will face stiff competition from three other schools.

The project will be competing against the University of West Florida for its Sustainable Economic Development Initiative, the University of Iowa for the Iowa City Area Development Group, and the University of Central Florida for its Economic Diversity and Inclusivity project.

According to a release from the UEDA, Chair of the UEDA Awards of Excellence Committee, Julia Potter, said the contest not only allows visibility for these projects, but also shows how universities directly affect the development of the areas they call home.

“This year’s group of submissions showcase the value higher education provides to impact sustainable regional development,” Potter said. “It is through participation in UEDA’s Awards of Excellence Program that the success of these initiatives can be given a platform to share their successes and inspire others to apply these best practices in other locations.”

In a release provided by PSU, Chief Strategic Officer Shawn Naccarato said the university is honored to be a finalist.

"We're honored to be a national finalist in a field of so many other wonderful projects by respected institutions," Naccarato said. "It reinforces to us the significant value for this project and that it can serve as a model to others."

The City of Pittsburg, which has been a partner in Block 22, said they are happy to see the project getting national attention.

“Block 22 is a great example of what a public-private partnership looks like,” Pittsburg City Manager, Daron Hall said. “We’re pleased to see this project gain recognition on a national level, and excited for the economic impact it will bring to the downtown district and the entire community.”

The winner of the contest will be chosen in October at the organizations annual summit held in Milwaukee.