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Pittsburgh PARK(ing) Day is back Friday with installations throughout the city

For one day only, parking spaces will transform across the city into small parks, green spaces and even a beach in an effort to get citizens talking about sustainability and transportation.

Tomorrow, Sept. 19, is PARK(ing) Day, an annual, international one-day event where artists, designers and citizens can transform parking spots into small parks and art installations.
 
This is PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh’s seventh year. The event began in San Francisco in 2005 and its message has travelled around the world. PARK(ing) Day is an opportunity to get communities talking about improvements, green space and transportation while thinking creatively.
 
This year, Pittsburgh’s pop-up parks stem from neighborhood improvement initiatives and fun. PARK(ing) Day Committee Member Thor Erickson said the Polish Hill Civic Association will use traffic cones to create a discussion about street traffic.  Erickson said the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Penn Future, Design Center and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership are collaborating in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue, downtown, to showcase urban improvement efforts.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council members will transform their parking spaces into a beach, according to Erickson.
 
The Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee organized a mini golf course along Butler Street, between Doughboy Square and 39th Street, as part of the neighborhood’s PARK(ing) Day initiatives. Breakfast, lunch and dinner golfing sessions will be offered, with a party and music by DJ Duke to follow in the Iron City Bikes and Franktuary parking lot from 6 PM to 8 PM.
 
To find PARK(ing) Day events in your neighborhood, Parking Day Pittsburgh has provided a map with events and times listed throughout the city. 
 
 
Source: PARK(ing) Day, PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Pittsburgh, Thor Erickson, Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee 

Pens' payment promises bright future for Hill District

For decades, the Pittsburgh Penguins made hockey history at the Civic Arena, the team's storied home that separated Downtown from the Hill District. 

The Penguins have since moved to a new home nearby at the Consol Energy Center, but they haven't forgotten their roots at that hallowed site in the Lower Hill. Earlier this month, the Penguins agreed to pay full market value on the land where their beloved Igloo once stood, according to a WTAE-TV article. The 28 acres of land will make way for development in the Hill District.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced agreements among Penguins management, the Hill District community and local government to transform the entire neighborhood and provide tens of millions in financing dollars for community improvements, jobs and housing.

“This plan will build transformational wealth for the residents of the greater Hill District,” Peduto said. “It provides the financial resources to build the ladders of opportunity between the 28 acres and the rest of the Hill District.”
 
Joining Peduto at the announcement were Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Urban Redevelopment Authority Chairman Kevin Acklin, Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, state Sen. Jay Costa and Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams.
 
The announcement was the culmination of more than 50 meetings among city, county, state, federal, community and team officials on how to best leverage the redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill to provide for business development, jobs, housing and infrastructure improvements to the entire area. 

Through a new tax increment financing district, property tax growth from the redevelopment of the Lower Hill will be used to pay for improvements in six other neighborhoods across the Hill: Bluff, Crawford Roberts, Terrace Village, Middle Hill, Bedford Dwellings and Upper Hill.
 
For more information about the announcement, see the mayor’s online announcement.
 
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto 


 

Pittsburgh Public Market hosts first-ever Food Swap

From spicy wing sauce to eggs laid by backyard hens, if it's homemade or homegrown, it's up for grabs at the city's first-ever food swap.

The Pittsburgh Public Market and Good Food Pittsburgh’s Emily Catalano are hosting the Pittsburgh Food Swap on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 2-4 p.m. at the market.
 
Catalano says that the city has played host to smaller canning and themed swaps in the past, “but this is something that is a little more than canned goods.”
 
She says she first got the idea for while living in Philadelphia, where she attended food swaps. She was delighted to see the community come together — while some goods were made by professionals, the majority were shared by home chefs.
 
“It was a really awesome community feeling,” she said. 
 
When it comes to what foods can be swapped, almost anything goes. In Philadelphia and with swaps she's attended, Catalano saw homemade truffles, jam, extracts, cookies, whiskey, marshmallows and ravioli.
 
So what can’t be swapped?
 
“No Oreos,” Catalano said with a laugh. She also asked that any questionable homemade goods stay in the home pantry.
 
All food must be individually packaged. Containers of soup are great, but don’t bring a pot. Participants must sign a waiver that their food is safe for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy. She suggests labeling food with safe-to-consume-by dates.
 
Catalano said she went on a spicy kick for the swap and is contributing wing sauce, pickled jalapenos and bread and butter pickles. She said others who have signed up are bringing eggs from backyard hens, strawberry plants and baked goods.
 
Only those sharing items can participate in the swap, and attendees must register for this free event online. The swap begins at 2 p.m. with mingling and sampling; after 30 minutes of greetings and tastings, the swap commences.
 
Catalano said contributors should bring samples for others to try. It works like this: Bring 15 packages of cookies, leave with 15 different items from other swappers. Catalano suggested bringing 10 to 15 items to trade.
 
Sometimes you don’t get everything you want. "But most of the time, you end up getting a pretty decent haul,” Catalano said.

 

Salvation Army opens new South Side Family Store

A new Salvation Army Family Store opens in the South Side tomorrow with plenty of fanfare, including all-day free giveaways and the chance to win a 40-inch flat-screen TV. 

The 15,000-square-foot store at at 855 E. Carson Street will sell bargain-priced clothing, household items, electronics, books, toys, furniture and collectibles.  Every Wednesday, the store will offer Family Day discounts.
 
The Family Store opens at the intersection of East Carson and South Ninth streets for the first time at 10 a.m. tomorrow, following a ribbon-cutting event at 9:45 a.m. Opening day customers can enjoy free coffee and donuts in the morning.
 
"Our new Family Store will offer more selection and more bargains that appeal to everyone in order to provide our customers with a better shopping experience and support our social services work," says Martina O'Leary, administrator at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh.  "We really look forward to contributing to the community at all levels." 
 
The store will bring more than 10 new jobs to the area, O'Leary said. Revenue from the Family Store supports the Salvation Army's rehabilitation center, which offers free services to community residents who struggle with alcohol, drugs and other life issues. Sales from the Family Store are the center's only funding source. Needy families may also receive vouchers for free furniture or clothing from the store through other Salvation Army programs.
 
Tax receipts will be provided for any donations received during store hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. After-hours clothing donations can be dropped in bins in the parking lot.
 

24/7 artist workspace to expand in Etna

448 Studios, a community studio space in Etna where artists and musicians can practice their craft, is expanding to provide 20 more artist studios next month.
 
The workspaces were opened in 2013 by STORExpress, after the self storage company noticed customers were using their units in other locations creatively. STORExpress saw a market and realized they could open a facility for artists and musicians to store and create their work.
 
Jesse Ament, STORExpress marketing manager, says they saw original uses for spaces from a small gym to band practice area.
 
“We’re in the business of space,” he says. 

The first floor of the 448 Butler Street facility is a band floor. It features 27 rooms with sound resistant walls built specifically for local bands. The second floor provides artist studios. And, they were designed with creating art in mind, the workspaces feature natural lighting and industrial sinks.
 
There are currently 40 studios at 80 percent capacity with metal workers, painters, jewelry makers and designers.  Ament notes that one 448 Studios artist was commissioned by the 49ers football team to outfit their new stadium. 
 
Rooms are equipped with wi-fi, heating and cooling. There is a community lounge, kitchenette and restrooms provided for artists. Ament said occupants are free to display art in these common spaces. 

The 448 Studios building is accessible 24 hours a day and work and equipment are secure with electronic coded access.
 
“We are trying to build a community,” Ament says. “You’re not just renting a space, you’re getting access to other artists in the community.”
 
The expansion should be complete October 1. For more information about the studios, visit https://www.facebook.com/448Studios/info
 
Source: Jesse Ament, STORExpress, 448 Studios Facebook

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra launches neighborhood chamber concert series

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music for the Spirit program is expanding to include three chamber music concerts at local churches in the Northside, East Liberty and Wilkinsburg in September.
 
The Music for the Spirit program explores the connection between music and spirituality during free Pittsburgh Symphony concerts, at both Heinz Hall as part of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series and in rotating community venues.
 
Suzanne Perrino, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra senior vice president of education and strategic implementation, says the series was born from the idea “to create programs that celebrate different faiths [with] music and bring people together.”
 
This month, the Music for the Spirit program adds three concerts featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass, which follows the Music for the Spirit concert format, melding music, poetry, readings and other spoken word pieces. Readings are performed between music pieces. Some renditions are from the bible or religious text while other pieces of poetry and prose align with a central, communal message.
 
This is the first chamber series for the Music for the Spirit program. Perrino says this smaller group will provide a more intimate and engaging concert setting. Perrino and Gloria Mou, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra director of musician and community engagement programs, call brass music fun and accessible. They explain that it is rare to have the opportunity to hear the brass portion of the orchestra alone.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass includes Craig Knox, tuba; Murray Crewe, bass trombone; Neal Berntsen, trumpet; William Caballero, horn; Peter Sullivan, trombone; and George Vosburgh, trumpet.
 
Monday Night Neighborhood Concerts began at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the Northside on September 8.  Upcoming concerts will be held at East Liberty Presbyterian Church on September 15 and Deliverance Baptist Church in Wilkinsburg on September 22. Each Monday Night Neighborhood Concert will present the same program.
 
All concerts start at 8PM and are free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at pittsburghsymphony.org/neighborhoodseries or 412-392-8991.
 
The annual Music for the Spirit concerts will take place on November 20 at Westminster Presbyterian in Upper St. Clair and November 22 at Cardinal Wuerl High School in Cranberry. More details about these concerts will be released in the fall.


Source: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Suzanne Perrino, Gloria Mou

Mobile boutique sets up shop in Lawrenceville

When Samantha Lugo was visiting family in New York in 2013, she frequented her first boutique on wheels. She says she was so inspired by the clothes-truck, that she said, “That’s it, I’m bringing this to Pittsburgh!”
 
In July 2013, Lugo did just that and launched Broke Little Rich Girl, Inc. mobile boutique. After one year on the road, Broke Little Rich Girl opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Lawrenceville on Saturday, Sept. 6.
 
Lugo says the 3816 Butler Street store features her signature selection of “urban” and “edgy” designs. She explains that by first launching the mobile shop, she was able to test the Pittsburgh market with styles and see what would sell at a permanent address.
 
“Lawrenceville is just such an up and coming neighborhood,” Lugo says about choosing a site for her store.“I love the vibe.”
 
The Lawrenceville location will offer a wider selection of clothing and sizes. Lugo notes that clothes will be at the same price point as the mobile unit. She said the truck will still roll around Pittsburgh and is available for private parties like “ladies nights,” where cupcakes and wine are included in her rental fee.
 
The store’s opening featured food and drink provided by local businesses, several from Lawrenceville neighbors, including Pittsburgh Winery, La Gourmandine and Coca Café.
 
Source: Samantha Lugo, Broke Little Rich Girl

Fairmont Pittsburgh Chef Jason Dalling will host a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand Friday

Fairmont Pittsburgh Executive Chef Jason Dalling will launch a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand at Andys Bar on Fri., August 29.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, says the pop-up menu will be "simple" and stems from Dalling’s “love for this type of casual cuisine.”

The limited menu will feature a house smoked, grass fed brisket sandwich with pickle and tomato aioli and a peanut braised pulled pork sandwich featuring pineapple and jalapeño aioli — both sandwiches are $12 and come with a side of “old school” coleslaw. All items will be available to-go from a street-side stand along Fifth Avenue.
 
“I came up with the concept because we’re already doing a lot of these house-smoked items for [events], and I wanted to bring them to a larger audience," Dalling says. "Andys is a great outlet for this concept because it is casual and accessible. Depending on how popular the BBQ is, we may decide to offer it more regularly.”
 
Abramovic invites BBQ enthusiasts and the downtown lunch crowd to celebrate the unofficial end of summer and take advantage of this one-day event. She adds that the possibility of future events will be true to the pop-up concept, only announcing the occassion a few days prior.
 
For more information, follow social media campaign “Meat Us at Andys” on Twitter at @FairmontPGH and @AndysPgh.
 
Source: Fairmont Pittsburgh, Julie Abramovic                        
 

West Elm opening next week in Bakery Square

West Elm, a retailer of modern furniture and home decor, is opening next week in Bakery Square.
 
This will be the first Pittsburgh location for the international retailer and its second in the state of Pennsylvania, according to Gregg Perelman, principal at development owner Walnut Capital.
 
“It’s the only one in the market,” Perelman said.
 
He said he thinks the store is a great addition to the high-end, tech atmosphere of Bakery Square. Perelman added that West Elm, a subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, is a good fit when considering Bakery Square’s existing shops, Anthropologie and Trader Joe’s.
 
“They have a very strong mail order base in Pittsburgh,” Perelman added about West Elm’s attraction to setting up shop in the city.
 
With additional housing coming to the community and the development of Bakery Square 2.0, Perelman says the store will have a lot of foot traffic — in addition to being West Elm’s brick-and-mortar site for Western Pennsylvania.
 
West Elm Bakery Square will open Thursday, September 4. To stay apprised of opening news and specials, follow the location on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westelmbksq.
 
Source: Gregg Perelman

TBT: Bar Marco's hot history

It’s no surprise to patrons of Bar Marco that the building has a storied past. In case one misses the “No. 7 Engine Company” emblazoned above the restaurant’s entrance, relics of its 19th century foundation are seen in the tile walls and embellished tin ceiling.
 
The site served as a firehouse — hence the Engine Company — from 1860 to 1949, according to Bar Marco owner Robert Fry. He explains that the building was the last firehouse in the city to stop using horses to pull fire wagons. Fry says the modern entrance of Bar Marco was once the back of the firehouse, where the horses would pull up.  In 1905, the building was reoriented to face Penn Avenue. 
 
There are a few links to the firehouse’s Antebellum history that the customer does not see when visiting Bar Marco. An old hose shaft provides a ladder to the roof and there are bricked in tunnels in the wine cellar that are connected to other original buildings throughout the Strip. According to Fry, these tunnels are rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad.
 
When the Engine Company ceased operation, it became an Iron Workers’ Union Hall — the inspiration for the name of Bar Marco’s second-floor events space, The Union Hall. The building then served as offices before becoming the Firehouse Lounge and Embry.
 
The site began operating as Bar Marco in fall 2011. But before the restaurant opened its doors in January 2012, Fry and his team worked to restore the building’s history.

They pulled down dry wall and a drop down ceiling, renovated floors and brought the site back to its original glory.  
 
“We just did everything we could to bring everything back to its natural beauty,” Fry says.

Source: Robert Fry

Love Your Block announces 14 fall grant recipients

Mayor William Peduto announced last week the 14 organizations that will receive funding for the seventh round of the Love Your Block grant program, a servePGH initiative.
 
The block revitalization program, with help from sponsors, awards $1,000 to purchase supplies and tools to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers to transform blighted lots into neighborhood assets. 
 
Sabrina Shaner, LYB coordinator and neighborhood service associate, says the project provides a creative and sustainable solution while “promoting public safety, encouraging real estate and pride.”
 
Melanie Ondek, City of Pittsburgh grants officer working with servePGH, explains that while Pittsburgh is currently growing, the city faced a declining population for five decades resulting in blight. She says community engagement efforts revitalize neighborhoods and improve the quality of life of citizens. 
 
LYB uses “citizen service to tackle city needs,” Ondek says. She adds that, “We see our most successful projects happen when the entire block is engaged.”  
 
The mini-grant initiative began in 2011 and has funded Pittsburgh blocks every fall and spring since its inception. Ondek says LYB has completed 104 projects and assisted 321 blocks with more than 1,000 volunteers who have removed 30,000 plus pounds of litter. Ondek adds that LYB has touched 43 of Pittsburgh’s 98 neighborhoods.
 
“I am happy to announce that LYB is once again uniting neighbors, community members and volunteers to improve their neighborhoods by turning blighted properties into usable green space,” says Mayor Peduto. “These projects exhibit the sense of pride and spirit of volunteerism that are regularly demonstrated by so many citizens that live in the unique neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.”
 
Fall 2014 grant recipients are as follows: 900 Block of Liberty, Beechview Community Garden, The Borland Garden Cooperative, Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council, Grow Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville United, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, Observatory Hill, Inc., South Pittsburgh Development Corp, Southside Community Council of Pittsburgh, Troy Hill Citizen, Inc., Uptown Partners, West End Alliance and YWCA.
 
LYB is made possible thanks to Peoples Natural Gas, the PNC Foundation and The Home Depot. Peoples Natural Gas donated $15,000 and the PNC Foundation added an additional $10,000, while The Home Depot is providing $9,100 worth of supplies. LYB is also supported by the Corporation for National Community Service, the AmeriCorps VISTA program and it's based on the Cities of Service Blueprint of the same name.
 
Additionally, a special $2,000 prize will be given to the organization that carries out the most successful block transformation, according to identified criteria. Fall project implementation will take place from August 31 to October 31, 2014.
 
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto, Sabrina Shaner, Melanie Ondek, Love Your Block
 

A bag of produce is your ticket to Red, Ripe and Roasted at Phipps

A bag of fresh produce can gain you admittance to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 10th annual Red, Ripe and Roasted tomato and garlic festival Sun., August 24.
 
Held on the public garden’s sustainably managed front lawn and in the Outdoor Garden, this family-friendly event features cooking demonstrations, a tomato contest, a farmers’ market and activities for kids—all to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
 
“In general, the event is a celebration of summer and the bounty of summer,” says Jordyn Melino, Phipps exhibit coordinator. She says it's also about sharing this “bounty” with those in need.

While highlighting western Pennsylvania’s quintessential crops, the festival encourages guests to share the season’s harvest with the Food Bank. In 2013, the festival resulted in the collection of 2,174 pounds of food.
 
By donating a bag fresh produce to help community members in need, festival participants will be admitted for free to both Red, Ripe and Roasted and to the conservatory. Guests can experience attractions from the Butterfly Forest to the Summer Flower Show, featuring bright blooms and model train displays, during event hours from 11AM to 4PM.
 
Café Phipps will prepare and share a variety of delicious dishes to sample, there will be cooking demonstrations, a Phipps-grown garlic roast and a farmers’ market featuring organic and Certified Naturally Grown produce—guests can purchase their produce for donation at this market.
 
Another popular festival activity is a tomato contest where home gardeners are invited to enter their ugliest, smallest or largest ripe tomatoes for a chance to win prizes. The event will host a variety of discovery activities to entertain children of all ages. Let’s Move Pittsburgh and several other local organizations will also be in attendance to engage event-goers.
 
Garden writer and television/radio host Doug Oster — author of Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil — and food writer Miriam Rubin, author of Tomatoes, will also be in attendance to present some of their favorite recipes and sign copies of their books.
 
Source: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Jordyn Melino

Pool City Plaza sold to New York investor for more than $3 million

Pool City Plaza, a two-building, 48,500-square-foot retail development located within the Pointe at North Fayette shopping district, has been purchased for $3.05 million by New York-based investor Cohen Equities.
 
Vice presidents of retail brokerage and leasing at Cushman & Wakefield Grant Street Associates, Inc., J. R. Yocco and John Jackson, in conjunction with C-III Realty Services LLC (based in Irving, Texas), worked to solidify a sale for the online auction.
 
“Robinson is a great area. [It has] a lot of retail activity …  [and] activity breeds activity,” Jackson begins. He explains that the site was attractive because the area hosts an active market “with little vacancy.” When Pool City Plaza became available, he says Grant Street Associates realized its value and assessed the site.
 
Cohen Equities has a more than 5-million-square-foot portfolio and acquires a variety of office and retail properties, from fully leased core assets and renovations to re-positioning and leasing of under-utilized properties and the workout of distressed commercial mortgages.
 
"The new ownership sees this as an exciting opportunity with tremendous upside and plans to invest significant capital into Plaza improvements," Yocco says. "Cohen Equities has budgeted for the type of tenant improvement dollars that are necessary to bring new national and powerhouse regional tenants to Pool City Plaza."
 
Pool City Plaza is situated within Pittsburgh's Parkway West-Airport corridor. This area has become one of the largest retail centers in the region, with more than 6.5 million square feet of retail located in a five-minute drive-time.  At the conclusion of the second quarter 2014, the submarket had a vacancy rate of only 2.9 percent and remains a top destination for big box tenants in the market.
 
"The surrounding daytime population coupled with an availability of more than 25,000 contiguous square feet and new capitalized ownership will certainly get Pool City Plaza noticed by midsize retailers emerging in the Pittsburgh market," Jackson says. "The Plaza's proximity to major big box retailers like Target, Home Depot and Best Buy also adds to the project's value."
 
Source: Cushman & Wakefield Grant Street Associates, Inc., John Jackson

New parking options for Eliza Furnace Trail bike commuters

Mayor William Peduto’s administration is providing new daily parking options for bike commuters who use the Eliza Furnace Trail — a stretch of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the Monongahela River's north bank.
 
Parking restrictions put into place in advance of construction of a new protected bike lane on Saline Street in Greenfield displaced some commuters who park their vehicles by the Eliza Furnace trailhead and bike to work each day. Other daily commuters commonly took advantage of free parking on Saline and would take buses to work.
 
This construction is part of the city’s protected bike lane project with lanes being built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park; along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield; and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue, Downtown.
 
Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront says the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is becoming more heavily used, which he says is “a great problem to have.” 

Baxter notes that when Friends of the Riverfront began working on the trail, the project focused on recreation. Today, efforts have expanded to transportation.
 
To continue to encourage biking, the city is planning to add parking spaces to the lot at the Eliza Furnace trailhead and mark them for weekday bike commuters. For those seeking to use the trail for mid-day exercise, parking at other spaces in the trailhead lot will remain restricted to three hours.
 
Work may take a couple of weeks to complete so bike commuters may park their vehicles at the soccer field in Junction Hollow, on Boundary Street just north of Saline Street. From there, bicyclists can connect with the Eliza Furnace trail to get Downtown or go the opposite direction to travel to Oakland.
 
“Pittsburgh is becoming one of the best cities in the country for bicyclists, and we’re doing all we can to add even more bike-friendly infrastructure,” Mayor Peduto says.
 
 
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto, Thomas Baxter

Construction begins on new Frick Environmental Center

Last week, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh began construction on the new Frick Environmental Center at Frick Park.
 
The Environmental Center is being built in the footprint of the old center that burned down in 2002, off Beechwood Boulevard in the park’s northwest corner.
 
“After many years of enthusiastic community input, dedicated public and private support and careful design and planning, the work to build the new center is now underway,” says Meg Cheever, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
 
A total of 2.5 acres will be cleared at the perimeter of the 644-acre park to allow for construction. To ensure safe operation of equipment, a total of five acres will be temporarily fenced off. Several park trail detours are in effect and visitors are encouraged to visit www.pittsburghparks.org/environmentalcenter for information on specific trails and the area of Frick Park that will be affected.
 
“We are doing our best to minimize the effects on park users,” says Scott Roller, Parks Conservancy senior manager, marketing and communications.

The center will include indoor learning spaces, a public gathering and reception area, public restrooms and offices, as well as an amphitheater built into the hillside, landscape restoration and gardens.
 
Though the new center is being constructed in the same framework as the old building, a second floor and basement will increase usable space.
 
Green initiatives are also being implemented. The new Environmental Center has been designed to meet the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge as well as LEED Platinum standards. The site will incorporate a geothermal heating and cooling system, will fully support its own needs for water and energy and will capture rainwater for irrigation and reuse. 

The Environmental Center will provide children, families and adults from all parts of the city access to environmental education programs. 

“[The center] becomes a gathering place for all things nature and environmentally related,” Roller says. He adds that the park is a “natural classroom” and the building creates a base for learning and programs.

Frick Environmental Center classes are designed with teacher input to align with curriculum requirements in grades K-12 while maximizing time outside in the park. Summer camps are offered for children ages three and up.

The Environmental Center will have a public “living room” area, classroom and meeting spaces. There will be clean, fully-accessible restrooms and places to get fresh water

Since 2011, more than 1,000 people have been involved in a public visioning and planning process for the center that included dozens of input sessions and meetings.  Hundreds more participated in sessions held in earlier years. 
 
“[We are] excited and energized [now] that this moment has come,” Roller says about the years of planning and fundraising.

The project is expected to be completed in two years.
 
Source: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Scott Roller, Heather Sage
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