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The Penguins and the City announce a dek hockey rink in bloomfield

Mayor William Peduto announced plans last week for a new outdoor dek hockey rink in Bloomfield Park. The arena will be built in partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation’s Project Power Play program.
 
Project Power Play is a three-year plan that began in 2012. The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Highmark teamed up on a $2.1 million project to build 12 dek hockey rinks in the Pittsburgh area. The Bloomfield rink will be the fourth facility built by the Penguins and the city, following others in Banksville, Brookline and Hazelwood.

Dek hockey is essentially street hockey, played without skates or ice and often using a ball in place of a puck.
 
“Part of the reason for the Penguins Foundation is to get kids off the couch and exercising, and to value sports and competitiveness and the lessons they learn through sports,” says Penguins President David Morehouse, who played street hockey growing up in Beechview. “Physical activity and education is what we’re focused on.”
 
The project is designed to give young hockey players access to newly constructed, outdoor, multi-use athletic facilities. These structures provide safe areas to play games under the supervision of established organizations, according to the mayor’s office.
 
“We do everything we can as an organization to fulfill the needs of the community as far as helping kids see if they really want to pursue ice hockey," says Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation President David Soltesz. "That’s why we do the deks, the equipment in the schools, why we have the YMCA programs — trying to nurture our sport and trying to help these kids.”

The dek location will be adjacent to Officer Paul J. Sciullo II Memorial Field. The Sciullo family was in attendance when Mayor Peduto announced the rink.
 
“This facility will be built as a legacy to a community that has invested heavily into the sport, and it will be in the shadow of Paul Sciullo Field, recognizing a great life, a great person and a great athlete,” Peduto says. “We want to give to other kids the same opportunities that Paul had to help guide his life and follow in his footsteps.”
 
Construction is expected to start in June and be completed in October. Existing bocce courts and a playground will be moved slightly and a new parking lot will be built under the Bloomfield Bridge. The project cost is roughly $800,000.
 
A map of the site is available here.

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto

Neighborhood Allies names inaugural president

Presley L. Gillespie has been hired as the first president of Neighborhood Allies, a community development organization that focuses on incorporating people-based and place-based strategies into its work.
 
Neighborhood Allies, whose predecessor organization was the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, launched in 2013 with the purpose of including 21st century community development approaches.
 
The organization is known as an intermediary funder to help neighborhoods in distress and addresses local issues like blighted buildings and homelessness. Innovative, resident-driven development strategies have worked extremely well in other Great Lakes cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Youngstown, and Gillespie has been at the forefront of this work for the last five years.
 
Gillespie was most recently the founding executive director of the Youngstown Community Development Corporation, the first city-wide community development corporation in Youngstown, Ohio.
 
In addition to Gillespie’s nonprofit work, he has experience in private sector banking. Prior to his work with YNDC, he had a successful 18-year banking career, primarily focused on community development lending and revitalization.
 
“Throughout my 23-year career, I have been deeply engaged in mobilizing capital and engaging residents to transform under-served neighborhoods," Gillespie says. "My experience as a community development leader in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors has led to a life-long commitment and passion to improving the quality of life of people affected by blight and disinvestment."
 
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto was enthusiastic about the selection of Gillespie and the experience he brings to his new position.
 
“He has a proven track record of scaling up community development work and bringing millions in federal resources to local communities," Peduto says. "I am so pleased that Neighborhood Allies was able to attract a leader of his caliber to Pittsburgh to help us work collaboratively to rebuild our communities most in need.”
 
Gillespie added that he is excited to take the helm at Neighborhood Allies as its objectives go hand-in-hand with his personal and professional goals of local development. “First and foremost, I deeply believe in their mission,” he says.
 
In addition to his enthusiasm for the organization, Gillespie says he has “long admired Pittsburgh” as a post-industrial city that continues to flourish.
 
“Pittsburgh is a great city,” he says. “With a strong urban core and diverse and historic neighborhoods, it is poised for significant, continued growth.”
 
While Gillespie has plans to re-imagine, re-invent and re-tool the system with new cross-sector, strategic partnerships meant to foster the transformation of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, he says he knows that the beginning of his term will be met with a lot of listening and learning.
 
Gillespie will begin his term as president mid-May. With his wife Nora and two children, he will be relocating to Pittsburgh this spring. He said the family is excited to call Pittsburgh home and take advantage of what the city has to offer.
 
“I look forward to visiting its world-class theaters, botanical gardens, green trails and sports venues,” he says. “The quality of life amenities in Pittsburgh are second to none.”

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Neighborhood Allies, Presley L. Gillespie

Pittsburgh is one of the best cities in the world for property investment

Pittsburgh was rated the fifth best city in the world for long-term real estate investment in a report last week by Grosvenor Research. The 300-year-old, London based development firm rates cities based on resiliency and sustainable growth opportunities.
 
The Grosvenor “Resilient Cities” report named Pittsburgh the fifth most resilient city in the world — following Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Chicago.  The report studies the stability and prosperity of cities in guiding long-term property investment. Cities are ranked on climate, environment, resources, infrastructure and community affairs.

“The rest of the world is responding to the great things happening in Pittsburgh and my administration's promotion of sustainable growth policies to make our city a global leader,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Sustainable development projects we are investing in across the city will cement this reputation for decades.”

A press release from the mayor’s office stated that the study underscores why Pittsburgh is a good bet for real estate, particularly given its growth, good governance and the actions the Peduto administration is taking to mitigate climate risks and invest in infrastructure.

In a statement from the international firm, Grosvenor’s Group Research Director Dr. Richard Barkham said, “This research provides us with a powerful tool to use when looking at the risks and opportunities of long-term real estate investment in cities around the world.”
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto

Carnegie Mellon architecture professor and students recognized for Garfield cityLAB efforts

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture recognized cityLABUrban Design Build Studio and Carnegie Mellon University architecture professor John Folan with the 2014 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award for cityLAB's 6% Place project in Garfield.
 
CityLAB is a small nonprofit that produces local economic development projects, its website describes “6 percent” as the magic number for a tipping point.  
 
“If a neighborhood can get that many creative workers, it becomes an attraction in its own right,” the site states. “CityLAB has been testing out this hypothesis in Garfield, an overlooked neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End, since 2011. Our goal is to fill in the neighborhood’s vacancies with creative workers who will be good neighbors, invest in the community and help the neighborhood grow sustainably.”
 
Sara Blumenstein, cityLAB program manager, explains that the initial idea to draw creative neighbors stemmed from  data that showed that after creative types move into a region, development follows. She said the initiative had multiple goals: to improve the community and to put Garfield on the map for prospective residents.
 
During the fall of 2011, Folan’s students worked with Garfield community members to come up with proposals for 16 ideas for Garfield cityLAB, detailed in the 6% Place book.
 
“[It was an] opportunity to get experience that they wouldn’t get in school,” Blumenstein says about Folan’s CMU architecture students. She explains that students worked with neighbors while applying classroom skills to budget costs and develop plans.
 
Two projects have taken flight from the 16 fledgling ideas: the Tiny Houses project and the Garfield Night Market.
 
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation’s Garfield Night Market is returning Friday May 2, with assistance from cityLAB. Blumenstein says visitors to the market can expect a street fair setting with paper lanterns, food and crafts. She notes that the market does more than draw families and patrons to Garfield for a good time — it is also a business incubator. 
 
Garfield community members who have the goal of running a small business can get the training and skills they need by starting at the Garfield market. About a dozen of the market’s current vendors are Garfield residents, but Blumenstein says it is a goal to eventually have Garfield entrepreneurs host at least half of the market.
 
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: cityLAB, Sara Blumenstein

Milkman Brewing Company to open brick-and-mortar spot in the Strip

Pittsburgh’s Milkman Brewing Company will open a brick-and-mortar location next month at 2517 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.  The brewery is an addition to the revitalized 2500 block that also hosts the newly opened Kindred Cycles full service bike shop — near the new Pittsburgh Public Market location.
 
Milkman Brewing co-owners Justin Waters, Jamie Rice and Kyle Branigan met at a home brew event in 2010 and have been brewing beer together ever since. Rice and Waters say Milkman Brewing has “bounced around,” making appearances at events and festivals, but that they are excited to have found a home in the Strip. 

Their May opening will bring a spot to fill up your growler. Patrons can choose old favorites such as the Dahntahn Brahn Ale (brown ale), Peppercorn Rye (made with a variety of peppercorns and rye grain bale) and The Mean Ass Hank (an Irish Whiskey-oaked DIPA) or try one of the new brews they are planning.

Eventually, Waters and Rice say they hope to host events at the new brewery.
 
While there is no grand opening date yet, the milkmen invite locals to stay apprised on opening news by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
 
In the mean time, Waters and Rice noted Milkman has three upcoming events: a tasting at Bocktown in Robinson on April 25, a tasting at Bocktown in Monaca on April 29 and a beer dinner at Tender in Lawrenceville on April 30.
 
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Milkman Brewing Company, Justin Waters, Jamie Rice

Attack Theatre spotlights underutilized buildings at The Dirty Ball

The Attack Theatre is hosting their annual fundraiser performance event The Dirty Ball, Saturday April 12 in South Side’s Jane Street Warehouse — keeping in their tradition of using underutilized buildings for the event.
 
“Attack Theatre has a long history of going into new and interesting spaces,” said Tom Hughes, Attack Theatre marketing and special events associate, about the dance company’s ability to draw inspiration from unlikely places. He noted performances from street corners to theater stages.
                                                                                                                                 
Attack also has a record of hosting The Dirty Ball in vacant or developing spaces and showcasing the location’s potential.
 
The first Dirty Ball in 2006 was held in an underutilized 9th Street spot, the event was also held there in 2007. Today, this building is in use as the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School. And, this isn’t the only site that has been renovated post- Dirty Ball.
 
In 2008, Attack spotlighted the Pennsylvania Macaroni Warehouse, which has since become the Pitt Ohio Express. Before it was Goodwill of Southwest Pennsylvania, the 2009 Dirty Ball was hosted in the building then known as the 51st Street Business and Tech Center. The recently opened Pittsburgh Public Market — near Attack’s Strip District office — was home to the 2012 Dirty Ball when it was still an underused space.
 
Hughes explained that within a year or two of a Dirty Ball, the site becomes permanently occupied. Making it a rarity for the ball to be held in the same place twice.
 
“Every year it becomes a little more difficult,” Hughes said about the search for an up and coming locale.  “That might be bad for Attack Theatre, but it is good for Pittsburgh.”
 
Hughes joked that this search is a rewarding one and even called it a “game.”
 
“We really show the potential of every space,” Hughes said about efforts to attract attention to a venue.
 
He added that the company also draws inspiration from the changing location, incorporating different architecture into the night’s performances. Last year, he noted that a dancer was able to climb in the South Side’s Mary Street Clock Building — incorporating another level to the performance.
 
This year, Hughes noted they will be utilizing the “big, beautiful” Jane Street Warehouse to create a one-night only nightclub with installations, games, dance performances and music by TITLE TOWN Soul & Funk.
 
“We always say to expect the unexpected,” Hughes said.
 
Tickets to The Dirty Ball can be purchased online at www.attacktheatre.com/tdb14

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Tom Hughes, Attack Theatre

Food & Wine magazine spotlights Pittsburgh twice

Last week, Food & Wine magazine named Justin Severino, chef and owner at Cure in Lawrenceville, the People’s 2014 Best New Chef, Mid-Atlantic region.
 
“We're obviously thrilled,” Severino said. “It's always great to be recognized for your hard work, and it feels really good to win as a Pittsburgh chef going up against some of the big names from Philly and DC.”
 
Severino and Cure have won a myriad of honors. Severino was a 2014 James Beard Foundation award nominee for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic and he was awarded Pittsburgh Magazine Star Chef 2013. In 2012, Cure was named one of the Top 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit magazine. The restaurant was also selected as one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 Best Restaurants in 2012.  
 
This time, patrons were the judge. Foodies were invited to vote for their favorite chefs on Food & Wine’s website. Severino was selected by popular vote.
 
“The Pittsburgh community has been wonderful, and this win would have been impossible without them,” he said. “It's very gratifying to see Pittsburgh start to get some national recognition as a real food city. It's deserved it for a while — we couldn't do what we do at Cure, or any of the city's other great restaurants, without a strong community of sophisticated diners.”
 
Food & Wine also recently recognized Café Phipps at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens as one of the top museum resta urants in the country. Food & Wine noted the café’s green mission.The article states, “Chef Stephanie Gelberd often sources ingredients from the conservatory's edible garden.”
 
Richard Piacentini, Phipps Executive Director, said the café tries to stay as “green as possible” while also “serving great food.”
 
He said the restaurant composts, does not sell bottled water, uses real or compostable silverware and serves local (sometimes fresh from the garden) and organic food. The Café Phipps is a three star green certified restaurant — one of two certified green restaurants in Pittsburgh, according to Piacentini.  

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Justin Severino, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership celebrates 20 years by planning for the future

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hosted their 20th Anniversary Annual Meeting April 1, touting the development of Downtown and their ongoing neighborhood projects.
 
Governor Tom Corbett provided opening remarks at the event, held downtown at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, about the investments the state has made in Downtown and how these ventures have positioned Downtown Pittsburgh to be a competitive central business district.
 
“Pittsburgh continues to see renaissances; evolving, growing and becoming a model for other cities,” Corbett said.  
 
Mayor William Peduto provided the keynote presentation, speaking about his vision for the future of Downtown Pittsburgh. His remarks focused on several areas: the revitalization of the Smithfield Street Corridor, his commitment to attract 20,000 new residents to Pittsburgh and the importance of a multi-modal transit system serving the city. The mayor announced plans to create the city’s first protected bike lane later this year and news of Bike Share coming soon to Downtown.
 
In celebration of the PDP’s 20th anniversary, a weeklong series of events are being planned for the week of July 15 through July 21. This celebration will include special editions of some of the PDP’s most popular summer activities, like Christmas in July at the Market Square Farmers Market. There will also be outdoor activities including a member’s day at PNC Park, a Project Pop Up Fashion Market highlighting the local retail scene and a partnership with national fitness-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica offering free outdoor yoga classes for 13 weeks in Market Square on Sundays throughout the summer. The PDP will also produce a series of public film screenings in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
 
The annual report also highlighted many PDP programs and services. The PDP Clean Team provided 32,816 labor hours, including the removal of 1.291 million pounds of trash and 3,080 instances of graffiti; the PDP Street Team addressed 320 panhandling incidents, nearly doubling the number of homeless outreach contacts over the previous year with 1,286 occurrences; and, the PDP Volunteer Program welcomed 1,842 volunteers who performed 6,005 volunteer hours.  

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
 

Throwback Thursday: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Though its Northside campus has since expanded, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s original building has a storied past. 
 
When the museum opened in 1983, it was located in the lower level of the historic Allegheny Post Office Building, constructed in 1897. The Children’s Museum shared the building with the organization that saved the site from demolition, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, according to the museum’s deputy director Chris Siefert.
 
“The area has a lot of history because it used to be the center of Allegheny City,” Siefert said. Allegheny was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907.
 
Siefert explained that young preservationists, who later created the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, saved the Allegheny Post Office Building in the ‘60s — after 500 Allegheny City buildings were demolished. In 1987, the conservation group expanded and deeded the building to the Children’s Museum, which has continued to grow.
 
The Post Office Building was located across the street from Buhl Planetarium, constructed in the 1930s. When the planetarium was vacated by the Carnegie Science Center in 1991, the Children’s Museum worked with the city to expand their campus and connect the two historic buildings. This expansion opened in 2004, Siefert said.
 
The 115 plus year-old building has some historic holdovers. Siefert pointed out the museum’s post office architecture, with Greek columns, dentils and a rotunda.
 
Siefert said while the building was in use as a post office, the dome was restricted — the public had to stay on its perimeter. This rotunda still has an original safe door, though today it does not function as a safe and is permanently sealed.
 
This post is the first in a “Throwback Thursday” series highlighting Pittsburgh’s revitalized historic buildings. 

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Chris Siefert, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh 

Bloomfield Saturday Market will launch next month with local product and handmade crafts

The Bloomfield Development Corporation will launch The Bloomfield Saturday market next month. The fresh event will boast local produce, handcrafted products and entertainment geared towards a regional audience.

The market, set to launch May 31, will be held every Saturday until November from 8AM to 1PM at 5050 Liberty Avenue, which is a parking lot owned by West Penn Hospital. 

"The Bloomfield Saturday Market will be a great event, while also providing residents with the opportunity to purchase good, healthy food," said BDC board chairperson Joey Vallarian. "Community health, both the health of the brick and mortar neighborhood as well as the health of its residents, is very important to the BDC, and we think the Bloomfield Saturday Market will help accomplish these goals."
 
Christina Howell, BDC program manager, called the market “eclectic and lively” with vendors who create and package their own food — teas, olive oils, baked goods — in addition to standard farmers market fare. There will also be jewelers and artists selling handmade goods.
 
The market will also feature music and dance performances, health screenings, nutrition information, cooking demonstrations and healthy recipes that can be made from the week’s featured food items. Howell noted that she is also working on a program where teens can harvest urban farms and then sell their fruits at the market.
 
Howell said she hopes to foster a community atmosphere where market-goers can sit and stay awhile. She added that the focus on health, nutrition and access to local produce aid in a healthier Bloomfield.
 
The BDC is currently accepting applications from farmers and vendors for the Saturday Market. Interested vendors should visit www.bloomfieldsaturdaymarket.org or contact Howell at christina@bloomfieldnow.com or 412-708-1277. 

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Bloomfield Development Corporation, Christina Howell
 

Mergers result in the closure of three churches

Dwindling congregants and financial concerns have led to the closure of three Catholic churches, effective April 28.
 
According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Holy Cross Parish in East Pittsburgh will merge into Good Shepherd Parish in Braddock. At that time, the two church buildings now in use by Holy Cross Parish, Saint Helen and Saint William, will close.
 
Good Shepherd parish will retain its name and its current pastor, Father Albert Semler. Father Miroslaus Wojcicki, the current pastor of Holy Cross, will be reassigned.
 
Only six months after Bishop David Zubik assessed the need for a Catholic Parish in Monongahela, he announced that there will be one parish with one church building on Main Street. This merger will result in the permanent closure of Saint Anthony Church.
 
In 2012, the Holy Cross Parish had one baptism and 19 funerals, and that trend was unlikely to reverse according to the Diocese. The general population of the territories of Holy Cross and Good Shepherd has declined 21 percent since the 2000 census.
 
The merged parish will have 1,744 registered parishioners. Holy Cross currently has 346 registered members and Good Shepherd has 1,398. The Diocese of Pittsburgh currently has one parish priest for every 2,800 parishioners, which was one of several reasons for the merger.

With a total of three new closures, Pittsburgh is no stranger to vacant church buildings. According to the Diocese's website, more than 130 church properties have been sold since 2003. 

Some of these sites, with approval from the Diocese, have gone on to be transformed into residential properties, breweries and more.

"Different buildings have different feels and configurations and some may lend to  dining venues, some may lend themselves to art galleries, some may be good for a banquet facility, some may work for music studios and some may work for housing," said Sean Casey, owner of The Church Brew Works, a repurposed church on Penn Avenue. Casey also  purchased St. Kieran's in Lawrenceville last year, which will be converted into residential property. 

A closed church building remains the property of the parish and it is up to the parish to determine the fate of the building, explained John Flaherty, Secretary for Parish Life at the Diocese of Pittsburgh. 

"They can mothball the building against some future use, demolish the building, lease it, sell it or re-use it for some other parish need," he said. "The Diocesan bishop would have to approve any lease, sale or demolition of the former church building."
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Sean Casey, John Flaherty

Wins Day highlights successful business attraction

The Pittsburgh Re gional Alliance hosted Wins Day on Wednesday, presenting a performance scorecard capturing 302 economic development deals during 2013 — a 12 percent increase in activity over the previous year.
 
This was the PRA’s, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community, seventh Wins Day. The group describes their economic record of Pittsburgh as a “great American comeback story.” The event highlights what makes Pittsburgh an attractive place for business and expansion.
 
Growth was presented across five key sectors: manufacturing, information and communications technology, financial and business services, natural resources and healthcare and life sciences.Though the lines dividing various sectors are sometimes blurred.
 
“A lot of these sectors are intersecting together, that’s really the strength of Pittsburgh,” said Dewitt Peart, PRA president.
 
Manufacturing boasted the most “wins” at 65, which is a rise from the previous year’s scorecard of 59.
 
“Yes, manufacturing is growing,” announced Peart at the downtown event. Elaborating in a Wins Day press release, “The Pittsburgh region still makes things: specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines — to name a few. We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient.”
 
Pittsburgh has historically been a manufacturing hub, but has recently become known for its growth in technology, an emphasis on which crossed all sectors.

“Tech is ubiquitous,” said Wins Day speaker Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.
 
Peart said there are more than 20,000 current job openings in the Pittsburgh region — and more than half of these openings require technology skills and experience. These jobs are not just with tech agencies, but across several industries.
 
This movement was represented with the Wins Day speakers from “winning” area companies whose businesses spanned various disciplines. Development leaders John Thornton (CEO of Astrobotic Technology, Inc.), Jarrod Siket (senior vice president and general manager of marketing at Netronome), Tony Dodds (Ness Technologies vice president finance and controller) and Patrick Colletti (president of Net Health) spoke about the evolution of their organizations.
 
These testimonials gave insight to the ideas and products coming out of Pittsburgh from medical software to communications technology to the moon — Astrobotic is in a race to the moon with the Google Lunar X Prize.
 
Companies like the ones featured at Wins Day may have international reach —Astrobotic is working with multiple other countries and Ness is an Israeli-headquartered global corporation — but homegrown talent was a theme all speakers addressed, describing the rich pool of candidates graduating from Pittsburgh universities.
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Audrey Russo, Dewitt Peart, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

New branch of Three Rivers Heritage Trail to connect three municipalities

The Pittsburgh City Council recently approved plans for a mile-long river trail connecting three municipalities. The plan is a result of collaboration between the Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Friends of the Riverfront and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
 
The one-mile leg will run along the river from Aspinwall through the PWSA property, then it will cross UPMC’s Lighthouse Pointe retirement community and continue through O’Hara’s Chapel Harbor development. 
 
 “A mile is a good win for the public and for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail,” said Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, about how the group has been eyeing this site since 2010.
 
Friends of the Riverfront, which has led the creation of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail throughout the region since its inception in 1991, currently boasts 25 miles of trail — with more under development.  Baxter said the organization’s main program is the development of the riverfronts for public use and access. He explained that the trail is multi-use for walkers and bikers, transportation and recreation.
 
“We are actually looking at both banks of all three rivers throughout the county,” he said.  Baxter added that the new corridor created an opportunity for “great” partnerships with Aspinwall Riverfront Park and PWSA.
 
The new corridor on PWSA property was seen as an ideal location for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, though planning and design for the addition needed time to ensure that the integrity of the water supply would not be jeopardized by allowing limited public access. Baxter said appropriate fencing and safety precautions are being implemented so as not to impede PWSA operation.
 
Construction is expected to start sometime this summer; and, if work goes as planned, Baxter said the new corridor could be completed in two months. He welcomed Pittsburgh residents to track trail status at friendsoftheriverfront.org.

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Thomas Baxter, Aspinwall Riverfront Park

New bike shop in the Strip aims to make pedaling around PGH more accessible

Kindred Cycles, the new full service bicycle shop in the Strip District, will open next week. The closest bicycle shop to the center of Downtown Pittsburgh and three blocks from the Strip District Trail, Kindred Cycles specializes in commuter and folding bikes as well as repair and maintenance.

Owners Katharine Jordan and Aaron Stein have a mission of love and support for people using pedal power. With more than a decade of combined professional experience wrenching, they see an opportunity to include average Pittsburghers in the growing bike-riding community.

“More and more people are realizing that biking puts a smile on your face. The best trip is one that I would have used my car for,” gushes Aaron. “When you bike you see the neighborhood differently.”

Kindred Cycles hopes to grow with the riding community by promoting accessibility for new riders through programs like Positive Spin, partnering with local businesses, and eventually organizing classes and group rides.

“We want to encourage the average Pittsburgher to bike by giving everyone access to a friendly and inclusive community-driven bike shop,” Katharine summarizes.

Kindred Cycles fits like a true spoke in Pittsburgh’s continuing transportation evolution. Last month, Mayor Bill Peduto gave the opening address at the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. and announced that the PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project selected Pittsburgh to develop protected bike lanes. The Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership will start this summer. The David L. Lawrence Convention Center will host the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place National Conference in the autumn.
 
Writer: Adam Schøtt Hovne
Sources: Katharine Jordan and Aaron Stein

Eat + Drink: Wigle's 92 Neighborhoods series, a beer dinner at the Frick and vegan food in Aspinwall

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly roundup of epic local nommz.

Wigle launching neighborhoods series
It’s a busy time for the folks at Wigle Whiskey. Later this month, their aged rye will become the first Wigle product to hit shelves in Pennsylvania’s state stores. Though Wigle may be expanding their reach, the family-owned distillery hasn’t forgotten its mission to bring whiskey to Pittsburgh.

On Friday, March 21, Wigle will host the first installment of its 92 Neighborhoods Series with an evening focused on the history, food, art and culture of East Liberty.

“We have so many great partners in East Liberty. It’s a neighborhood ripe for celebration,” says Wigle co-owner Meredith Grelli. “Our goal is to have one of these every month with a different neighborhood with the goal of celebrating each neighborhood in the city.”

Kevin Sousa will be on-hand with food from his East Liberty restaurants, Station Street Food and Union Pig & Chicken, and will talk about his approach to starting fresh businesses in East Liberty.

“I’m going to give a short presentation and then it’ll be an open discussion,” he says.

Local merchants Olive & Marlowe, which recently moved from the old Pittsburgh Public Market into a new retail space in Indigo Square, will also attend, along with a plethora of East-Liberty-related organizations.

As for the fare he’ll be serving up, Sousa is holding off on planning a menu until he has a better idea of what the weather will be like.

“If it’s chillier, it will lean more toward the barbecue end,” he says.

Tickets to the East Liberty celebration at Wigle cost $20 and are available through the distillery’s website.

Café at the Frick holding craft beer dinner
The Café at the Frick, the on-site restaurant at the Frick Art & Historical Center and one of Pittsburgh’s hidden gems, will hold a craft beer dinner on Thursday, March 20.

The Café will stage one seating, at 7PM, and pair beers from Fat Head’s in North Olmstead, Ohio with a five-course tasting menu prepared by the Frick’s Executive Chef Seth Bailey.

“We will be pairing each course with a different Fat Head’s beer selection,” Bailey says, adding that among the courses, diners can expect a shrimp crème brûlée with a sweet onion sugar.

Tickets for the dinner are $70, which includes both tax and gratuity. You can purchase them by calling 412-371-0600.

Randita’s expanding to Aspinwall
Randita’s Grill, the Saxonburg-based vegan restaurant and catering service which has become immensely popular since its humble food-truck beginnings in May of 2012, will open a second location in Aspinwall this year.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Meredith Grelli, Kevin Sousa, Seth Bailey
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