Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Redevelopment Proposed for Sheraden Parks

The draft plan of OpenSpacePGH, the City’s open space, parks and recreation planning effort, is now available for review and comment until June 7. Paper copies are also available at all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations. The draft plan represents public input from nearly 3,000 residents and experts in the field, including PCRG. OpenSpacePGH is part of PlanPGH, the City's 25-year comprehensive growth plan, which includes 12 components and is projected to be completed in 2015.

In addition to being able to comment online, there are 4 remaining public meetings scheduled throughout the City. The final public meetings – which are free and open to the public – will educate residents on the findings of the draft plan, and inform them about how they can use the plan to help create change in their neighborhoods. Residents are also encouraged to share ideas about how to best set priorities for open space programs in various neighborhoods across the city.

The DRAFT OpenSpacePGH Plan proposes Greenway expansion
Sheraden residents should take note, as major proposals for the neighborhood are outlined in the draft plan. Sheraden park is designated as a Signature Site. From the plan -

Signature sites are prioritized community parks with the greatest potential to fill gaps in the green premium, provide better and more diverse recreation experiences, and focus investment. Signature sites should receive a higher level of capital and maintenance funding than other community parks, have site-specific programming, and incorporate design features to highlight their specific identities. Regional scale recreation facilities can be targeted for signature community parks, as well as community scale recreation facilities.

This translates into proposed redevelopment and expansion of the park to connect it with McGonigle Park and the Skate Park, the development of a new park Master Plan, and an evaluation and overhaul of park facilities. It is estimated that this potential investment into the park will exceed $8 million.

The Plan also discusses Mutual Park, recommending possible relocation to better serve Crafton Heights residents be considered before planning for any future investment. Designation of a significant portion of vacant hillside property in Sheraden as Greenway is also proposed.

All interested Sheraden residents are highly encouraged to participate in this important planning process, as these documents will directly impact community development in your neighborhood for the next 25 years! Please take some time to read through the draft plan and enter comments and feedback.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Enduring Community Assets

Looking down Ashlyn from Sherwood, 1908
Same view, 2013

The above left photo was taken by the Pittsburgh Public Works Department in 1908 at the intersection of Ashlyn and Sherwood. Only a couple of homes existed on Ashlyn then. The photo is part of the Pittsburgh City Photographer collection housed on the Historic Pittsburgh website, linked above. There are many similar photos of Sheraden intersections from this time, as it appears a lot of infrastructure was being constructed, like sewers and paved streets. The photo on the right is the same view today, 105 years later.

In the left of the photos you can see an old, wood-framed church building (the oldest in Sheraden). It's housed several different congregations over the years and is currently the Pneuma Center for Biblical Guidance. The church leadership has generously provided office space for both NeighborWorks and Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, allowing these agencies to have a consistent physical presence in the Sheraden community while they work towards its revitalization.

It also gives residents free and convenient access to important services right in their own neighborhood, like homeownership counseling, foreclosure prevention and mitigation, and credit repair. To schedule a free consultation with a trained and federally certified housing counselor in Sheraden, please contact NeighborWorks at 412.281.9773.

It's really neat to think that this little wood building is still functioning as a community asset after all these years!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sheraden in 1977

In 1977, the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Alliance (a coalition of neighborhood organizations formed in 1969 and no longer in existence), spearheaded a project aimed at gathering important community information and feedback. The result was the release of a document called the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Atlas.

1977 Sheraden Neighborhood Boundaries, defined by residents

It's notable for using resident input to define Pittsburgh's neighborhood boundaries and for laying the foundation of a neighborhood information system. Today, you can easily access all sorts of community information online through the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System (PNCIS).

You can read the Sheraden section of the 1977 Atlas to get an idea of how residents felt about their neighborhood nearly 40 years ago, when the top three issues of concern were poor roads, dog litter, and stray dogs.