Celebrating Pittsburgh: Rebuilding from the ground up

PITTSBURGH — As our communities change, many urban areas in the city and county are seeing more vacant lots. But a local nonprofit is giving the neighborhood the tools to make a positive change. From areas overgrown with weeds to trash and grass-covered lots, you can find spaces like these across Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The latter has 60,000 vacant lots, with 30,000 in the city. Thousand more lots sit with rundown empty homes or condemned houses. “Just an eyesore, a…

Pittsburgh councilman proposes building urban farm on ‘perfect’ Brookline plot

Cars once again lined up for food bank distributions last week and will again Monday, as an economic and food crisis emanates from the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, Pittsburgh City Council members continued discussing visions for growing crops within every city district. One member brought forth a proposal to build an urban farm on “the perfect piece of property” with a community partner that has “passion.” “If we’re serious about growing food, this is where to do it,” said Councilman Anthony Coghill, who represents…

Pittsburgh Council aiming to turn vacant land into urban gardens

Pittsburgh City Council is considering plans to provide city residents with free fresh produce by ramping up urban farming on vacant land owned by the public. Council on Wednesday will debate three bills designed to facilitate urban agriculture. One would direct the Finance Department to identify vacant properties owned by the city that can be used for urban farming. Another would authorize the hiring of East Liberty-based Grounded Strategies for $45,000 to prepare a 1.2 acre property in Brookline and…

Walkabout: Piano magic made in Braddock

The piano that was played in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — filmed here last year, release date pending — sits in a three-sided shed on what was, before last summer, a vacant lot in Braddock. The Pittsburgh Film Office donated the piano, an upright Shoninger painted yellow. The lot was cleared, graded and recast as a community music space by Gisele Fetterman and Kristen Michaels, founders of the nonprofit For Good Pittsburgh. It…

WPXI Holiday Parade

The 2019 WPXI Holiday Parade presented by Neighborhood Ford Store will march through downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, November 30 starting at 9 a.m. Here are the other featured acts you'll see in this year's parade: >>RELATED: WPXI Holiday Parade Presented by Neighborhood Ford Store to be held on Saturday, Nov. 30 Other Acts 3 River Region Model A Restorers Club - Family hobby antique automobile club for Ford Model as that drives on tour every other weekend during the summer. Allegheny…

Residents Empowered to Turn Vacant Lots Into Green Spaces

Residents Empowered to Turn Vacant Lots Into Green Spaces Meet the people who are in the middle of the project, and see the cool things they've done to get rid of blight, one space at a time. DISCUSSION Posted By Kristen Burns September 19, 2019 It’s been proven that cleaning up vacant lots helps to improve the mental health of people who live in those communities. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to walk outside and see beautiful flowers and…

Turning Forgotten Places into Community Spaces

On today’s program: Grounded works with community members to breathe life into abandoned lots; get to know Shawnee chieftess Nonhelema; changes in Pennsylvania Republican party leadership could impact its approach to the 2020 elections; and a conversation with holiday performers who celebrate Christmas all year round. Turning forgotten places into community spaces (0:00 – 12:30) Vacant and abandoned lots can be an eyesore and even bring down surrounding property values, but Anna Archer, policy project manager at nonprofit Grounded Strategies Pittsburgh,…

Going Green Need Not Be a Grind

There are many easy ways to be easier on the earth, environmental advocates want you to know. You could just give up. Wake up in the morning, read the latest about climate change or trash in the ocean or pollution emissions in our own Mon Valley, and it might seem that the only sensible course of action is to shrug and go about your normal routine, muttering, “There’s nothing I can do about that.” There’s another option, and it need…

Allegheny County names 4 new ‘Live Well’ communities

A municipality, a school district, a nonprofit and an eatery are the latest entities to earn designation as “Allegheny Live Well” communities. On Jan. 29, the county announced Penn Hills, Avonworth School District, Grounded Strategies in Larimer and Azorean Café in Bloomfield are the newest additions to the program. The Live Well program, launched by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in 2014, now includes 62 municipalities, 48 restaurants, 28 workplaces and 16 school districts. Fitzgerald created the program to encourage…

How America’s dying rust belt town can transform into “smart cities” of the future

The death of the American manufacturing sector made ghost towns out of cities across America. In these challenging times, some cities were successful at reinventing themselves and went on to forge new economies and transform their once-sprawling, empty lands into something new, something remarkable. Year after year, Pittsburgh appears on best cities for jobs lists, thanks to its burgeoning tech industry after a desperate decline following the fall of American steel. Then there are other cities, like Detroit, that have…

Leadership Pittsburgh selects 21 nonprofit heads for fellowship

Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. announced Tuesday the names of 21 participants for the organization's Lead Now Pittsburgh fellowship program, which will begin in January. According to a press release from the organization, the 21 participants were selected from nearly 80 nominees recommended by regional leaders. The group will take part in training to teach them leadership skills, collaboration, coaching and new organizational approaches. The program lasts several months and includes multi-day retreats in both Pittsburgh and Oakland, Calif. The latter is…

Can reviving a 120-year-old stream stop dangerous flooding on Pittsburgh’s Washington Boulevard?

Kimberly Griffith and two of her children were driving home after lunch when the rain started to pick up. The day — Aug. 19, 2011 — had already been a rainy one in Pittsburgh. But on that afternoon, another 2 inches of rain fell in one hour. Griffith pulled up to the bottom of Washington Boulevard in a storm with enough force to blow off 60-pound manhole covers. The street filled with 9 feet of rainwater and sewage, and Griffith’s minivan was submerged,…