McKeesport groups reach out with holiday meals

McKeesport's religious and volunteer communities reached out to the city's less fortunate over the weekend, serving holiday lunches and dinners in advance of Thanksgiving. People gathered at ACTION-Housing's McKeesport Downtown Housing facility, Bethlehem Baptist Church, the Salvation Army and Creative Ministries on Saturday and Sunday to share fellowship and home-cooked meals. They came together in thanks as they enjoyed turkey dinners with stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams and sautéed green beans.

Old incline site becomes South Side Slopes park

On her daily walk, Cara Jette takes public steps that connect Welsh Way, near her home in Allentown, to Brosville Street in the South Side Slopes. At the end of the ascent, she crosses a footbridge to get through what used to be a lumpy, weedy, trash-strewn lot that ended with graffiti-covered jersey barriers at the sidewalk.

ReClaim McKeesport ambassadors transform vacant lot

With a Habitat for Humanity construction project on hold, ambassadors in the ReClaim McKeesport initiative are making the most of a Lemon Street lot. GTECH Strategies advisers, who are in McKeesport to take on their first beautification project outside of Pittsburgh this year, guided a handful of McKeesport's newly selected ambassadors through their first project Saturday. “This was a demonstration project to show our new community leaders some of the projects they can do next spring,” GTECH Strategies project manager…

GTECH: Why We’re Working in McKeesport

This fall, 10 McKeesport residents have the opportunity to clean and green vacant lots in their neighborhood. This is GTECH Strategies' first vacant land Ambassador program outside of the City of Pittsburgh. Why did we choose to work with the City of McKeesport to create new community green spaces?

North Side’s vacant parcels surveyed

When three North Siders began counting vacant lots in the area’s 19 neighborhoods last spring, they used the city’s designations to define them and, with help from a nonprofit that focuses on green redevelopment, came up with 5,399. But numbers can mislead: 38 percent of the total is woods; 11 percent comprises side yards people use, legally or not. That takes care of about 50 percent of the North Side’s vacancy. What is left are gardens, little parks and parking…

Local Group Reclaims Vacant Land Through Micro-Grants and Education

Six months ago, the vacant lot next door to Linda Piso’s house in Knoxville was overgrown with weeds and was a haven for drug activity. But Piso has since transformed the lot into a community garden. “Right now I’m picking cucumbers,” Piso said on Saturday. “My garden is completely planted. I have lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and soon I’ll have a watermelon.” With the help of nonprofit GTECH Strategies, Piso planted the garden, created a group gathering area, and…

Runners’ mural to showcase Homewood during marathon

Long after the bands, cheerleaders and crowds disperse from neighborhood celebrations during the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, Homewood will have made a more lasting tribute. A work of public art, made in part from trash that will be collected before the marathon, will be created during the May 4 race -- between mile 17 and 18 -- in a city-owned lot at North Lang and Frankstown avenues. It will be a mural collage depicting three runners symbolically. Officials from…

Five standout ways Pittsburgh groups are advancing communities

Majora Carter, known internationally as the woman who "greened the ghetto" in New York City, was in Pittsburgh for the Inspire Speakers Series, a program presented by the Green Building Alliance and Phipps Conservancy and Botanical Gardens. Carter's rapid rise to fame grew out of her stalwart determination to turn around her Hunts Point neighborhood in the South Bronx, a community wallowing in urban blight, pollution and crime.