Opening Green Playces: Hilltop


Last week in partnership with The Brashear Association’s Allentown Learning and Engagement Center, we successfully opened our third Green Playce! Every Green Playce is unique, and Green Playces: Hilltop is no exception. Nestled between two buildings, the site included a strip of pavement and a overgrown sloped hillside. We started to help design the Playce about six months ago, based on the input from the kids in ALEC’s after school program. Their ideas for the space included pizza shops, roller coasters, and active play spaces. The kids were very interested in having separate active and passive spaces, so that they could choose between playing on the paved section and having a peaceful, quiet space to enjoy in the upper portion of the hillside.

Over the summer we had help from many members of the community, as well as volunteers from American Eagle, AE Works, GTECH’s Social Capital Council, and AmeriCorps, to build out the site. The hillside of the completed Green Playce includes a human sized birds nest with stump seats for reading or hanging out, a super cool slide, a mulch pathway surrounded by all sorts of native plants, and a rain garden that was made possible by funding from the Allegheny County Conservation District. The pavement remains open for active play like four square, but now also includes a few custom designed and built rolling planters, window seed starter boxes, a pizza garden, shade sails, a stormwater planter, and – coming soon – an art wall!

Last week we had the “wood-cutting” ceremony to officially open the Green Playce. We were joined by community members, the Hilltop YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Hilltop Alliance, families of ALEC kids, Allegheny County Councilman Tom Baker, representation from our wonderful Funders – the Heinz Endowments (who also really seemed to enjoy the slide!), and nearly 40 kids, most of whom made a direct beeline for the slide! It was a great afternoon in a great space. We are so proud to have been part of it’s creation!

GTECH plans to dedicate our 4th Green Playce in McKeesport in the next few weeks!  Check back on our website for the opening dedication of our Green Playces Wilkinsburg site in the coming weeks and for volunteer opportunities on our Hill District site.



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