Green Playce-let: Braddock

Braddock is a small town with a lot of heart – from engaged and loving residents, an exciting new civic plaza, a thriving library, a robust arts community, and inspiring small businesses, Braddock is a special place.  However, a staggering 44% of land in Braddock is vacant. This level of blight has serious impacts on the environmental, social, and economic health of any community. From lower property values, community dissatisfaction, and waste accumulation, vacancy at this scale can be detrimental to community health. Grounded sees this obstacle of vacant land as an opportunity for community investment and purpose.

Free Store 15104

Opened in 2012 by Gisele Fetterman, Free Store 15104 is a true complement to Grounded’s mission to use otherwise neglected or wasted materials/spaces as community assets. The Free Store, operated by volunteers out of three shipping containers on a vacant lot,  collects goods from retailers that would normally be thrown away as surplus waste and instead donates them to families in need.

In 2018, the East End-based Girl Scout Troop 53662 partnered with the Free Store for the troop’s Silver Award service project, with the goal to create a dedicated space for children to play while family members take advantage of the Free Store resource. Grounded serves as the advisor on this mini Green Playce project (a “Green Playce-let”) at the Braddock Free Store. The Braddock Green Playce-let, which the troop will also include improvements to the flow and organization of the store, making it easier for volunteers, donors, and patrons to utilize the space.

Built by Girls

Through this project, Troop 53662 is learning the Grounded Strategies process for enabling sustainable community change. They will serve as our “boots on the ground” every step of the way:


As an investigatory step, Troop 53662 spent a day surveying parents and children outside of the Free Store to get feedback about what sorts of amenities they’d like to see as part of the Green Playce. Using that input, as well as data from a troop design charrette, Grounded will be creating design options that the Girl Scouts will take back to the community for input.


With designs confirmed by volunteers and patrons of the Free Store, the troop, friends and neighbors of the Free Store, and U. S. Steel employees are lending their hands to create a space that is fun, efficient, and able to be enjoyed for years to come.


Follow along for more updates!