Green Playces: Hilltop

About Green Playces: Hilltop

Through Green Playces Hilltop, Grounded (working as GTECH) worked with local partners in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop to transform a vacant lot into a youth-focused space. The primary partner for the project was the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center (ALEC) which is run through the Brashear Association. For more information on the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center, check out this video they made.

Earlier this year, the lot adjacent to the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center was not a friendly space for kids. Much of the lot was empty pavement, and the back of the space was a slope covered in invasive weeds. The kids at ALEC worked with Grounded to redesign the lot as a creative and engaging space for all kinds of play and learning.

The flat, paved area of the lot has now been transformed into a space for growing vegetables and active play. The upper, sloped are of the site has a kid-sized nest for reading, and a slide. Grounded also received a grant from Allegheny County Conservation District to create a rain garden to capture stormwater on the site and run educational events about stormwater.  To date Grounded has hosted three environmental education sessions reaching 90 kids. Scroll down to see photos of the lot’s transformation and events held there.

Through the design and implementation of Green Playces Hilltop, 11 organizations were engaged, including the Hilltop Alliance, Venture Outdoors, APOST, and the South Hills Mens Group.  The site also engaged 187 people, including 76 youth, as volunteers and participants in events.


Our partnership with [Grounded's] Green Playce program has allowed us to significantly improve access to green space and enhance the quality of our programming. It allows us to offer a whole new component of environmental education, with the opportunity to explore, play, and learn about native plants, pollinators, gardening, healthy food choices, and much more.

Amber RookeProject Coordinator, ALEC

This project is one of six Green Playces projects around the county. If you are interested in learning more about Green Playces, please contact us.

Check out the blog post written by ALEC, as well as the recap blog from Grounded.

Thanks to all those who helped make this project possible, and we look forward to continuing our work in the Hilltop neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.