Green Toolbox

The Hilltop Alliance Green ToolBox was completed in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to offer guidance to communities that are interested in developing a comprehensive approach to greening strategies, with guidance on costs, timing, and prioritization to help make sure efforts are doable, sensible and affordable.

The ToolBox provides a structure for gathering data, analyzing the information,
soliciting and processing input from a variety of stakeholders and developing a plan of action tailored to specific communities. The ToolBox document offers a variety of information about the specific benefits of different types of greening, detail s about current best practices for various green strategies, costs of different approaches to greening and some guidelines for ranking and choosing among different options. All of these tools are used with the assistance of an advisory group that brings a local perspective to the work. The outcome of using the ToolBox process is a plan of action designed to support local efforts to reach a comprehensively greener future.

The specific goals of the Hilltop Green ToolBox have been to develop a set of
recommendations and an action plan outlining approaches to the recommended
actions. The action plan is intended to provide support and context for other
important initiatives in the Hilltop communities including youth development,
housing assessment, commercial revitalization and others. In particular, this process was designed to complement other elements of a comprehensive Quality of Life Plan to address a variety of factors indicating the livability of the Hilltop Communities.

The Hilltop Alliance, founded in 2010, was created to foster cooperation and coordination of community improvement efforts among the ten (recently expanded to twelve) communities designated as the “Hilltop” area. This report focuses on the original ten neighborhoods: Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Bon Air, Carrick, Knoxville, Mt. Oliver Borough, Mt. Oliver (city), and St. Clair. Its mission is to: “bring together, serve as a resource, and promote a common vision within the Hilltop neighborhoods.”

To support the ToolBox process, a team of representatives from the original ten
member neighborhoods was assembled and met five times to guide and participate in the assessment, development of options and review of recommendations. Each meeting was held in a different community location to make it as easy as possible for people to attend. Representatives of the City Planning department attended many meetings to provide their perspective. Representatives of the Mayor’s office attended one meeting to review recommendations. The final meeting was held with the board of the Alliance
as well as ToolBox team members, to discuss final recommendations.
Between meetings the ToolBox technical team made numerous vi sits to the 1 0
communities, vi siting for tours by vehicle, on foot and bicycle. The team was
comprised of a city planner, an expert on community revitalization, an urban
forester, a streetscapes expert, a community specialist and a community data analyst.

All recommendations are accompanied by suggestions of good partners and possible funding for implementation. A level of effort required i s noted and key steps needed to assure sustainability are al so included. As the Alliance or its constituent communities decide to act on recommendations, the ToolBox will provide the starting point for action.