Welcome GSI Community Liaisons

How can the Pittsburgh region maximize community benefit associated with Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) investments?

We just launched the GTECH GSI project in the Woods Run (O-27) sewershed which seeks to apply a methodology to do just this – engage residents in shaping land use decisions related to upcoming stormwater infrastructure investments, so that community benefit can be maximized.

Our Foundation: Work Closely with the Community

As part of this project, we’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with 4 residents from the Woods Run / O-27 neighborhoods of Brighton Heights, Marshall-Shadeland, Observatory Hill, and Perry Hilltop.  These residents will work as Community Liaisons to help maximize outreach and resident input, share educational resources with neighbors, and ensure our process is customized to the needs of each neighborhood.

Read more about the Community Liaisons below:

fb_img_1479423349363Adam Hnatkovich

Neighborhood: Brighton Heights

Favorite Thing About Neighborhood: Brighton Heights has consistent and strong citizen involvement in community projects, including neighborhood clean-up and community gardening projects. Brighton Heights is also culturally diverse.

Why are you excited about this project? This is a great opportunity for Brighton Heights  to improve the quality of existing green spaces and to create new green spaces that assist in stormwater management. This project also provides a great opportunity for residents to contribute to planning discussions, where they can improve the aesthetic quality and ecological integrity of their neighborhood.

What are ways that you are currently involved in your neighborhood? I am a member of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, and in the past, I have been involved in a number of community gardening projects. I am also active in my neighborhood block watch program.  Last year, I started a landscaping and consulting company called Northside Native Landscapes that focuses on the use of native plants in urban landscapes.

Ginger Underwood

Neighborhood: Marshall-Shadeland

What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? I love the diversity of my neighborhood.

Why are you excited about this project? I am excited to learn how this project can enhance my neighborhood by taking a look at the ways stormwater affects foundations and sewage systems in our neighborhood, and how residents can respond to the various issues in our neighborhood. I’m excited about possibly doing a project to enhance what is already going on in the neighborhood such as the new housing that will be coming to Woodland Avenue.

What are ways that you are currently involved in your neighborhood? I am a board member of the Brightwood Civic Group and sit on the Housing Committee. I try to ensure that people are aware of what’s going on in the community by doing community outreach and community engagement activities on a regular basis. I just received a “Free Little Library” and hope to place this in the neighborhood where residents can have access to books and encourage people to read and interact with each other.

Dorrie Smithdorrie-smith

Neighborhood: Observatory Hill

What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? Riverview Park, it’s the focal point of Observatory Hill. Inside the park we celebrate, network, walk the trails, enjoy the dog park with our pooches and on a clear night, we go to the Observatory to gaze at the stars or to watch fireworks.  It’s where my neighbors/residents come together, Riverview is the common bond between the residents.  We are Riverview Park Strong!

Why are you excited about this project? First, this is a learning process for myself as I wasn’t completely aware of stormwater and it’s true effect on society overall.  I’m excited to be able to bring this awareness to the residents of Observatory Hill and hopefully have real dialogue on how we can make a difference in cleaning our water, structuring ideas about our infrastructure and teaching our children about how they can also contribute.

What are ways that you are currently involved in your neighborhood? I’m currently the Vice President of Observatory Hill Inc, our community board organization.  I serve as the Chairperson and Project Lead in the revitalization of our business district along the Perrysville Ave corridor, in addition to Serving as the Board’s Committee Chair for our events.

photo-1Maria Searcy

Neighborhood: Perry Hilltop

What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? The people, and particularly, the children. Northside has been my home for all my life. I was born and raised in Central Northside. My husband and I purchased a home in Perry Hilltop in 2003. I have a passion for education and social justice. I’ve watched my neighborhood (Northside) go through transformations that are not in the best interest, or “healthy”, for it’s most indigenous residents. My work is to change that, especially for African American children.

Why are you excited about this project? Initially, to work in my neighborhood as a community liaison. As I became more familiar with GTECH’s mission for this project, I see the potential to raise awareness about stormwater (erosion, etc.) and how Perry Hilltop residents can be involved in the process. Moreover, I like providing service to my community in meaningful ways!

What are ways that you are currently involved in your neighborhood?  I’m involved in many aspects of education and politics. My husband and I are committee people in our community.  I work closely with the Pittsburgh Public School District on equity. I also do community activism work through philanthropic initiatives (Heinz Endowments, Buhl Foundation, Sprout Fund). I am a youth and parent organizer. Finally, I work as a consultant with the PA Department of Education to promote parent engagement in more meaningful ways in Pittsburgh and throughout the state.  

Stay tuned for project updates!




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