South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

South Side Slopes prepares for Elm Street, StepTrek


September 26, 2006

Updates on Elm Street funding and StepTrek 2006 were the main topics at the September 19 meeting of the South Sides Slopes Neighborhood Association.

The meeting began with SSSNA President Brad Palmisiano reminding attendees that Zone 3 police Commander RaShall Brackney wants residents to call 911 for any problems in the neighborhood.

Residents can also anonymously fill out the longstanding “silent complaint forms.” However, names are preferred so that if an officer needs more information, he can contact the resident.

An attendee said that after submitting a silent complaint form, four cars where towed from her street.

Next, Judy Dyda, manager of the Elm Street project, said the funded proposal from the Slopes and four other neighborhoods has $220,000 for public realm improvements.

In her brief overview of the program, she said Elm Street districts are residential areas adjacent to designated Main Street districts.

Main Street is the state's downtown revitalization program; in the South Side, the Main Street is East Carson St.

The idea behind the Elm Street program is that healthy neighborhoods can be created when there is a small commercial corridor and a residential area that are well connected.

A single application was submitted to the state to cover portions of five neighborhoods: South Side Slopes, Friendship, East Allegheny, East Liberty and Lawrenceville.

The funding will come from the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development.

An Elm St. committee comprised of SSSNA board members and residents will select projects.

Ms. Dyda said the first major projects will be an updated garden at the 18th St. bend, and a garden at the vacant corner of Monastery and Brosville streets.

Future projects include: streetscape improvements; upgraded lights for 10th St. and 15th St. footbridges if need be; dump site clean-up; home repairs and facade improvements; memorial restoration; and step and railing repairs.

She said she told the city Dept. of Public Works to spend the money allocated for the Slopes in those Slopes areas outside the Elm St. district. Program funds would take care of the area within the Elm St. district.

“Dream. Think of what you would like in this neighborhood to make it better,” she said.

She then distributed 22-question surveys regarding issues and concerns of the neighborhood. Attendees were asked to complete one, and to give some to neighbors.

To receive a survey, contact the SSSNA at 412-488-0486, or go to:

Next, Bev Boggio issued a call for volunteers for the upcoming StepTrek 2006 on Sunday, Oct. 1, a Steeler bye week.

A Trek volunteer meeting will be held on September 28 at 7 p.m. at 126 Pius St.

Volunteers are needed at StepTrek to stuff complimentary bags, erect tents, staff one of four water stations, distribute tee-shirts, field questions about the neighborhood and more.

Volunteers are also sought to walk StepTrek's two routes on September 30 to clean up trash. Flyers about the event will be placed on houses along the route.

Participants in the clean-up should gather at the UPMC South Side parking lot, 21st and Josephine streets, at 9 a.m.

To volunteer, email StepTrek@SouthSideSlopes. org, or call 412-488-0486.

The annual StepTrek, a non-competitive, self-guided walking tour of the Slopes, will begin at noon. Participants should gather at the UPMC South Side parking lot, 21st and Josephine streets.

The cost is $10 per person over age 12. Payment may be made at the event, although only pre-registration by September 30 guarantees a free tee-shirt, pedometer, and raffle ticket for giveaways from local businesses.

Otherwise, pedometers, for keeping track of your steps along the trek, may be purchased at the starting area for a $5 cash donation.

While children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult, they must be registered.

StepTrekers can choose from three courses: one, on the westerly side of 18th St .; another, on the easterly side of 18th St .; and the third, a “church route:” a shorter, less aggressive route that covers the churches.

Ms. Boggio said StepTrek owes much to the efforts of Bob Kripp, who creates the graphic designs for the booklet and tee-shirts.

She also credited these board members: Betty Kripp, who coordinates the realtors and artists; Claudia Hart, the event's treasurer; and Joe Balaban, who does the writing and media relations.

The event's presenting sponsor for the fifth year is Duquesne Light. New sponsors are Station Square, and UPMC Imaging.

This year's theme is “Steps and the City.”

The honorary chairperson is artist Johno Prascak, whose new painting of Slopes steps will be used on this year's StepTrek tee-shirt. Also, his studio at 1705 Arlington Ave. will be on the Gold Course.

A wind ensemble band will be performing.

All proceeds benefit the SSSNA.

For updates on StepTrek, see

The next meeting will be held on October 17 at 7 p.m. in the St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center. Elections for board positions will be held.

Also, as a public service, several counseling agencies will be on hand to inform residents of their services.


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