New name in the future for the Grandview Scenic Byway Park
Mount Washington's system of parks is considered to be wonderful, "a jewel in Pittsburgh's crown," by neighborhood residents, but - it has a lousy name.
There are plans to rename the Grandview Scenic Byway Park to something shorter and more memorable. A city-wide naming competition is being planned and coordinated with Visit Pittsburgh and CitiParks.
News about the contest was included as part of the programming and strategic plan update given by J.T. Smith, board president, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, at the organization's forum meeting on April 16.
Among the other community news reported by Mr. Smith was the planned grand opening of the Pittsburgh Boxing Club set for 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. April 25 at the Dilworth Shelter House in Mount Washington Park. The shelter is located on Norton Street, between Ennis and Kuhn Streets.
The event will include open sparring at 12:30 p.m. and registration and open house at 1:30 p.m. The club is intended for boys and girls, men and women, age 8 and up.
To register, come to the shelter 6 – 8 p.m. April 20 –24 or come to the grand opening. Bring a parent or guardian (if under 18), a birth certificate, two current photos and a $35 check made out to Pittsburgh Boxing Club to pay for the annual registration fee.
Mr. Smith said 18 business owners attended MWCDC sponsored panel discussions to learn about technical assistance and financial options available. They received advice from the Community Technical Assistance Center, the Small Business Development Center and the URA.
"We have been trying to recruit businesses. (Program Manager) Greg Panza has been visiting more businesses to attract them to move up here," Executive Director Chris Beichner said.
Mr. Smith said MWCDC representatives met with the URA, Parking Authority, Mayor's Office and Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith to discuss plans for a new public parking lot on Southern Avenue.
MWCDC, along with the League of Women Voters and West Pittsburgh Partnership, are sponsoring a District 2 Candidates Forum at 7 p.m. May 12 at the Mount Washington Senior Center. Candidates Georgia Blotzer, Rob Frank and Ms. Kail-Smith are expected to attend.
The MWCDC is considering hiring a consultant to work on a trail feasibility plan based both on recommendations in the master plan for the park and discussions at recent focus group sessions held for residents. The MWCDC may also hire a green space coordinator to assist Park Resource Manager Ilyssa Manspeizer.
The MWCDC is also working with Pittsburgh DARE, local churches, Carnegie Library and others to provide more varied programming for neighborhood youth.
Councilwoman Kail-Smith told the group she is working on legislation that would require developers to restore an area after the permits have expired and after a certain amount of time has lapsed. Some MWCDC members are upset with a local developer who they claim has left an undeveloped area as an eyesore for several years.
"I don't understand how he kept reapplying and getting his application renewed," the councilwoman said. "Welcome to politics," an attendee responded.
"I'm far from being anti-development," board vice president Frank Valenta said, adding that he was just concerned over the welfare of the community.
"I've only been there (on council) for six weeks. I wish it had been six years," Ms. Kail-Smith said.
"We can't change the past but we can change the future," Mr. Smith said.
Boris Weinstein, who calls himself "the Litter Czar," also addressed the group. "You too can be a litter czar," he said.
Mr. Weinstein, who founded the group Citizens Against Litter, said he expected 15,000 volunteers from local neighborhoods and neighboring counties to participate in "Earth Day Redd Ups on April 22 (Earth Day), April 24 (Arbor Day) and April 25 (The Great Pennsylvania Clean-Up). "Kids make up half of the volunteers," he said.
Citizens Against Litter representatives have been meeting with local leaders in various communities during the past six months to organize the clean-ups. The group has worked with PA Resources Council, Allegheny CleanWays, public works departments and PennDot to plan the collection of several hundred tons of bagged litter.
He said he started picking up litter on certain Shadyside streets in 2004. He wrote an article for a newspaper about it and received two dozen phone calls from people who wanted to volunteer to help.
"You don't need T-shirts with a logo. All you need are litter bags. The key is to do this on a regular basis."
Mr. Weinstein said volunteers can contact him at 412 688-9120 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next forum meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. May 21 at the Senior Center. Guy Costa and Pat Hassett, of Public Works, are expected to report on the condition of McArdle Roadway.