Pittsburgh has had a great year. The Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl. The Penguins picked up their third Stanley Cup. And national and international media have focused on the city's quality of life as the Group of 20 countries readies to convene here.
To mark the occasion of so many successes, the 2009 Pittsburgh StepTrek pays tribute to or takes trekkers past six South Side Slopes accomplishments on a self-guided tour of the neighborhood that combines photography, historic narrative, sweeping views and several real estate open houses.
Each pre-registered trekker receives a map, a course narrative, commemorative tee shirt and free raffle ticket. With two courses to choose from, participants can choose to walk one or both routes. Presented by sponsor Rudberg Law Offices, LLC, the event begins at noon on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the corner of 21st and Josephine Streets on South Side.
New on the routes this year is a Cor-Ten steel on aluminum pylon installed at the 18th and Josephine Streets Gateway Garden. Designed as a neighborhood welcome sign, it uses solar power for lighting. In addition, the Gold Route passes through South Side Park, where this month approximately 100 volunteers removed invasive knotweed and vines to help make the neighborhood park more accessible to residents.
This year's Honorary Chair is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O'Neill, who has written extensively of Pittsburgh's people and neighborhoods.
Mr. O'Neill's blend of humor and curiosity shows appreciation for the people and places that make Pittsburgh. He will be on hand with his new book, "The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First Century."
Trekkers are encouraged to bring fresh vegetables or fruit from their gardens to benefit the Brashear Association food bank. The first 100 donors will receive an 8 X 10 print by nationally acclaimed local artist Johno Prascak, while all donors receive a free ticket for a special drawing. Nonperishable food items are also welcome.
Each year several people walk the Trek for its fitness aspect. The benefits of a stirring walk through the Slopes have earned this event the heart-healthy rating of the American Heart Association. Participants, however, are encouraged to trek at their own pace. There will be rest and water stops along the way. The course narrative points out the landmarks and gives a history of the stairs and buildings, counts the steps and provides route instructions. Arrows along the course will provide direction as well.
Additional sponsors include Michael Baker Corporation, UPMC Mercy South Side, Copies at Carson, Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, Silk & Stewart Development Group, The Healey Company, United American Savings Bank, South Side Local Development Co., Ripley & Sons, Phillips Heating & Air Conditioning, Carson & McGinley Real Estate Services and DMH Roofing. Media sponsor is the South Pittsburgh Reporter.
Registration opens at 11 a.m. at 21st and Josephine streets on the South Side. Tents in the staging area feature historic South Side pictures from the collection of the Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and the Carnegie Library.
Registration is $12 per person, then $10 for each additional person if post marked by Sept. 28. After that date, registration is $15. Children under 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free. For more information, visit www.StepTrek.org or call 412-488-0486.