Pittsburgh regional park receives grant for view, habitat restoration


August 10, 2010

The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) has received $200,000 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and $75,000 from the Colcom Foundation to continue the view and habitat restoration project it has been partnering on with the City of Pittsburgh since 2006.

The MWCDC, through a partnership agreement with the City of Pittsburgh, has raised a total of $750,000 for view and habitat restoration in the Emerald View Park, Pittsburgh's newest regional park. This funding has come from a consortium of generous private foundations, including: Richard King Mellon Foundation, Colcom Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and the Roy A. Hunt Foundation.

Since the project's inception, more than 1,500 trees and shrubs have been planted (including many from TreeVitalize Pittsburgh), 1,200 pounds of native grass seed spread, 10,000 pounds of organic fertilizer applied, half a mile of irrigation installed, 800 hours of invasive plant control carried out, and more than 400 volunteer hours invested in these sites.

"The grants from the Mellon and Colcom Foundations will enable us to continue to work with partners like Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. and the city to double the area of restored viewshed to 5.5 acres," according to Ilyssa Manspeizer, MWCDC park manager.

The restoration work is geared towards removing large and invasive trees from prime public viewing corridors and replacing them with low-growing native trees, shrubs, and grasses that will never grow tall enough to block the award winning view of the City of Pittsburgh. By seeding the hillside with native grasses and woody plants, stormwater runoff is reduced, and the slopes are protected from erosion caused by this runoff.

Ultimately, the MWCDC and the City of Pittsburgh, expect to create a healthy native ecosystem on the park's slopes. Because the view of downtown will be maintained for Pittsburgh's residents and the city's growing number of tourists, this project brings to bear both ecological and economic benefits, enabling visitors and residents to continue to enjoy this priceless resource while making the most of Mount Washington's thriving business district.

As evidence of the park initiatives' growing success, this past May the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group recognized Emerald View Park for its "sustainable, community-based approach to the creation of Pittsburgh's newest regional park" with its coveted "Community Parks and Open Space Award."


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