South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Allentown updated on community projects


September 29, 2009

Allegheny County's adult probation day reporting center at 2320 Arlington Avenue will hold its first open house 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 19.

The announcement, along with updates regarding progress on various local projects, was made at the Sept. 24 meeting of the Allentown Community Development Corp.

The center opened in February at the site of a former dialysis center and offers adults on probation opportunities for education, employment and counseling services. Services offered include classes on GED, literacy, anger management and life skills. Its goals are to make a positive difference in people's lives and in the neighborhoods.

Judy Hackel, president, Allentown CDC, led the discussion that night and also mentioned the 100th birthday celebration planned for Grandview Park 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oct. 3. The special event will feature vintage cars, a string quartet, a strolling violinist, children's activities, food and craft booths and life size displays depicting works of children's literature.

The craft booths will include African art, doll accessories, hand bags, baby toys and jewelry.

A sculpture formerly displayed at the Squirrel Hill Library will be added to the park.

Members of the neighborhood group Friends of the Park, along with city public works, have suggested and made many improvements in recent years. Friends members who attended the CDC meeting said they want to get more Allentown and Mount Washington residents involved in their organization.

One resident said she is concerned about the possibility of a city maintenance worker assigned to Grandview Park retiring and not being replaced; she said she thought the work on Grandview Park would instead by done by workers who are regularly rotated on assignment to service the various parks and that less work might be done.

Ms. Hackel said that she and the members also want to get students at nearby Grandview Elementary School interested in the opportunities for study that the park offers. One suggestion was that Councilman Bruce Kraus invite the students to a City Council meeting and introduce them from the audience. Mr. Kraus was unable to attend the CDC meeting.

Ms. Hackel announced that the Hilltop Alliance is sponsoring an event 6 – 8 p.m. Oct. 1 designed to generate conversations about positive improvements to the neighborhoods. There will be free dinner and child care that night. The organization was started to improve quality of life for such neighborhoods as Beltzhoover, Carrick, Mount Oliver borough, the City's Mount Oliver section and Allentown. Goals include safer streets and fair access to educational and recreational facilities.

Those interested in attending can RSVP community organizer Sara Bennett at 412 608-9911 or at Sara.Esther.

Another announcement was that Carlow University students will be participating in Mercy's Day of Caring Oct. 14 by painting Allentown storefronts.

Ms. Hackel also wanted CDC members to know that board members for the Brashear Association Inc., which is involved in various community service efforts, have been asking local leaders for input on designing their strategic plan.

Boris Weinstein who calls himself "The Litter Czar" and who founded the group Citizens Against Litter will be involved with an Allentown clean-up Oct. 17 that will utilize the efforts of 44 University of Pittsburgh student volunteers.

"We would like to see some neighborhood volunteers too," Ms. Hackel said.

The CDC which now meets every other month will hold its next public meeting in November.


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