South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Planning forum updated on marina, other developments in South Side


With no presentations, the brief July-August meeting of the South Side Planning Forum on July 28 began with the report of the Development Review Committee (DRC) presented by Peter Kreuthmeier and DRC chair Tracy Myers.

Painting With a Twist, which opened at the former PNC Bank site on June 23, hopes to develop a practice in team-building activities. Its signage, which was revised in accordance with the DRC’s requests, now has to go to the Historic Review Commission.

In other news, the South Side marina had a soft opening this summer, and is still under construction. The full-service marina is located adjacent to Riverfront Park near 26th St.

The DRC will follow up with Riverlife and the Western PA Conservancy to ensure the community is heard on the matter of landscape remediation. A deflector dock has created an erosion issue that must be resolved.

Variances, including for height, are required for the proposed 112-room “Home 2 Suites by Hilton” hotel at East Carson and Sarah streets.

The DRC agreed that more community input is required. The structure will be 70-feet high at its highest occupied point.

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) is awaiting information from the developer to better understand the building’s potential impact on the views of residents in the eastern end of the Slopes.

A proposal was submitted by J. Poli Inc. to rehabilitate the site of the former Courier Express to create offices and a warehouse expansion of J. Poli, a provider of specialized industrial contracting services.

The site consists of six parcels: three owned by a private company, and three owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA).

The project would retain the current buildings; resurface and line the parking lots; introduce security gates to the parking lots; add a small set of stairs from Josephine St. to improve access; and provide some landscaping. The DRC provided a letter to the URA supporting the sale of the three sites.

Next, Ms. Myers said the South Side Neighborhood Plan committee met prior to the planning forum meeting to brainstorm on how best to address parking concerns.

Over the past few months, Thom Barry of the South Side Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly expressed his desire to convene a neighborhood planning process to address parking issues. He said businesses’ complaint is that there are not enough parking spaces, which involves two issues: daytime parking and nighttime parking.

Last month, Ms. Myers said the development of a comprehensive parking strategy should take place under the umbrella of the neighborhood plan.

At the July 28 planning forum meeting, she said a few neighborhood plan committee members agreed to take on the research of existing data, and the review of past work on parking initiatives. Then, strategies and goals will be identified, and other voices will be brought in.

Mr. Barry said these are steps toward the goal. “Let’s do it,” he said.

In other news, Barbara Rudiak is the new president of the South Side Community Council.

Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government relations, said students will soon be returning as classes begin on Aug. 24. Freshman orientation is Aug. 19-23.

For issues with students, neighbors should contact Tim Lewis, director of commuter affairs, at

To a question if information will be distributed to students on being good neighbors, such as the days of garbage pickup, Ms. Solomon it is in the process of being printed. It will also be on-line.

The South Side Garden Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. Maps and check-in will be at 18th and Carson streets.

Mr. Barry said the July 10-12 South Side Food, Art, and Sidewalk Festival was a success, despite there being seven other city events that day. There were no incidents.

He said the goal is for the event to improve each year.

The next forum meeting will be on Sept. 8.


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