South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. O. City/St. Clair Block Watch gets updates on urban farm, crime, gardens

 


The project at Mountain and Fisher streets, local crime update, and the proposed urban farm were among the topics at the Nov. 19 Mt. Oliver City/St. Clair Block Watch meeting.

It was held at the Ormsby Avenue Café.

Block watch coordinator Suzanne Photos said a name is being sought for the Mountain and Fisher streets site featuring cornhole boards for games, landscaping, a Little Library, and more.

A name is also needed for the proposed urban farm on the former St. Clair Village site.

She also announced that Patty Stewart offered to be in charge of a community “blitz” in which troublesome properties are looked at in tandem with the city. The blitz will be similar to recent similar activities in Carrick and Beltzhoover.

Regarding the Mountain and Fisher streets site, Ms. Photos said the markers will be painted, and the cornhole boards will be enhanced. She is also hoping for funding for benches, and to acquire a water box to water flowers at the site.

For the latter, she wants to tap into the water lines that already exist there. She plans to send Pennsylvania-American Water Co. a letter about the matter.

Ms. Photos also reported the city wants to asphalt the depressions on the local brick streets, which are historic streets.

As such, she said many residents want the bricks replaced, with the depressions repaired as originally built, thereby keeping the streets in their original material.

“It is very important to preserve these,” she said.

Next, Zone 3 community relations officer Christine Luffey reported on area crime over the past two months, which was minimal.

“Keep up the good work,” she said.

She detailed four reports in Mt. Oliver City.

The first involved juveniles stealing a woman’s debit card and making transactions at Rite Aid and Family Dollar. The victim’s young son was involved in the “access device fraud.”

Another report was of a drug investigation resulting in a drug user being charged with driving with a suspended license and having no brake lights.

There was also a report of a victim burglarized of a TV and computer tablet by her grandson.

The fourth report was of a Bridgeville woman being arrested for breaking a residential door and causing a disturbance on McManus St. while looking for her husband.

Regarding terrorism, Officer Luffey said to be aware, but not afraid. If you see something suspicious, say something to law enforcement personnel.

The Pittsburgh Police have an excellent relationship with federal authorities, she said.

Earlier in her career, Officer Luffey was sent downtown to work a Ku Klux Klan rally. She was also involved in the international G-20 summit held in Pittsburgh a few years ago.

“We were properly trained and knew how to handle it,” she said of the events.

The final speaker was Sarah Baxendell, project manager, greenspace asset development for the Hilltop Alliance.

She and Aaron Sukenik, executive director of the Hilltop Alliance, will create a PowerPoint presentation on the farm plan for the proposed urban farm for the next block watch meeting on Jan. 21.

The urban farm will be located off Mountain Ave.

Ms. Baxendell said the city school district is proposing to reopen the Phillip Murray School building in Mt. Oliver City. She said it is exciting for her to imagine youngsters walking from school to the youth farm.

The tentative time frame is for farming to begin on the site in spring, 2017.

In January, she and city officials will conduct workshops on the urban agriculture zoning code.

The zoning code has rules and regulations for residents to raise chickens, goats, and bees, and to grow/sell produce. The permit costs $70.

For questions, email her at: sarah@pghhilltopalliance.org.

The next block watch meeting will be on Jan. 21 at a site to be determined.

 

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