South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Slopes association will survey area residents concerning neighborhood


The January 19 general meeting of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) featured a neighborhood survey, update on trail signs in South Side Park, and news on renovations at the Giant Eagle on Wharton St.

 The meeting was rescheduled to this date after the Jan. 12 meeting was postponed due to snow.  It was held at the Brashear Center on Sarah St.

 The meeting began with the distribution by Laura Officer of a neighborhood survey with the categories of “Neighborhood Unity,” “Public Safety,” “Housing,” “Beautification,” and “South Side Park.”

 The latter category includes questions like “Are you aware of South Side Park?” and “What would make the park better or increase your usage?”

 The survey will be mailed to every Slopes household within the next few months.  It may also be completed on-line.  Its goal is to learn how neighbors feel about the neighborhood and the SSSNA, and how the latter’s work can be improved.

 The survey concludes with the “About You” category, in which respondents are asked questions, such as if they ever attended meetings and/or other events sponsored by SSSNA; do they receive the SSSNA newsletter; and more.

 Those interested in volunteering, or who would like to be entered in a gift card drawing, must provide contact information.  Otherwise, respondents may remain anonymous.

 Residents who remain anonymous will be asked to state their street.  That way, if they list local problems, like trash or nearby crime, the specific area can be pinpointed and addressed.

 Next, Josh Lippert of the city Planning Department discussed trail signs in South Side Park, which are scheduled to be mounted in the spring and summer.

 The main signs at the entrances will feature maps, hours, and park rules.  There will also be smaller, directional signage throughout the park.

 The cost is about $1,000 per installed sign.  The city and SSSNA will pay the costs. 

 The SSSNA has been staging fundraisers for signage for years.

 In committee updates, Cara Jette said the Outreach Committee meets four to five times a year.  Its responsibilities include the newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, e-blasts, and more.

 In reporting on the Beautification Committee, Dawn Lorincy said it meets in March.  The committee decides what areas in the Slopes to work on, and on the gardens. Sites are being sought for volunteer students to work on. 

Regarding the South Side Park committee, Jamie Balser said its volunteers have cleared trails, removed litter, and more.

 The Friends of South Side Park will soon be starting with a goal to foster relationships among all users of the park.

 The Grants Committee received $10,000 from the Birmingham Foundation recently for the Friends of South Side Park. The funding was through the Hilltop Alliance.

 In news of the annual StepTrek, the non-competitive, self-guided walking tour of the Slopes, it will be held this year on Sat., Oct. 1.  It is the SSSNA’s primary fundraiser.

 Next, city Councilman Bruce Kraus updated attendees on the renovations at the local Giant Eagle.

 He said remodeling began 10 days ago. Currently, a new pharmacy is under construction.

 There will be beer sales at the store, and extensive prepared foods. The meats section will be expanded.

 The Giant Eagle will not be a market district, but a “signature” store.

 He said the design will be patterned after the Quaker Village Giant Eagle in Sewickley off Route 65.

 The interior completion is planned for Aug.-Sept.

 The exterior remodeling will be the next phase, and include two entrances with arched and decorative gates, and new landscaping and lighting.

 In his brief update on the Mission Street Bridge, Mr. Kraus said there is money in the city capital budget for improvements to the structure, and to improve curbs, walkways, and driving lanes.  

 There is no timeline for the work.

 For the next general meeting on March 8, City Planning’s Kristin Saunders will be asked to discuss bike lanes in the Slopes.

 Also, a city employee will be invited to talk about how an Airbnb, or travelers’ alternative to hotels, does not fit city ordinances.  Some Slopes residents would like to operate these in their homes, but the zoning district does not allow it.


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