South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
Contributing Writer 

Concerns about Dairy District addressed by Economic Development South director


Some E. Meyers Avenue residents in Carrick have expressed safety concerns about the Carrick Dairy District open air pavilion.

Phase 1 of the Carrick Dairy District, an open air pavilion at the corner of Brownsville Road and E. Meyers Avenue, is drawing the ire of some residents in the area.

Complaints range from the blocking of E. Meyers during events to the placing of porta-johns at the pavilion and the lack of parking. Residents are concerned that emergency vehicles will have to detour up a block, delaying response times.

The porta-john at the pavilion is new this year. E. Meyers residents are worried drug addicts will use the portable toilets to take drugs and then pass out in the pavilion.

Greg Jones, executive director of Economic Development South (EDS), said they are transitioning Dairy District pavilion. Recently, EDS hired a market manager for the space.

Although they worked with the Carrick Community Council to create the pavilion, it was never EDS's plan to own the property once completed. Mr. Jones said they intended to turn the $400,000 project over to the city, but plans changed and they are now retaining ownership.

The pavilion was almost entirely privately funded beginning with an initial $50,000 grant from the Design Center for planning and design. Several well attended "visioning" meetings were held in the neighborhood with Desmone Architects, the project architects, and other partners to come up with the design.

Mr. Jones said the bulk of the funding for the project, $300,000, came from the Hillman Foundation. The city didn't contribute money to the project, but provided some in-kind work through the Public Works Department with things like bike racks, benches and final finishing touches.

Since it opened last May, the Dairy District pavilion has been drawing some "huge numbers" to the limited number of events held there, he said. One of the complaints they received last year was the lack of restroom facilities for the crowds of 100-200 people at each event. This year they added the porta-john because of those requests.

So far, he said they haven't noticed any drug activity at the site and noted there hasn't been any vandalism there either.

"I get where they're coming from," Mr. Jones said of the residents' concerns. With the close proximity to Colteryahn Dairy, he said there are "a lot of eyes on it," hopefully discouraging any vandalism and drug use. The area doesn't draw a lot of foot traffic now, outside of events, making anyone in the pavilion stand out.

He said they will continue to monitor the area and if it appears there is a problem, he said they would look into locking the porta-john when not being used for events.

Concerning the blocking of E. Meyers Street for the Farmers' Market, it's a "hybrid solution" while they await the installing of the permanent benches inside the pavilion. Once the benches are installed vendors will be expected to move up under cover.

Mr. Jones noted if not for the Dairy District, Carrick might have lost its Farmers' Market with plans to close the one formerly behind the Carrick Shopping Center.

With the recent announced sale of Colteryahn Dairy to Turner Dairy Farms, Mr. Jones wasn't concerned about continued plans for the Dairy District.

"The Turner folks love the idea of the Dairy District," he said.

Mr. Jones said this week EDS will announce plans to add another dairy related business to the district. The new business is expected to invest $500,000 to $600,000 to bring their company to Carrick.


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