South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

East Carson Street consultant should be in place by mid-2018


December 19, 2017

Updates and reminders were the essence of the brief Dec. 12 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

Forum member Tracy Myers reported that she, Barbara Rudiak of the South Side Community Council (SSCC), and Candice Gonzalez of the South Side Chamber of Commerce attended interviews for a consultant who, working with the community, will devise a business district plan for East Carson St. 

At past forum meetings, Josette Fitzgibbons, neighborhood business district manager for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), said the project will include: working with URA staff and others to collect data for the corridor; surveying businesses and customers to determine the current retail and hospitality market; and developing recommendations for the implementation of the plan.

She has stated she hopes there is a plan in place by mid-2018.

Ms. Myers said information about the consultant who was selected will be available soon.

In the South Side Neighborhood Plan update, chair Ms. Myers said committee members decided a year ago to have the plan reviewed on a consistent basis instead of the prior method of reviewing it every two years. The first quarterly review will occur in April, 2018.

The idea is that groups will look at their respective responsibilities in the plan and tweak them, if need be, as situations change.

She said she hopes the plan eventually becomes part of “every organization’s general mindset.”

Ms. Rudiak reminded attendees that, as we move into 2018, the SSCC will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Carson St. historic designation. She said that working with CORO Pittsburgh, the SSCC found a fit with its oral history project that ties in with the 25th anniversary.

Ms. Rudiak said Juliette Rihl, a CORO Fellow, has been researching information and talking with longtime residents with stories to tell. The work will be called “South Side Stories: Stories on Carson.”

The focus in 2018 will be on the buildings.

In other news, Blake McLaren of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) reported that Studio Bryan Hanes, a landscape architecture and urban design studio based in Philadelphia, was selected to create a master plan for South Side Park.

The focus will be recreation, connectivity, programming, and ecology to create features which will attract people to the park.

To solicit public input on the project, four public hearings will be held at the Arlington Recreation Center from 5 to 8 p.m .: Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15, and April 19.

A $40,000 grant was received from the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for the plan. The city matched the grant, for a total of $80,000.

In news from the Mayor’s Office, the annual Pittsburgh Snow Angels program is starting which pairs volunteers with elderly or disabled residents to assist with snow removal. To receive the service, or to volunteer, call 311.

The meeting concluded with forum Chair Hugh Brannan reporting 670 families were signed up with the Brashear Association for holiday assistance. Funding is from the Birmingham Foundation, the South Side Chamber of Commerce and others.

The next forum meeting will be on Jan. 9.


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