South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

New South Side private high school has begun classes


Last updated 9/17/2019 at 9:16pm

A “first week of school” update on the new City of Bridges High School kicked off the Sept. 10 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The brief presentation was by Randy Bartlett, Ph.D., head of the private high school located on the fourth floor of 1212 East Carson St.

The school opened with 11 students: two are 10th graders, and nine are 9th graders. They come from “a wide variety of locations,” he said.

Students engage in project-based learning, design thinking, collaborative and individual work, research, presentation, reflection and revision, and other methods that support their learning.

The prior week students visited City Theatre, where some will intern.

To a question of the difference between a private high school versus charter high school, he said charter schools must follow regulations as with public schools, and receive taxpayer funds.

Private schools receive no state funding, and do not have the same regulations as public and charter schools.

To a question of where he sees the enrollment in four years, Mr. Bartlett said he hopes for 80 to 100 students, but that would be the limit.

For more information, visit: . For questions, email Mr. Bartlett at: .

Next, city Councilman Bruce Kraus and city nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden delivered updates on the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED), or the enforcement of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

The revenue from the PED must be invested back in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements.

For the four weekends in July, the gross meter revenue was $15,721.23. For five weekends in August, it was $21,090.85.

The average Friday-Saturday weekend take is $4,100 to $4,500.

The gross meter revenue year-to-date is $146,469.51. The gross meter revenue since April, 2017 is $524,695.14.

In August, Block by Block’s two-person Clean Team retained with PED funds, removed about 8,000 pounds of trash. The team also removed 37 graffiti stickers.

The main daily focus has been East Carson St. between 10th and 25th streets, and the side streets about one block in both directions.

Mr. Kraus next reported that street trees will be planted this month instead of waiting for the PennDOT project for which there is no start date. Volunteers are sought to help with the planting.

Once all of the lighting from 10th to past 22nd streets is circuited, the trees can be planted.

The $12 million East Carson St. safety improvement project will extend from the Smithfield St. Bridge to 33rd St., and be carried out by the state Dept. of Transportation [PennDOT]. It will include resurfacing, upgrading intersections, ADA ramps and more.

 In other news, the city will hold an open house public meeting on the South Side signals project on 18th Street from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the Brashear Association Building, 2005 Sarah St.

Among the project highlights are: replacement of five traffic signals; installation of one new traffic signal; curb extensions with new ADA curb ramps; new street lighting; milling and paving at intersections; and more.

Attendees may view new intersection configurations and improvements, plans for maintenance and protection of traffic during construction, and the construction schedule.

The project team will be available to answer questions.

Mr. Kraus also announced the rezoning application for the South Side UPMC hospital property and associated parcels was introduced in council that day.

Rezoning is being sought for the hospital building, parking lot across the street, and the Roesch-Taylor medical building as the current Education Medical Institutional (EMI) zoning district no longer applies.

As medical uses have gone away it is difficult for the city to match it to the existing zone. Officials said the plan is to rezone the properties to urban industrial to become uniform with the surroundings.

The goal is for the hospital building to stay operational and in the community.

Mr. Kraus said the rezoning process will take several months, and include a public hearing.

In the report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), Barbara Rudiak, in the absence of DRC chair Tracy Myers, said the proposal for eight townhouses on a site bordered by Wharton, 22nd, and Merriman streets will have garages in the back.

The South Side Community Council (SSCC) suggested one curb cut only instead of the four that were planned.

While there is a “for sale” sign on the site, the project is expected to go to the Zoning Hearing Board in the fall.

In announcements, Ms. Rudiak reported the SSCC will hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Brashear Association building.

Representatives from Standards Communities, the property owners of Carson Tower, will present their plans to provide low income affordable housing at Sidney Square at 2112 Sidney Street.

At 6:30 p.m. on Sept 30, the SSCC September general meeting will be held at the Brashear Association building. There will be two presentations. One presentation will be on the positive working relationship between Duquesne University and the South Side community.

The other presentation will be by Theresa Bradley, the city’s recycling supervisor, on changes in recycling.

In news of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), the annual StepTrek, the non-competitive, self-guided walking tour of the Slopes, will be held on Oct. 5. Check-in will be at 21st and Josephine streets.

The SSSNA’s next general meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center.

Bravo, Brashear!, the Brashear Association’s annual meeting and celebration, will be held at the LeMont Restaurant on Nov. 21.

Candice Gonzalez, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, reported the chamber’s 2019 annual meeting and board of directors’ election will be held on Oct. 9.

Small Business Saturday will be held on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The 9th Annual Mittens & Mingles will be held on Dec. 4 from 6 - 10 p.m. at J. Verno Studios. The fundraiser benefits the South Side Welcome Center and raises funds for the Brashear Association’s holiday toys and initiatives in South Pittsburgh.

Next, Ernest Rajakone, of the city’s Office of Community Affairs, announced he is now a policy analyst, and that his replacement at forum meetings will be new community affairs liaison Hersh Merenstein.

In updates, Mr. Rajakone said city residents may drop off old TVs and computers at 3001 Railroad St. in the Strip District. Drop-off appointments must be scheduled in advance at Fees apply for most items.

Next, Natalie Sweet, of the Brew House Association, asked that South Side based artists contact her regarding a Jan., 2020, art exhibit. Her email is: .

Lastly, James McNeel, managing director of the City Theatre Company, said the 45th season begins with “Cambodian Rock Band,” Sept. 14 to Oct. 6.

The next Planning Forum meeting will be on Oct. 8.


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