South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Side Park Master Plan's phase 1 projects unveiled


Last updated 1/22/2020 at 9:19pm

A strategy for Phase 1 of the South Side Park Master Plan was unveiled on Jan. 15 at the Brashear Center.

The Phase 1 project encompasses six acres located parallel to South 18th St. to the South 21St St. entrance to the park, and includes proposed recreation amenities and stormwater improvements.

The six acres of stormwater management will capture 11 acres of site area stormwater. While most of the stormwater management will be underground, some will occur through surface rain gardens.

It would only capture areas presently draining directly to the park. A project goal is to capture and retain stormwater to slowly release.

The idea is that by capturing the water it will reduce flooding in the entire watershed, and may reduce basement backups in the South Side Slopes and Flats.

The proposed recreation amenities in Phase 1 include a basketball court; children’s discovery garden; playground; overlook; boardwalk; and more. There will also be parking areas.

“The current amenities we are proposing for the park came from the master plan.

“Our job is to refine the ideas and show what they may look like,” said city landscape architect Andrea Ketzel.

The other presenters included Meghan Simek, of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), and Eric Brightman of Pashek + MTR architecture and planning.

Pashek + MTR was hired as a consultant to the city to implement the above-ground features of Phase 1. The city is partnering with PWSA, which is responsible for the green infrastructure components of the project.

“We have been charged with taking some of the master plan ideas to the next level,” Mr. Brightman said.

The goal is for construction to occur in 2022.

The city budgeted $2.4 million for the above ground amenities. It also received a $90,000 grant for the bike path from the state Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program (GTRP).

An application has been submitted to the state Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for a $400,000 grant for the children’s playground, boardwalk, and more.

Following the presentation and viewing detailed posters of the proposal, attendees were asked to submit comments on the Phase I schematic design; recreation amenities; and green infrastructure.

The latter encompasses swales, stepped stormwater gardens, and underground tanks.

Ms. Ketzel said after reviewing the feedback, the team would move into more detailed design.

Another meeting on the same six acres will occur in February or March at a date to be determined. Following that, development of the construction documents for bid would begin.

The master plan for the 65-acre South Side Park was unveiled at a community meeting on April 19, 2018.

It was the last of four planned community events conducted by the city, Studio Bryan Hanes, and the Friends of South Side Park (Friends) to solicit input for the master plan process.

The goal was to create a master plan that presented a strategy for the implementation of achievable projects that may be funded by future city budgets or other sources.

At the first meeting, participants were asked to express their concerns about the 65-acre park. Responses included: address illegal dumping and ATV use, hunting, homeless camping; park and trail maintenance; safety; and more.

At the second meeting, participants were asked to choose their favorite elements from around three themes: environmental education; arts, culture, and history; and recreation and adventure.

Popular elements from each of the three themes were incorporated into the draft plan unveiled at the third meeting.

The master plan reflects the responses to the draft plan with support of specific items.

Ms. Ketzel said the goal of the project is to focus on one phase at a time.

Cost estimates will be obtained at the end of each phase.


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