South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Side Park Master Plan Phase I includes improvements to playground


Last updated 3/12/2020 at 10:50am

Pashek + MTR

Phase I of the South Side Park Master Plan includes improvements to the playground area and adjacent amenities.

The proposed playground area, including adjacent amenities, from Phase 1 of the South Side Park Master Plan were detailed at a February public engagement meeting at the Brashear Center.

The presentation was by Andrea Ketzel, landscape architect and project manager, city's Department of Public Works, and Sara Thompson, landscape architect, Pashek + MTR architecture and planning.

Pashek + MTR was hired as a consultant to the city to implement the above-ground features of Phase 1.

Ms. Thompson made it clear that the proposed playground features are dependent on acquiring the necessary funding.

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

The latter was detailed at a January 15 public meeting.

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.

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

At the February meeting, Ms. Thompson said the "Top Favorite Parts of the Design," as contributed by attendees at the January meeting, are: boardwalk and bike path; rain gardens and green infrastructure; 21st Street entrance to the park for safety and aesthetics; and increased accessibility.

She said the boardwalk, bike path, rain gardens, and green infrastructure will be constructed.

Something will be done at the 21st Street entrance, but what it is has yet to be determined.

The "Top Concerns" expressed are: as much parking as possible for Quarry Field; reduce runoff to Quarry Field; restrooms; shoulders on roadway to allow for walking; and extend entrance just past Josephine S Street.

Ms. Thompson said that regarding restrooms, there are no current plans as there is no funding for them, but it could occur in a future phase. A problem with restrooms is they are vandalized quickly, she said.

As for extending the entrance past Josephine Street, she said it will not take place in light of the pending 21st Street project.

Two other expressed concerns will occur: access to community gardens; and hide parking lot from boardwalk.

The top recreation requests from residents are: extend bike lanes to Quarry Field; bike racks; designated trailhead parking; add physical fitness features; add water fountains; low maintenance and vandal resistant; and connect to Mission Street.

Ms. Thompson said the request to extend bike lanes to Quarry Field will be in Phase 2.

There will be bike racks, designated trailhead parking, water fountains, and be low maintenance and vandal resistant.

As for physical fitness features, she said there will likely not be funding for, but the matter may be discussed in later phases.

Regarding Mission Street, the existing stairs will stay but connect to the shared use path.

In total for Phase I, there will be 43 new parking spaces adjacent to Quarry Field, five near the playground, and 60 for the festival green area.

Forty parking spaces will be lost from the existing lot as that is where the playground will be.

"We are swapping the existing parking spaces and the playground because we want the playground in a more central location as accessibility is important," Ms. Thompson said.

On S. 21st Street there will be an entrance median with a park sign. At S. 21st and Josephine streets there will be new crosswalks and curb ramps.

Trees will be planted along S. 21st Street.

The playground will have natural play equipment, such as a tunnel log for ages 2 to 5. There will also be a merry-go-round, climbing structure, and friendship swing, the latter referring to two people facing each other.

The playground surface will be bonded rubber mulch, which is a shredded rubber that is bonded together.

"We wanted to make this feel natural with low maintenance," Ms. Thompson said.

The discovery garden in the back of the playground will have a "rock cove" that children can touch and sit on.

A "bird's nest" area along the path to the playground will have a life-size nest constructed from natural wood that children can add to.

"It gives a feeling of running through the woods," Ms. Thompson said.

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).

The city also received a state Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for $400,000 for the children's playground, boardwalk, and more.

The Phase I design improvements schedule for design development is from March to July; construction documents and approval from August to December; reviews and revisions from late December through January, 2021; bidding in February; and construction from April 2021 to May 2022.

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.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021