The Partnerships that Make Your Parks Great

Nature — as we learn again and again — relies on an intricate cycle of partnerships. The root needs the water, the ground needs the leaves, and the air needs the carbon-storing and oxygenreleasing magic of our trees. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s nature-focused experiential education programs at the Frick Environmental Center return to this theme often: everything in nature depends on everything else. The Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh have long understood the power of dedicated partnerships, first signing an official public/private partnership agreement in 1998 to restore the city’s four major parks — Frick, Highland, Riverview, and Schenley.

In the years since that historic partnership was formed, 14 capital projects — including the gatehouses at Frick Park, The Riverview Chapel, and Mellon Square — have been completed. Public Works and the City of Pittsburgh’s Parks and Recreation departments have brought their dedication, the skills of experienced park foremen and their teams, and the energetic support of public officials. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has provided expertise in park design, restoration ecology, environmental education, and 80 million dollars in privately-raised contributions. The clear and consistent focus on the betterment of our city’s expansive greenspaces so that all may enjoy their benefits has been key to the continued successes. It is the guiding force in current and future projects.

This past summer, the first in a series of green infrastructure projects was begun in the Panther Hollow Watershed in Schenley Park. Made possible by a carefully-planned partnership between the Department of Public Works, ALCOSAN, City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Beacon Street Meadow and Bob O’Connor Golf Course green infrastructure components are the first part of a multi-phase Panther Hollow Watershed wastewater management project. Such an expansive project – spanning park land, city streets, sewage systems, and private property alike -would only be possible with the resources and trust of the involved partners. What lessons have been learned and can be used to guide us to future success that betters our region? There are many. They include:

The success of these partnerships in restoring and caring for our city’s parks is no surprise when considered in the context of the traits that make Pittsburgh great. We have a history of pulling together through challenging times, partnering with each other to achieve our people-oriented goals, and celebrating together when we accomplish great things. That streak of vision, hard work, and partnership has served us well in the past, does so now, and will lead us to future environmental successes. Come outside and watch what we can do — together. SHM

about SHUC

Preserving, Improving, and Celebrating the Quality of Life in Squirrel Hill

For over fifty years, the Coalition has been an active and important link in the community. It has served as a sounding board for new ideas, as well as a “watchdog” in the areas of public safety, education, residential quality, the business district, and parks and open space. With its focus on the quality of life in the 14th Ward, SHUC continues to monitor activities and future developments in the community through a range of standing committees.


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