PHLF Completes Transformation of Two Vacant Lots In Wilkinsburg
On October 27 in Wilkinsburg, a group of Hamnett Place neighborhood residents, PHLF staffers, borough and civic leaders, members of the Butler and Goldby families and friends of Russ Coe, gathered on Jeanette Street to celebrate the transformation of two key pieces of vacant land, creating a healthy urban community garden on one (Piano Place) and a clean and beautified green space on another (Mulberry Corner).
The ceremony, highlighted by a ribbon cutting at the dedication of Piano Place/Hamnett Place Community Garden, marked a significant accomplishment for PHLF’s Vacant Lot Program, an essential aspect of its work in Wilkinsburg through the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
PHLF acquired what was a vacant lot— an 8,629-square-foot piece of land at 502-504 Jeanette Street— in 2010 and began working with Hamnett Place residents, GTECH Strategies and the Allegheny Grows program of Allegheny County Economic Development to transform it into a community garden.
At the corner of Mulberry and Rebecca Avenue, adjacent to the fully restored Crescent Apartment Building, PHLF acquired three vacant lots in 2010. They have been transformed into Mulberry Corner, a beautifully designed and landscaped green space that is located at the gateway into the Hamnett Place neighborhood.
Both projects were funded and supported by the collaboration of a group of stakeholders including an important PHLF private donor, the Heinz Endowments, Allegheny County, and NPP funding from TriState Capital Bank.
During the celebration, held on October 27, however, Ronald R. Butler, a student at the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts, was hailed by community members and civic leaders for his visionary design of Piano Place, as a clean and green oasis for community gardeners and area children.
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane commended young Ronald for his project design, which he conceived during PHLF’s CampDEC (Design Explore Create) in July 2011, which was offered as part of the PPS Summer Dreamers Academy.
Wilkinsburg Mayor John Thompson celebrated the occasion as yet another milestone in the ongoing efforts in restoring and beautifying neighborhoods in Wilkinsburg. Meanwhile, Ed Gainey, a candidate for the State House of Representatives, read a proclamation on behalf of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
PHLF thanks Whole Foods for providing platters of fresh vegetables, pita bread, and dips for the occasion.