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Hill District to Rediscover Itself Via ‘Greenprint’

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
By Meredith Skrzypczak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hill District residents gathered on a street corner Tuesday as a banner hung above with the words “the village, the woods” written around a picture of the neighborhood.

Plans for community projects that will preserve and sustain the natural and built-up landscape of the Hill were unveiled before the crowd.

Some of those Hill District Greenprint projects include creating a new entrance to Cliffside Park on Cliff Street and a public plaza from Centre Avenue to Kirkpatrick and Centre and Heldman; and cleaning and repairing city steps so residents can move about easily within and outside of the neighborhood.

Terri Baltimore, vice president of neighborhood development for the Hill House Association, said residents of the Hill District should be “rejoicing.”

“A lot of us that live and work in the Hill know the beauty of the neighborhood.”

Phyllis Jackson, 53, has lived on the Hill most of her life and said the projects will bring a new sense of pride to the community.

“We’re trying to put value back in the land,” said Walter Hood, principal of Hood Design and lead consultant for the Hill District Greenprint initiative.

Mr. Wood, who called the Hill one of the greenest pieces of landscape in Pittsburgh, is working with the existing landscape and developing projects that will sustain and transform it.

A Hill District resident for most of her life, Renee Pritchett, 60, said it helps to see the plans. And while there is still work to be done, she said she’s excited that residents can finally start looking ahead with hope for the community.

“Because of outside (negative) influences, it was hard to capture the hope that this brings,” she said. “That has been negated now.”

The project offers an environmentally friendly agenda that will also spark development, said Denys Candy, community development consultant and co-founder of Find the Rivers!, a group that works to develop green spaces in the neighborhood. Most of the projects will hopefully begin within months, he said.

Ms. Jackson said the projects are long overdue, but is happy efforts are finally getting under way.

“We’re doing something today.”

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