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SHARPSBURG

COMMUNITY VISION PLAN

A community vision and Ecodistrict plan for the people and places of Sharpsburg Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization


SHARPSBURG COMMUNITY VISION PLAN


STEERING COMMITTEE

Brittany Reno, Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization Matthew V. Rudzki, Mayor of Sharpsburg Debbie Baumiller, Northern Area Multi-Service Center Shanna Carrick, Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization Kim Follett, Volunteers of America Gene Freeman, Fox Chapel Area School District Juliah Gibson, One Classy Cook Nanci Goldberg, Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization Nicole Moga, Boat Pittsburgh Josephine Oria, La Dorita Charles Smith, Sharpsburg Community Garden Scott Tobe, Rising Tides

POWERED BY

evolve environment::architecture Christine Mondor, Principal Anna Rosenblum, Project Manager Ashley Cox Nico Azel Chris Guignon

WITH SUPPORT FROM

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG) through the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization (SNO) 2019 Cover Photo by Nanci Goldberg


CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 04 OUR IDENTITY 08

Sharpsburg Today Sharpsburg Tomorrow

PRINCIPLES 20

P1. Leverage new development P2. Preserve affordability P3. Build community prosperity P4. Invite the region P5. Align with Triboro Ecodistrict P6. Prepare to be agile decisionmakers

URBAN SYSTEMS 76

S1. Enhance green links S2. Prioritize pedestrians S3. Strengthen the village S4. Connect to the river

PLACES AND PROJECTS 106

D1. Pine Creek District D2. Main & Canal District D3. Eastern & Industrial District

PROCESS & NEXT STEPS 144 SOURCES 154


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan is the community’s roadmap to shape their future and guide development in the borough for the next 5 to 10 years. The plan showcases Sharpsburg’s identity, people, culture, and ambitions, and envisions a community of opportunity where all people are connected, thriving, resilient, and empowered to be the best they can be.

Photo: Nanci Goldberg


OUR

VISION

SHARPSBURG IS A

COMMUNITY of

OPPORTUNITY We are a friendly and welcoming community where all people are connected, thriving, resilient, and empowered to be the best they can be.

6 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR

PRINCIPLES P1.

LEVERAGE NEW DEVELOPMENT to benefit existing residents and the local economy and enable Sharpsburgers to shape their own future.

P2.

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY, build community wealth, and protect existing Sharpsburg assets.

P3.

BUILD COMMUNITY PROSPERITY through wealth building, education, and wellness.

P4.

INVITE THE REGION and nation to contribute to and learn from Sharpsburg’s leadership.

P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT to boost environmental performance.

P6.

PREPARE TO BE AGILE DECISIONMAKERS in a rapidly changing environment.

WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR

PLACES & PROJECTS D1.

PINE CREEK DISTRICT

Sharpsburg’s western gateway enhances connections and reduces vulnerability to flooding.

D2.

WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR

URBAN SYSTEMS MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT

Sharpsburg’s green assets, riverfront, and business district are part of a well-connected network.

S1.

ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

S2.

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

S3.

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

S4.

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Connect existing green assets and develop new ones.

Stabilize and improve existing character.

Make walking, biking, and public transit easier and safer.

Reconnect to the riverfront physically and mentally.

D3.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

Sharpsburg’s eastern edge celebrates natural assets and encourages walking and biking.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY | 7


OUR IDENTITY A community’s identity is often defined by its unique places and landmarks, the activities and events of the community, and the values that residents appreciate most. Community identity is informed by who they are today, how they got here, and the community context. Communities are often defined by unique characteristics in comparison to other communities, which becomes their competitive advantage.

Photo: Nanci Goldberg


Aspinwall

1

3,744

Millvale

1

households in Sharpsburg1

Sharpsburg median household income1

Sharpsburgers1

2,801

1,621

$30,350

3,446 2,669

$59,429 $35,411 $35,689

U. Lawr.

1

Aspinwall1

Millvale1

1,292

U. Lawr.1

Aspinwall1

1,807

1,216

Millvale1

U. Lawr.1

SHARPSBURG 2017 vacant/other

14% industrial

31.6%

Food

12.8%

Transportation

12.6%

Pensions and Social Security Support Payments/ Cash Contributions/Gifts in Kind Health Care Entertainment and Recreation

10 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

204

216

0-4

173

5-9

Sharpsburg businesses4

10 - 14

248

215

32.2

U. Lawr.1

15 - 19

37.4

Millvale1

214

39.6

Aspinwall1

20 - 24

U. Lawr.

503

Millvale

25 - 34

45.1% 410

42.4%

35 - 44

48.9%

525

59.1%

45 - 54

renter occupied1

408

54.8%

55 - 64

57.5%

267

51%

median age1

3.4%

65 - 74

40.9%

40.2

4.3%

218

owner occupied1

Aspinwall

on basic needs

8.0%

annual expenditures3

41% single family residential

Sharpsburg

>50%

9.3%

78 - 84

29% commercial 9% institutional/government 9% multi-family residential

Housing

age distribution1

2 2

area of stock (ft. (ft. ) 2) AREA OFexisting EXISTINGbuilding BUILDING STOCK

8%


SHARPSBURG

TODAY As Pittsburgh and the region continue to grow and be cast in the national spotlight, change in the region is inevitable. This is especially true in Sharpsburg, where market pressure is pushing from neighbors and across the river. In addition, Sharpsburg is increasingly receiving more coverage in the local media, bringing regional attention to the borough. Sharpsburgers have a strong sense of their strengths and weaknesses today, as they move into tomorrow. WE ARE GETTING OLDER (AND YOUNGER)… Compared to peer communities Millvale, Aspinwall, and Upper Lawrenceville, Sharpsburg is an older community that will continue to age. In addition to this, younger families are starting to move in, which will affect future age distribution, resulting in a large percentage of young and older residents.1 WE ARE ATTRACTIVE TO FAMILIES… Sharpsburg has many amenities that are attractive to families, such as the Heinz Memorial Field, the 16th Street Children’s Park, the recreation center, the Fox Chapel School District, and the recently renovated library. OUR HOMES ARE OLD BUT ARE BECOMING MORE VALUABLE… Sharpsburg does not have much vacant land to accommodate new construction, and so many of the homes are older (94.4% were built before 1965).5 According to a 2015 assessment performed by the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG), 59% of homes in the Borough are in need of repairs.6 In spite of this, Sharpsburg is beginning to see signs of slowly rising home values. In nearby Lawrenceville, the median home sales price increased from $94,590 in 2010 to $211,280 in 2016.7 In Sharpsburg,

2017 had the highest average sale price for a single-family home in at least the past 5 years ($71,493).5 Currently, the average home value in Sharpsburg is assessed at $76,397.5 With a future increase in sale prices projected, the community is taking steps to preserve affordability. This includes investigating the feasibility of a Community Land Trust, and the recent construction of two affordable homes by ACTION-Housing.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

5%

of their annual household income on energy (the average American spends 3.5%).3

WE WORK WITH OUR HANDS TO MAKE THINGS AND HAVE MANY ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES… Sharpsburg is home to many industrial and hands-on businesses, ranging from the arts to autobodys, upholstery services, building materials, antiques, metal fabrication, and more. Sharpsburg has 248 registered businesses in the Borough, including many service-related businesses and businesses operated out of residents’ homes.4 Out of all of the building square footage in Sharpsburg, 29% is commercial and 14% is industrial.2 WE DEVELOP IDEAS AND HAVE NEW BUSINESSES MOVING IN… Breweries were Sharpsburg’s biggest industry from 1905-1948, and the Borough is experiencing a beer revival with the recent opening of Dancing Gnome Brewery and Hitchhiker Brewery. Creative

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

12.8%

of their annual household income on food (the average American spends 10.1%).4 ESRI, U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2010 Summary File 1. Allegheny County Building Footprint Locations, GIS layer, 2015. 3 ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys 2013 and 2014. 4 ESRI, Infogroup, 2016. 5 Allegheny County Property Assessments, GIS, 2017. 1 2

OUR IDENTITY | 11


SHARPSBURG TODAY businesses, such as Deeplocal (a marketing and tech innovator) have recently moved in as well. OUR CULTURAL ASSETS EVOLVE FROM A MIX OF BUSINESS AND PLEASURE… Sharpsburg is where H.J. Heinz got his start, and while the business has since grown and moved, food is still a big part of Sharpsburg’s culture. The La Dorita kitchen incubator, bakeries, cafes, and breweries bring the community together around food. Community festivals, such as Sharpsmeade, Guyasuta Days, and Open Streets, are known for not only attracting residents, but for bringing numerous visitors to Sharpsburg as well. WE HAVE ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES… Sharpsburg suffers from some environmental challenges as well, including a lack of greenery, poor air quality, and its location in the floodplain. Sharpsburg contains a few parks, but lacks significant tree cover or streetscaping. The region’s air quality is in the dirtiest 6% in the country for particle pollution.8 Heavy regional polluters, the predominant wind direction, and Sharpsburg’s location next to active train tracks, boat launches, and three busy highways and bridges all contribute to this pollution. Lastly, 33.72% (435) of Sharpsburg’s buildings are fully or partially located in the 500-year floodplain.9 The 221 acres of pavement, buildings, and other impervious surfaces (54% of the Borough) prevent stormwater infiltration, causing combined sewer overflows and causing the river and Pine Creek to occasionally flood. WE HAVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHALLENGES… Like many municipalities in Western Pennsylvania, several Sharpsburg residents have suffered from the opioid crisis. In 2017 alone, 6 Sharpsburg residents died due to opioid overdoses.10 A lack of large vacant parcels for parking is causing displacement as developers tear down homes to accommodate their parking needs. Additionally, an increase in traffic along Main Street for those avoiding the highway (or

12 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

34%

OF SHARPSBURG’S BUILDINGS SIT IN THE FLOODPLAIN N

0’

1000’

FLOODPLAIN

85%

Source: Allegheny County

OF THE COUNTRY HAS BETTER AIR QUALITY (PM2.5) THAN THIS REGION8 N

0’

1000’

new construction

REGIONAL POINT SOURCES Environmental Factors

good condition

repairs needed

Source: Dr. Albert Presto, Carnegie Mellon University

59%

OF HOMES ARE IN NEED OF REPAIRS6 N

before 1911 1937 - 1964

GREENSPACE HOUSING Property Condition (PCRG)

0’

1000’

1912 - 1936 since 1965

Good-Condition-No-repairs-needed New-Construction Repairs-are-needed

94% Source: PCRG

OF HOMES WERE BUILT PRIOR TO 19655

industrial

RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL Year Built 1 - 1911 1912 - 1936 1937 - 1964

4,873,649 ft2 1965 - 2009

OF TOTAL OCCUPIED SQUARE FOOTAGE2

commercial multi-family res.

institutional or gov. single family res.

94.4%

OF HOMES WERE BUILT PRIOR TO 1965


11

12

13

soon – avoiding the Highland Park bridge construction) and a lack of safe pedestrian and bicycle connectivity to neighboring communities poses a significant challenge for residents. WE HAVE ECONOMIC AND UPWARD MOBILITY CHALLENGES…. Compared to the peer communities, Sharpsburg has a higher rate of renter occupied vs. owner occupied housing units (59.1%/40.9%) and a lower median household income ($30,350).1 Basic needs account for over 50% of the average Sharpsburger’s annual expenditures.3 The borough has no grocery store in town, making it difficult for residents to procure fresh and healthy foods. Sharpsburg is, however, lucky to have several institutions that provide needed services in the community, including the Sharpsburg Community Library, the Northern Area Multi-Service Center, and others. WE HAVE 1.5 MILES OF WATERFRONT THAT HAS COME BACK ONLINE… Sharpsburg’s riverfront is currently in the planning stages of redevelopment and will likely include housing, a mix of uses, and a trail connection between Aspinwall and Etna. This regional attraction will greatly influence Sharpsburg’s market and neighboring communities. The developer-owned riverfront area of this upcoming development accounts for 11.5% of the Borough, and the rest of the Borough is within a 5-10 minute walk of the site.

14

OUR BOROUGH NEEDS INVESTMENT… Sharpsburg is working on a streetscape redesign and has a Fight Blight Working Group to address vacant buildings and parcels and to make the streets more enjoyable places to be. The Borough’s infrastructure and buildings are aging, including the sewer system, which occasionally overflows.

PCRG Sharpsburg Property Condition Assessment, 2015. LC, Allegheny County Property Assessments, 2015. The Breathe Project, U.S. EPA, Clean Air Task Force, 2017. 9 FEMA Flood Zones, GIS, 2017. 10 OverdoseFreePA, 2017. 11 Sharpsmeade Community Event; Image: SNO 12 Marion Gerardi Memorial Park; Image: Donna Ford 13 Sharpsburg Fall Festival; Image: SNO 14 Dancing Gnome Brewery; Image: Next Pittsburgh 6 7 8

OUR IDENTITY | 13


OUR

VISION

SHARPSBURG IS A

COMMUNITY of

OPPORTUNITY We are a friendly and welcoming community where all people are connected, thriving, resilient, and empowered to be the best they can be.

14 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


SHARPSBURG

TOMORROW A community’s identity is often defined by its unique places and landmarks, the activities and events of the community, and the values that residents appreciate most. These influences were distilled into a community vision statement and supporting principles. These principles act as goals for new development, programs, policies, etc. A community’s identity can consist of a combination of things, but it is often distilled to one or two characteristics when viewed by non-residents. For example, in the City of Pittsburgh, the Oakland neighborhood is often known as an “academic, cultural, and healthcare center,” Mount Washington is known for its “scenic view and elegant restaurants,” and Bloomfield is known as “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy.” It is important that Sharpsburgers take control of their own identity, to define who they are and what they want to be. Being in control of your community’s narrative is a powerful and necessary process that can help guide future development, government policies, and demographic and economic trends. Feedback received during Steering Committee and Community Meetings informed the project team’s understanding of how Sharpsburgers perceive themselves and how they would like to be perceived by the greater region. These themes emphasized a “Best in Class Environmental Performance Community” that leverages resiliency and sustainability with innovative environmental practices, programs, and technology to improve quality of life for residents; a “Riverfront Community” that leverages the riverfront to improve quality of life, catalyze economic development, and for recreational and environmental purposes; and a “Community of Opportunity” where

people can find the opportunities and resources needed to thrive economically, live safely in quality affordable housing, are healthy and connected to their neighbors and environment, and are empowered to make change. These ideas were distilled into the vision statement shown on the adjacent page, and the principles listed below.

A COMMUNITY OF OPPORTUNITY IS DEFINED BY ITS ELEMENTS: C

CONNECTED to the riverfront, the region, the natural environment, and to each other.

R

RESILIENT and constantly striving for best-in-class environmental performance.

T

THRIVING as individuals and as a community, contributing to a healthy and prosperous quality of life.

E

EMPOWERED to make change in their community and to co-create their community’s identity.

OUR IDENTITY | 15


SHARPSBURG TOMORROW COMMUNITIES OF OPPORTUNITY Like other communities in the region, Sharpsburg is experiencing a transitioning economy with new types of businesses and changing market dynamics. The borough is known as a relatively safe and affordable neighborhood with a high quality school district and strong social networks and services. These qualities, as well as location, amenities, and potential for investment, elevate Sharpsburg’s regional profile and desirability. Sharpsburg defines a “community of opportunity” as a place where all people can thrive and where there are equitable ladders to prosperity. The definition helps address the concerns that Sharpsburg will face in its pivot. It is informative to learn how others have described the term “community of opportunity.” According to Robert Weissbourd, a scholar and urban analyst, communities of opportunity leverage their economic assets workforce, enterprises, real estate, and so on - into regional networks. They foster businesses and industries that participate regional supply chains clusters. They support residents as they develop their skills

and connect them to opportunities in occupations demanded by regional employers. They also cultivate connections between entrepreneurs and small businesses and the regional resources and networks that can enable and catalyze their growth.1 Weissbourd says that communities of opportunity also need to be “communities of choice” that offer “unique combinations of goods, services and other amenities that attract and retain the individuals and households that most value that particular bundle of characteristics.” While physical and economic connectivity is important to a community of choice, Sharpsburg has also advocated for cultural connectivity of the existing and new, with particular attention to the grassroots efforts of people and enterprises that have sustained Sharpsburg. Sharpsburg is committed to a self-determined identity that addresses its legacy and intentionally positions itself for future growth. As Weissbourd says, “In well-functioning, connected neighborhoods, choice and opportunity go hand-in-hand.”1

RIVER ECONOMY - 18513

Communities of “ opportunity need to

RAIL ECONOMY - 18823

16 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

serve their existing population and attract new residents and enterprises by becoming communities of choice.

.


SHARPSBURG TOMORROW PREPARING FOR THE NEXT ECONOMIC SHIFT Like many riverfront communities, Sharpsburg’s waterfront was part of a regional economy connected by the river and railroads. Large riverfront and industrial sites provided jobs that were part of a regional supply chain. Industries employed Sharpsburg residents as well as workers from outside the Borough. Smaller scale industrial sites were integrated throughout the neighborhood and businesses such as Sharpsburg’s metal shops or Lawrenceville’s spring manufacturing played an important role for the region’s dominant industries. When the steel industry collapsed, many of these businesses either closed or adapted to new products. In addition to the river, the working railroad and the new highway allowed Sharpsburg to retain many of its smaller scale urban industrial uses. Decommissioned mills were salvaged in Sharpsburg’s riverfront scrapyards. Railroad spurs enabled fabricators to move materials in and out of Sharpsburg. Other sites near the highway exit were redeveloped and became easily accessible for office workers as well as stockyards and nurseries. Neighborhood change depends on the physical and social assets of a community, but is driven by regional economies.1 The Pittsburgh economy is experiencing a sustained shift towards the technology and knowledge based sectors, often referred to as the innovation economy.

Sharpsburg has assets that will be attractive to growth, including: • legacy buildings suitable for warehouse conversions • affordable housing in a unique neighborhood fabric • amenities such as a downtown business district and waterfront access • access to a high quality school district • connectivity to strong real estate markets and close proximity to economic clusters Sharpsburg has not yet experienced the market attention seen in other Allegheny River communities such as Lawrenceville and Aspinwall. This could be due to a number of factors: • lack of a strong external identity • few anchor businesses or enterprises to attract people • limited or disconnected natural amenities • a large number of poorly maintained or low quality structures While these factors may negatively influence growth in a weak real estate market, the strengthening of the market in neighboring communities means that these issues are changing. In addition, newly available parcels, such as the 47+ acres of river frontage, are creating strong interest in Sharpsburg and make it likely that Sharpsburg will experience more primary riverfront and secondary landside development than in any previous period.

Weissbourd, 2016. Webber, 2016. 3 ESRI, Historic Pittsburgh. 1

HIGHWAY ECONOMY - 1967

3

2

OUR IDENTITY | 17


SHARPSBURG TOMORROW

Hostel

Bowling Alley

Restaurants

Landmarks

Urban Hiking Trail

Beach

geography

Theater

Clothing Store

Stadium

REGION

Radio Station

Skating Rink

Floating Pool

Gallery Shoe Store

LOW

Business Incubator

Culinary School

Comedy Club

Art Supply Shop Perform. Venue

Magnet School

RED indicates uses related to identity. Office Space

Ice Cream/ Bakery Yoga Studio

Home Improve. Store

Boat Launch

Book Store

BLUE indicates uses expected in every neighborhood business district.

Flea Market

Athletic Field

Repair Store

frequency

Drug Store

Health Services

Community Center

Community Garden

Riverfront Trail

Farmer’s Market

Every community should have a balance of regionally-attractive amenities that contribute to their identity and the regional economy; as well as locallyserving high-frequency amenities.

MAINTAINING SHARPSBURG AS A COMMUNITY FOR ALL Economic indicators suggest that Sharpsburg will become an “ascending middle neighborhood” where working and middle class citizens will feel increasing market pressures and the neighborhood will be in greater demand.2 This may cause property values to increase and increased market activity within the community. Across the Allegheny River, Lawrenceville has experienced increasing property values over the past 15-20 years, with an acceleration in the past 5 years. The transition from a weak market to a strong market can create stress in a community as people perceive a lack of control and structural changes to the community (such as higher property values), which changes peoples’ ability to contribute and

18 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Continuing Education Classes

Beauty/ Barber Shop Coffee Shop

frequency

Nail Salon

Restaurant School Food Incubator

HIGH

Food Trucks

Grocery Store

Art Studio

Staple Shops & Services

Laundromat

Maker space

Church Daycare

LOCAL

Pop-up shops

geography

participate in the market. Preserving affordability is a top priority. Affordable communities provide lower income households an opportunity to purchase, rent, or maintain a home or business. This has a direct and positive impact on the culture of the community. It ensures that people of all stages and ages can live in Sharpsburg, enhancing the diversity of people who contribute skills in the local job market, and allows for creative entrepreneurship and decreasing risk for start-up businesses. At minimum, affordability policies and programs should prevent displacement. More proactively, policies can cultivate a community known for a creative and diverse culture. The buildings and structures of Sharpsburg can be a strong asset for maintaining affordability. The

small scale of many of the buildings provides opportunities for investment from businesses and homeowners. Many can be fixed up with sweat equity as part of their solution. However, there are challenges, as many of these properties require a level of investment that exceeds their assessed value. As property owners evaluate whether to invest in renovation or building new, technical assistance, financial programs, regulatory controls, and strategic neighborhood planning will help to identify which structures most contribute to the character of the neighborhood and its culture of opportunity. With this shift (and opportunity) in mind, it is important for Sharpsburg to define its identity, and guide its future using the principles described on the following section.


PLANNING FOR SHARPSBURG’S FUTURE Sharpsburg is a hidden gem along the Allegheny River. The community has many assets, including river access, an intact main street business district, a strong school district, close proximity to the City of Pittsburgh, and public amenities like a newly renovated library. Sharpsburgers have expressed that they value their walkable neighborhood and feel connected to their neighbors. No community is without its challenges though, and the residents of Sharpsburg have shared areas for improvement. Residents would like to see a reduction in drug activity and crime and would like to lessen the stigma of blighted property in the community. Additionally, a large portion of the Borough is in the floodplain, and the community sees that long-term affordability and equity are becoming increasingly challenging. As the Greater Pittsburgh Area continues to transform on the world stage, change is coming, including along Sharpsburg’s riverfront. Within the context of this change, this plan is a chance for Sharpsburg to develop a competitive advantage. The plan

LOW

As Pittsburgh transforms on the world stage and Sharpsburg’s riverfront develops, the borough will create a competitive advantage that improves quality of life for existing residents and invites new residents and businesses to participate.

COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

Sharpsburg will develop collaborative relationships with individuals, businesses, organizations, developers, and adjacent communities. They will aggregate efforts to accomplish larger goals.

REGION

REGION

geography

geography

HIGH HIGH

HIGH HIGHLOWLOW

frequency

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

The establishment of a connected, thriving, resilient, and empowered community of opportunity has just begun, and it will require collaborative relationships with individuals, businesses, organizations, developers, and adjacent communities to be successful. It will need to be creatively and continuously cultivated, and future growth must be guided intentionally to fulfill Sharpsburg’s future vision.

geography

frequency

Sharpsburg’s challenges related to the floodplain, equity, and longterm affordability will be addressed head on, to minimize displacement and improve quality of life.

The Community Vision Plan establishes Sharpsburg’s identity as a Community of Opportunity, and articulates values and strategies to support this identity. The plan also provides placemaking recommendations that are supported by the community and the emerging market. Lastly, the plan details catalytic projects that will build momentum and are key to supporting the Borough’s future vision.

REGION

HIGH

CHALLENGES

addresses Sharpsburg’s challenges, develops guidelines that enhance existing assets, and identifies new possibilities. The suggestions provided are intended to improve the community for existing residents and businesses while positioning the community to attract newcomers.

frequency frequency frequency frequency

frequency frequency

LOW

HIGH

frequency

frequency

LOCAL

LOCAL

LOCAL

Uses that attract adjacent communities.

Uses that have a regional attraction.

Uses that would strengthen Sharpsburg’s existing amenities.

geography

geography

geography

OUR IDENTITY | 19


A community of opportunity is defined by its

PRINCIPLES Sharpsburg faces many challenges that require long term commitment and collective action. The principles will be a “north star” to help guide decisionmaking.

P1.

LEVERAGE NEW DEVELOPMENT

P2.

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY

P3.

BUILD COMMUNITY PROSPERITY

P4.

INVITE THE REGION

P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

P6.

PREPARE TO BE AGILE DECISIONMAKERS

Photo: Nanci Goldberg


P1.

LEVERAGE NEW DEVELOPMENT to benefit existing residents and the local economy and enable Sharpsburgers to shape their own future.

P3.

BUILD COMMUNITY PROSPERITY through wealth building, education, and wellness.

P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT to boost environmental performance.

22 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

P2.

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY, build community wealth, and protect existing Sharpsburg assets.

P4.

INVITE THE REGION and nation to contribute to and learn from Sharpsburg’s leadership.

P6.

PREPARE TO BE AGILE DECISIONMAKERS in a rapidly changing environment.


PRINCIPLES As Sharpsburg moves from planning to action, the community may encounter challenges or opportunities that were not within view prior to this report. This community vision plan provides guiding principles to inform decisionmaking in an ever-changing environment. A community of opportunity is defined by its principles: LEVERAGE NEW DEVELOPMENT

P1.

pg. 26

P3.

pg. 24

P5.

BUILD COMMUNITY PROSPERITY

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

pg. 40

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY

P2.

pg. 38

P4.

pg. 38

P6.

pg. 54

INVITE THE REGION

PREPARE TO BE AGILE DECISIONMAKERS

new development renovation project park/open space

PRINCIPLES | 23


P1. PRINCIPLE ONE Leverage new development to benefit existing residents and the local economy and enable Sharpsburgers to shape their own future. Sharpsburgers know that change is coming and they want to be able to shape their own future. Tensions can arise when a community changes quickly and the existing population does not see their needs reflected in the change. The development of an “us versus them� culture is less likely if the community advocates for changes that have direct benefit to the community. To continue being a community for everyone, Sharpsburgers want the change to benefit the people who live and work in the community. New development should be considered as to how it can contribute to the community vitality and identity. When new businesses arrive and new development happens, Sharpsburgers want everyone to feel excited and included in the change and to think strategically about real and tangible benefits. This principle identifies good governance practices that ensure the new development is mutually beneficial and that the community has the capacity to be a strong partner in an emerging market.

RECOMMENDED METRICS # of individuals who are aware of projects and development processes # of new jobs held by Sharpsburgers in Sharpsburg months spent in planning process to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes # of key infrastructure improvements that have been fulfilled $ invested on both sides of the railroad tracks % diversity of household incomes # of businesses or projects that establish a Community Benefit statement or agreement

24 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

2026 GOALS # of businesses owned by Sharpsburgers # of residents who participate in planning processes and community meetings # of businesses that fill community gaps (leakage - such as a grocery store) # of residents who work in Sharpsburg


POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS Establish a strong coalition of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to review neighborhood strategy and meet with potential developers, businesses, and projects. This should include a community development corporation that has the capacity to manage property development, as well as advocacy groups such as garden clubs, the chamber of commerce, historic preservation, groups, and other special interests. Many of these organizations are active in the community already, but coordinated review and handling of physical and economic development will give the community a stronger negotiating position and will expedite the process for potential projects. Create roles that emphasize communication and coordination. For example, an Opportunity Coordinator might develop, coordinate, and communicate programming and projects to residents and internal constituents. A Sharpsburg Ambassador could manage collaborations and cultivate funding and partnering opportunities. These may be separate positions or roles within the CBO.

Develop a Sharpsburg leadership cohort of people who can connect with the community about this plan, can communicate and activate people about development and progress, and who can explain how Sharpsburg relates to regional and national trends. This group should have open enrollment, but should have training and be formally managed to bring both existing and new residents together. Financial support should be available to ensure equitable participation. Adopt the EcoDistricts framework to refine the Action Plan and align efforts with other communities. Sharpsburg is participating in the Triboro Ecodistrict with Millvale and Etna and should consider an official registration with the EcoDistricts organization to more fully participate. Private partners can also participate in the EcoDistricts effort and it could be a frame to evaluate both the new and existing development. Be prepared to initiate or to participate in collaborative public-private partnerships that allow the community to negotiate infrastructure improvements, mitigate potential negative impacts, and establish benefit to all parties.

Establish municipal regulations and a community culture that ensure transparent and inclusive review processes and project implementation. Create clear channels of communication and make information easily accessible. Establish whether existing municipal regulations can address strong market issues such as parking, affordability, etc. Gaps in the code should be filled as soon as possible. Consider the use of Community Benefit Agreements or Statements that explicitly establish a mutually beneficial relationship between development and the community. These agreements should address community priorities for infrastructure improvements, services, employment, training, etc. Set social, economic, and physical environment goals and track progress with a community scorecard. Evaluate projects based on these projections and create an annual report for the community.

EXISTING INITIATIVES Riverfront 47. Multi-municipal (Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, O’Hara Twp.) mixed-use riverfront development on site of former scrapyard; led by Allegheny Development Partners and Mosites. Will ultimately connect Sharpsburg to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Allegheny Together/Allegheny County Economic Development. Business district consulting to get more unlisted/vacant properties on the market or occupied with community-serving businesses.

Sharpsburg-Aspinwall Rotary/ Sharpsburg Business Association. These organizations have a long history of engaging local businesses and continue to be active in the community.

Borough Streetscape Redesign. The Borough of Sharpsburg is embarking on the multiphased build out of a redesigned business district streetscape. Riverfront 47 Site, 2016; Image: Riverfront 47.

PRINCIPLES | 25


P2. PRINCIPLE TWO Preserve affordability, build community wealth, and protect existing Sharpsburg assets. It is important that Sharpsburg remains a community for all ages and incomes and that people who want to stay in Sharpsburg can do so. Sharpsburg has a unique physical fabric and architecturally significant structures that enable small scale investment, sweat equity, and locally owned businesses. This allows for a culture of entrepreneurship and we want to build on this as a competitive advantage for a Community of Opportunity. New opportunities and concerns arise when communities experience strong market pressures. Weak market to strong market transitions can invite a greater diversity of amenities and businesses into an area, create a stronger local job market, improve infrastructure, buildings, and the natural environment, and expand the tax base. However, the community should be monitoring for cultural displacement, which occurs when a cohort of people move in or move out and institutions and practices are no longer recognizable. While this is a complex interaction and not dealt with fully in this section, preserving the existing fabric of the community and supporting cultural practices can help newcomers integrate into the existing community. Sharpsburg can continue to be a welcoming community through strategies that preserve affordability for homes and commercial properties by controlling costs, supporting residents to purchase and maintain structures and increasing their buying power, and by increasing the supply of safe and healthy affordable housing.

RECOMMENDED METRICS # of structures improved ratio of homeowners to renters $ average rent/square foot # of permanently affordable homes

26 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

2026 GOALS % of population cost burdened by housing expenses years of tenure in Sharpsburg # of units affordable to those at or below 80% of AMI


POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS Consider municipal regulations that support community goals, such as inclusionary zoning policies focused on constructing new affordable units alongside market rate units. Consider three types of studies to help identify gaps and the most effective tools for Sharpsburg’s future: a new movers study, a community needs assessment, and a market value assessment. A new movers study will help you understand who has moved in and out of Sharpsburg recently and their motivations and perceptions. A community needs assessment will help you understand the needs of existing residents and businesses. A market value assessment would more thoroughly benchmark Sharpsburg’s assets with the regional market to understand supply and demand.

Work with banks, the County, and others to create programs that encourage people to purchase and improve properties. These might be facade improvement grants that preserve the character of a structure, or could be reduced rate loans, mortgages or bridge financing. Establish a responsible rental program that empowers owners to improve and maintain quality and affordable housing for their tenants. Control key properties through a community development corporation and strategic plan. Improving certain properties may not be attractive investments for private developers, or may be too important to leave to the integrity of a private developer. Improvement of these properties will stabilize areas and help to create a more favorable market for private development, but can also help achieve community goals such as affordable housing, architectural preservation, or hosting of key services.

Establish a community land trust to preserve permanently affordable housing. A community land trust is currently being explored with other communities that share a market with Sharpsburg. The land trust would create permanently affordable housing by separating the land value from the improved (building) value. Create an Affordability Ambassador that can help residents navigate the changing market and prevent displacement. This might include assistance with relocation, educational support for homeowners or renters’ rights, or connection to wealth-building initiatives. Consider how incoming development can help meet community development goals. For example, a municipal housing trust fund that is supplied by new developments with a per-market-rate-unit tax could help fund affordable housing. At the parcel scale, development of key properties may increase interest in nearby parcels and make community development projects more favorable.

Image: evolveEA

EXISTING INITIATIVES Volunteers of America (VOA). VOA’s Delaware Valley regional organization is interested in bringing more human services programs to Sharpsburg in addition to its All of Us Care after school program, and potentially developing affordable housing for various groups of people (seniors, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, etc.).

Micro-regional Community Land Trust (CLT) Feasibility Study. Sharpsburg is currently engaged in a process to determine if the Borough should participate in a micro-regional CLT initiative. ACTION Housing. Built two highly energy efficient single family homes on Middle Street that will eventually be sold to households making 80% or less of the Allegheny County median income.

One of two houses built on Middle St. by ACTION Housing.; Image: ACTION Housing.

PRINCIPLES | 27


P2.

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY

Strategies for Preserving Affordability PREVENT DISPLACEMENT

ALLOW CHOICE

SHAPE CULTURE

MONEY

INCREASED SUPPLY

COMMUNICATION

Revolving loan fund or other funding source Utility’s homeowner assistance program Municipally administered tax relief program Connection to carpool or shared ride co-op

Both market rate and affordable units would increase the supply of affordable units

Places of discussion where people that are making the change and those affected by the change can meet and discuss common values and needs

KNOWLEDGE Homeowner’s/first-time homebuyer’s assistance and education Counseling to connect people to the programs

EXPERTISE Design assistance program or preferred contractor program Professional advice on improvements

LABOR Homeowner weatherization and improvement program

MANAGEMENT Homeowner buyout through a CLT or co-op Shared utilities through a CLT or co-op

Expansion of inventory through construction or renovation

DENSITY

KNOWLEDGE

Zoning and density requirements to allow more density

Ongoing communication about the dynamics of a changing community can help people navigate and be a proactive part of the change

INCREASED # OF AFFORDABLE UNITS Public subsidies to incent directly affordable housing (housing trust fund, federal sources, etc.)

LOWER PER UNIT COST Subsidies or other mechanisms to decrease project costs and thus unit costs

DATA Agency monitoring of inventory and need

TENANT KNOWLEDGE

ACCESS

Connection of tenants to landlords

Maximize access to a breadth of local services and economic opportunities

FUNDING

TIME Maximize support systems like daycare or ride share

INFRASTRUCTURE Develop infrastructure to increase mode choice or access Revolving loan fund for lead pipe and/or sidewalk replacement

May require funds available for renovation or conversion May require development subsidies for the creation of needed housing stock Require financial incentives or other invitational strategies Promote existing funding tools and support homeowners through the process (to increase access to funding) Establish funding tools that offset the margin such as a CLT

INCREASED DEMAND Incentive programs to encourage additional homeownership or renters

28 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

ENGAGEMENT Forums where people can continue to define and solve emergent problems are key. Presenting real decision points and the necessary knowledge to make decisions is important

LEADERSHIP Roles and positions where authentic leadership can be established and exercised and transferred to others in the community

CULTURAL EXPRESSION Places, projects, and processes where people can establish their identity and express their position as a respected member of the community

RESPECT FOR LEGACY PRACTICES Places, projects, and programs that acknowledge contributions or presence within a community

RECOGNITION Opportunities for recognition of the many groups, individuals, and coalitions active in Sharpsburg and their contributions to the community


PREVENT DISPLACEMENT Can residents remain in their homes? People can be forced to leave their homes through direct or indirect changes to the cost of living in or maintaining their home. This is true for both homeowners and renters.

Property owners may be unable to make repairs, especially if the building is not code compliant or has not been regularly maintained.

Homeowners may be cost burdened by utilities if they have inefficient homes, don’t practice conservation, or if utility rates rise.

Property owners may pay more in taxes if property values rise (more likely) or if tax rates rise (less likely).

A new job, doctor, or pharmacy, may be further away, or restrictions in transit services can mean more time or cost to access essential services.

SHARPSBURG COULD CONSIDER: AFFORDABILITY STATISTICS1

Flood improvement district. A flood improvement district is an area that is severely vulnerable to flooding, where building owners have access to funding and technical assistance to improve properties to minimize or avoid future damage caused by flooding.

Community land trust. A community land trust creates permanently affordable housing by having a non-profit retain ownership of the land under the homes, while making homeownership more accessible to lowand middle-income homebuyers.

Revolving loan fund. A revolving load fund could provide loans and technical assistance to homeowners to help them improve their properties. Funds generated through interest, lower utility costs, or other means would replenish the funding pool for future homeowners to use.

Grocery store. Providing access to essential services within the borough is crucial to maintaining affordability and quality of life. The addition of a grocery store or market in the borough would help to improve health, improve local quality of life, and keep Sharpsburg affordable to existing residents.

Potential partner programs and organizations: Conservation Consultants Inc. (CCI), Community Design Center, financial partners, renters’ rights and tenant counseling, NeighborWorks Western PA, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, North Hills Community Outreach, and Roots of Faith/Circles Sharpsburg.

42% homeownership 34% low-income and severely cost-burdened residents $74,300 median home value $642 median gross rent 77% of 2-bedroom rental units are affordable at 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) Enterprise Opportunity 360 Measurement Report, 2017.

1

PRINCIPLES | 29


P2.

PRESERVE AFFORDABILITY

ALLOW CHOICE Can people choose where they move? People can be excluded from a community because there is a mismatch between supply and demand. This can be a physical limitation such as a lack of units, or it can be due to a lack of access to funding or a lack of liquid assets. When people move into a place or when they cannot build, more people may need a unit (increased demand) and there may not be enough (limited supply).

Existing houses may be older and need investment to suit modern living patterns (energy efficient, open spaces, multiple generations, etc.).

More people may be looking for a certain type of unit (subsidized units, small units, accessible units) than there are units available.

People may not have access to funding that suits the available housing (first time homebuyers, renovations, multi-unit or live-work homes, etc.).

SHARPSBURG COULD CONSIDER:

30 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Permanently affordable housing supply. Providing permanently affordable housing through a community land trust, co-op housing, subsidized housing, or other means will allow low and middle income families to remain in or move to Sharpsburg.

Construction of elder housing. Sharpsburg contains a large senior population with access to services and multiple high density elder housing structures. Constructing additional housing options for the elder population will ensure that they can stay in the community if they decide to downsize from single-family homes.

Affordable infill housing. Sharpsburg is a dense community, but several opportunities for infill housing exist. Infill housing should be constructed to better match the housing demand.

Accessory dwelling units. Accessory dwelling units are small dwellings that are constructed on the same land as existing homes, attached to existing homes, or above garages. These units could be rented or could support elders who are aging out of their homes

First-time homebuyer programs and targeted recruitment of existing residents. Connecting support for first time homebuyers and existing residents will build community wealth and lessen the risk of displacement.

Potential partner programs and organizations: Counseling to establish homeownership (tangled title), financial counseling, Northern Area Multi-Service Center, Roots of Faith, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, ACTION-Housing, and Area Agency on Aging.


SHAPE CULTURE Do people feel like they can shape their community? People can feel excluded from a community because they do not identify as part of the culture that is shaping their community. Community culture is always being shaped and reshaped and as communities change, people can experience actual and perceived displacement.

When things change, people can feel displaced when they lose relationships and networks.

When things change, people can feel displaced when they do not see others who share the same cultural practices or economic status.

When things change, people can feel displaced when they lose administrative or physical control over a place or system.

When things change, people can feel displaced when they do not have rich opportunities to share and exchange with others.

SHARPSBURG COULD CONSIDER: •

Training and education on topics relevant to the changing community. The borough should prioritize education, engagement, and activation of community members, so that they have the tools and knowledge needed to make well-informed decisions about Sharpsburg’s future.

Stakeholder mapping of key organizations and networks and creation of an engagement plan. The borough is served by and contains many active community-related organizations and services. The borough should map these assets and create an all-inclusive engagement plan.

Meetings with childcare and meals available. To encourage and support community dialogue and attendance, the borough should offer childcare and meals at community meetings and events.

Potential partner programs and organizations: Community leadership development through organizations like Neighborhood Allies, New Sun Rising, and other organizations.

PRINCIPLES | 31


P3. PRINCIPLE THREE Build community prosperity through wealth building, education, and wellness. As a Community of Opportunity, Sharpsburg will be a borough where people are supported and encouraged to thrive. Everyone in Sharpsburg has a unique contribution to offer the community, and the borough should build from existing assets to provide individuals with the tools that they need to meet their potential. This development principle can be achieved in many ways including supporting existing residents with housing (purchasing a home, finding an affordable unit), education (adult education, youth education support), jobs (workforce development, local jobs), and health (healthcare, addiction support). Additionally, advocating for businesses that appeal to/cater to the needs and interests of existing residents will improve their quality of life and will recycle dollars back into the community. Sharpsburg is currently serviced by many non-profits and service providers who work in housing, education, health, and other areas. The community can better serve residents by building a support network and a culture of opportunity that better connects residents to the resources they need.

RECOMMENDED METRICS

2026 GOALS

# of businesses that fill community gaps (leakage - such as a grocery store)

% unemployment rate

% diversity of household incomes

# overdose incidents

# of individuals participating in housing support programs # of individuals participating in education programs # of new jobs held by Sharpsburgers in Sharpsburg # of employment types % graduation rate # of businesses owned by Sharpsburgers # of essential services

32 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

$ median household income


POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS ECONOMY & EDUCATION Cultivate a local economy where money is recycled in the community. For example, social impact investing can enable neighbors to fund communityowned projects that benefit existing residents. Public funding or incentives could be offered in exchange for local procurement and employment policies. Partner with or establish a community development financial institution to provide responsible, affordable lending to low-income and other disadvantaged people. Work with local professionals and banks to provide financial empowerment classes, where residents can receive financial education. Help people build wealth through a rising real estate market. Real estate has long been a way to build wealth and, although it is not guaranteed, rising markets in the adjacent communities of Lawrenceville and the East End have enabled homeowners to recoup investment. Although homeownership might not be right for everyone, communities with high levels of home ownership have been shown to have more involvement and investment by residents which increases property value and equity for the homeowners. This virtuous cycle can be challenged by many things but the experience in adjacent communities shows that after market values rise, this opportunity for wealth building, especially by existing residents, decrease.

Help renters to evaluate their real estate strategies and possibly move from rental to homeownership. Sharpsburg’s housing stock of modest homes that are flexible and able to be renovated by a homeowner will likely make them appealing to first-time homeowners. Nationally, the trend of declining mediumsized households and increase in smaller households means that smaller structures are in demand.1 This potential could displace many existing residents for whom this housing is their only choice. Help existing property owners understand the market dynamics and strengthen their position. Provide first time homebuyer’s assistance to support higher rates of homeownership. Offer education on real estate investment, construction, and maintenance to ensure that today’s investments provide value to the community and the individual over the years to come. Establish Sharpsburg’s reputation as a place to start and grow a business. A business incubator can support and encourage entrepreneurs and local business enterprises to connect to the regional economy. Certain types of businesses such as shared office space and child care allow businesses and their employees to participate more in the community. Market these services as a package and consider a unique identity (either an interesting space, affordable price, or perhaps unique philosophy such as green coworking space and entrepreneurship incubation). Sharpsburg is already home to a successful food incubator (La Dorita), which could act as a model for other themed incubators in the community.

Provide connectivity and equitable access, both physically and virtually. Connectivity with transit choices and with equitable access to the internet gives individuals more choices when looking for employment or operating a business. Provide public Wi-Fi to ensure residents of all ages and incomes have access, and be vigilant about transit routes that connect to relevant places in a timely way. Watch for opportunities to connect to employment centers such as East Liberty, Oakland, or Downtown. Track emerging ways to move in the city, such as a bike trails and autonomous vehicles. Establish Sharpsburg’s reputation as a place to find quality workers. Workforce training opportunities and job placement assistance can help connect residents to local businesses, as well as to regional opportunities. Establish and grow business clusters that connect the community to the regional and global economy. Sharpsburg currently has a cluster of metal working shops and other clusters including automotive services and building material businesses. New development is attracting innovation economy businesses, which at first look might seem to be very different. However, both materials-based and knowledge-based businesses are going through significant shifts and could benefit from being part of a larger regional conversation regarding these trends and their implications for the future. Coordinate with similar businesses to understand where clusters exist, how they connect to the regional economy, their future visions, and how Sharpsburg can be part of their strategic advantage. 1

Mallach, 2016.

PRINCIPLES | 33


P3.

BUILD COMMUNITY PROSPERITY

POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS (continued) New market tax credits can help invite businesses to start or relocate to Sharpsburg. Seek businesses that fill a market gap and/or have been identified as a priority by the community (such as a grocery store). Establish Sharpsburg as a place where lifelong learning is integral to the culture and is embraced by both residents and businesses. The Fox Chapel School District is known for its excellent education, but many students face economic or social situations that prevent them from taking full advantage of the opportunities. Partner with the district, regional education networks, and potential businesses or industries to create programs that can address structural issues and create a pipeline of people ready to participate in the emerging economy. Programs might include: Cradle-to-career strategies to improve education outcomes for children. Free and quality preschool within the neighborhood for low-income residents. A summer employment program and a teen development center partnered with a university for STEAM programming for local youth.

HEALTH & WELLNESS Make sure that social services are available for those who need them. Partner with institutions to discuss possible community changes and to identity key services needed for residents who are not able to participate. For example, individuals and families might need transitional housing and other supporting programs to help overcome homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, transitioning out of foster care, etc. A Community Needs Assessment will help identify who may benefit from these efforts. Create a complete community where food, healthcare, access to outdoors, and other amenities allow people to more easily live healthy lifestyles. Sharpsburg’s future connections to the river and adjacent communities can make it a community of choice for people who want to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Current residents should have a strong role in establishing these amenities to ensure it is not just perceived as “serving the newcomers.”

Expand and consolidate efforts to provide food to those in need through community food bank strategizing with local organizations serving people experiencing food insecurity. Partner with providers to establish greater access to healthcare, including doctors offices and/ or weekly clinics. Establish these places as community centers with high quality indoor and outdoor spaces. Provide inter-generational programming to support interaction between the younger and older. Make elder care facilities easily accessible and visible within the community to integrate multiple generations in the life of the community. The current elder tower is well positioned near the center of the business district but lacks outdoor space or easily accessed commercial spaces. Participate in national healthoriented programs like the Health in All Policies program and regional programs like Allegheny County’s Live Well program to access support for community health, and to incorporate health considerations into decision-making.

EXISTING INITIATIVES CIRCLES Sharpsburg. A program of Roots of Faith that aligns residents looking to improve their financial situation with allies who offer advice and guidance on topics like employment, budgeting, and building connections. La Dorita Cooks. La Dorita Cooks is a commercial kitchen share space and food business startup incubator.

34 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Roots of Faith. This organization offers a monthly clinic during its Thursday night community dinners and scheduled rides to a Lawrenceville clinic through a partnership with UPMC.

Northern Area Multi-Service Center. This organization offers a variety of programs for seniors, including the affordable Body & Soul Senior Center. Saint Juan Diego Parish. This organization offers a semiregular food bank thanks to donations and partnerships.


1

2

3

4

Northern Area Multi-Service Center. Photo: Debbie Drodge. 2 Roots of Faith, CIRCLES Sharpsburg. 3 St. Juan Diego Parish. 4 La Dorita Photo: Urban Innovation 21. 1

PRINCIPLES | 35


P4. PRINCIPLE FOUR Invite the region and nation to contribute to and learn from Sharpsburg’s leadership. Robert Weissbourd cites two sets of factors that influence the trajectory of a community - local amenities and regional economic connectedness.1 While we are looking inward to define our identity we are also looking outward to connect to regional and national networks that will shape our future. This planning process has revealed the physical and cultural assets and aspirations of the community - input that defines local character and amenities. This plan also identifies ways to better connect Sharpsburg to regional economic opportunities, creating a virtuous circle of empowerment that defines Sharpsburg as a Community of Opportunity. Sharpsburg would like to thrive, demonstrating regional and national leadership with the principles, programs, and places that we have created for ourselves. We would like to learn from others, and to invite collaborations and contributors to inform our path. We would like to share our story with the world, and help other communities to do the same.

RECOMMENDED METRICS # of visitors from outside of the region # of neighborhood leaders # of full-time SNO employees # of SNO volunteers

2026 GOALS # of times Sharpsburg has been positively mentioned in the regional media # of presentations given to national audiences # of University and/or municipal partnerships

36 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS Create a Sharpsburg marketing campaign to brand, communicate, and control Sharpsburg’s identity and story and how it is viewed by the region and beyond. Planning processes uncover many assets and reveal aspirations of a community that can be used as the basis of a marketing campaign. The national community development organization NeighborWorks describes two different types of marketing campaigns: an internal campaign and an external campaign.1 A campaign for an internal audience helps to build pride and awareness in a community and encourage participation. This becomes the basis of a selfdetermined external identity. There are already many initiatives and characteristics that could be built upon for a marketing campaign. Events such as the Open Streets and the Sharpsmeade Festival have created a buzz about the community and could be grown separately or as part of a series to differentiate Sharpsburg and encourage more visitors. While people may visit for a festival, they will stay for the opportunities, whether that be affordability, education, or other amenities

Sharpsburg should host a short but intense process to create an intentional brand for the community. Residents do not seem to gravitate to any overriding brand, such as Millvale’s “Made in Millvale” campaign or Bloomfield’s “Little Italy” identity. A unique Sharpsburg brand could build on things such as Sharpsburg blue, Sharpsburg’s history as the home of Heinz, the exquisite riverfront environment, and the theme of this report, Community of Opportunity. The number and focus of media attention should be tracked.

Develop well-educated neighborhood leadership that is active in national dialogue on community development. Share experiences with other communities and learn from their experiences as well. Develop a budget to send community members and municipal and CBO staff to national forums like the Community Land Trust Conference and the EcoDistricts Conference. This group will not only bring information and ideas back to the community but will serve as an ambassador to recruit people and enterprises as well.

Partner with start-ups, universities, and non-profits to pioneer new ideas and technologies. Sharpsburg’s riverfront can create opportunities for visionary and creative partnerships with industries and organizations who are on the cutting edge of technologies. For example, Sharpsburg could be home to a hydrogeneration microplant that could become a competitive advantage for businesses in the community and in the new development. The municipality and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) need to be ready to initiate and manage partnerships between public and private entities. Consider creating a dedicated Manager of Innovation to help identify and establish partnerships and projects.

Partner with Etna and Millvale as part of the Triboro Ecodistrict, and with adjacent neighborhoods to align resources, events, programs, and projects. Sharpsburg functions in an ecosystem of rivertowns and these communities have much in common. There will continue to be opportunities to pursue funding for shared projects and the strong economic edges of adjacent communities will drive development. Newcomers may begin to see these towns as villages along the river, connected with bike trails and a waterway, instead of the distinct municipalities that drive their current identities. Consider a regional cluster identity as part of this collaboration (see Principle 5 for more information).

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group. PCRG has been working in Sharpsburg since early 2015, when Sharpsburg became a target community in the Reimagining Communities Initiative. PCRG, using the Neighborhood Assistance Program funding through DCED, has served as SNO’s fiscal sponsor, helping to build the organization’s capacity and secure its own 501c3 taxexempt nonprofit designation.

Multi-municipal cooperation. The communities of Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg not only share a joint comprehensive plan, but have also banded together to form the Triboro Ecodistrict, an initiative that will share knowledge and resources to improve quality of life across the three communities.

EXISTING INITIATIVES Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Sharpsburg was chosen as a target community for ACCD’s Strengthening Communities Partnership, which connects communities to pro bono resources from the Conference’s corporate partners, plus funding from those partners through the NAP state tax credit program.

1

Nedland, 2016.

PRINCIPLES | 37


P5. PRINCIPLE FIVE Align with Triboro Ecodistrict to boost environmental performance. Improving Sharpsburg’s environmental performance is important to the community for several reasons: improved economy, greater equity, improved quality of life, and reduced ecological footprint. Boosting Sharpsburg’s environmental performance will improve resident health by reducing asthma rates, providing local and healthy foods, encouraging active lifestyles, reducing diabetes rates and more. It will also improve quality of life by reducing costs spend on energy, improving property values, increasing visitors and dollars spent in the community, and reducing vulnerability to flooding and increased flood insurance premiums. Lastly, it will improve Sharpsburg’s natural environment by reducing the borough’s carbon footprint, improving conditions for ecological systems, and improving air quality. Sharpsburg is part of the Triboro Ecodistrict, whose goals include boosting environmental performance to achieve the above stated goals, and - above all else - improve quality of life for residents. The Triboro (which contains Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg) also views Ecodistricts as an opportunity for the community to participate and co-create their communities’ futures in a an equitable and all-inclusive way. By aligning with the Triboro Ecodistrict these communities can share resources, knowledge, and capacity to achieve greater goals.

EXISTING INITIATIVES Triboro Ecodistrict. The Triboro Ecodistrict is an effort to promote coordinated sustainable community development throughout the Boroughs of Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg. The Triboro Ecodistrict leverages assets created over the past six years in Millvale, and existing assets within Etna and Sharpsburg, to collaboratively grow partnerships and impacts together. These three communities were recently awarded a $2.3 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman

38 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Foundation to advance the Triboro Ecodistrict over the next three years. This grant will fund planning efforts, green infrastructure, arts initiatives, education, staffing, and much more. The Triboro Ecodistrict is an initiative of New Sun Rising. Shade Tree Commission. Blawnox, Etna, and Sharpsburg currently have a joint multi-municipal shade tree commission, which has received multiple tree grants through the Treevitalize program.

Sharpsburg Environmental Advisory Council. This Council was created in 2017 to offer guidance to the Borough on environmental issues.


EQUITY Sharpsburg is a community of opportunity where we thrive as individuals and collectively.

FOOD Sharpsburgers will have access to affordable and healthy food and will be connected to a regional food network.

WATER Sharpsburg will integrate and celebrate water as an asset throughout the community.

ENERGY Sharpsburg will strive to become an energy independent community.

AIR QUALITY Sharpsburgers will breathe clean air indoors and outdoors.

MOBILITY Mobility is essential for all generations and should improve quality of life and advance the economy.

PRINCIPLES | 39


P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

FOOD Sharpsburgers will have access to affordable and healthy food and will be connected to a regional food network.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

12.8%

of their annual household income on food (the average American spends 10.1%).5

2026 METRICS Food Production, Processing, and Distribution # of days with fresh vegetables available # of restaurants Improve efficiency and close loops Avg. $/person spent per week at Green Grocer Avg. # of customers per week at Green Grocer Community Benefit # of recycling drop-off sites # of restaurants in Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program

Allegheny County Food Facilities, GIS, 2015. ESRI, Infogroup, 2016. SWPA Community Profiles, ACHD, 2015. 4 PAAC Fare Information. 5 ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys 2013 and 2014. 6 USDA, Food Access Research, 2018. 1 2 3

40 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Access to affordable and healthy food is essential for the health and wellbeing of Sharpsburg residents. Sharpsburg will need to address food access and should consider expanding opportunities to grow food and connect residents to the regional food network. Food Access Sharpsburg contains several local restaurants, two breweries, and convenience stores that sell food, but Sharpsburgers must travel outside of the community to access a grocery store. The closest grocery stores are in Aspinwall and Upper Lawrenceville. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Green Grocer produce truck visits Sharpsburg weekly, all year long and for those in need, the Saint Juan Diego Parish operates a local food bank. Growing Food The Sharpsburg Community Library’s backyard is home to the Sharpsburg Community Garden, which is looking to expand. The Library also offers cooking lessons taught by a Sharpsburgbased chef. La Dorita, located in the eastern part of Sharpsburg, is a kitchen incubator that helps foodbased businesses get off the ground by providing access to their licensed and inspected commercial kitchen. Market Supply/Demand While Sharpsburg has several food-related amenities, a market analysis shows that the supply is not meeting the market demand. This is true for beer, wine, and liquor stores, bars, special food services, specialty food stores, and restaurants. Ironically, the only demand being met in Sharpsburg (according to the analysis) is grocery stores. The reason for this is because “packaged foods” (i.e. frozen dinners, junk food, etc.) are sold in the local Family Dollar and

Dollar General. Overcoming this oversight in the market analysis is a struggle Sharpsburg must address before a grocery store or market will consider locating in the Borough.2 This is of particular concern because the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest food access study classifies Sharpsburg as a low-income, low-food-access community, also referred to as a “food desert”.6 Health and Cost Impacts Access to healthy food is directly linked to health, and with 30% of Sharpsburgers considered obese, this is an issue the community must tackle.3 The abundance of unhealthy “packaged foods” and the lack of a grocery store or market in the borough prevents residents from easy everyday access to healthy food. Food costs are another concern. For those making a bi-weekly trip to the grocery store via bus, annual bus fare can exceed $500.4 With 19.6% of the community relying on food assistance/SNAP, and 27% of the community living below the poverty line, this is a significant cost burden.3 Compared to neighboring communities, Sharpsburg’s median household income is lower. Lower incomes combined with the types of food available in the borough means that the average Sharpsburger spends 12.8% of their annual household income on food, 2.7% more than the average American.5 A Local + Regional Approach Connecting Sharpsburgers to regional farmers while providing more opportunities to purchase healthy food is essential to approaching their food issues. The riverfront development could provide land to expand growing opportunities and could increase market demand for a grocery store.


FOOD ACCESS1 RAVINE STREET

restaurants breweries convenience stores services education community garden

CLIFTON AVENUE

HEINZ TERRACE

HIGH STREET

SOUTH CANAL

STREET

NOBLE STREET

L STRE

N. CANA

STREE

18TH STREET

16TH STREET

CHAPMAN

STREET

MAIN STREET

T

T

STREE

STREE 21ST

22ND

T

STREE 4TH

STREE 3RD

T

CANAL

STREE

HIGH LAN D PAR K BRID

GE

62ND

STREE

E T BRIDG

SHORT

0

5TH

T

STREE

T

MAIN

MIDDLE STREET

14TH STREET

MAIN STREET T

SOUTH

17TH STREET

MARYS AVENUE

ET

CLAY STREET

15TH STREET

LINDEN AVENUE

11TH STREET

9TH STREET

LEAKAGE SURPLUS 10TH STREET

8TH STREET

GAR

6TH STREET

NIER

STRE

ET

13TH STREET

PENN STREET

GROCERY STORES IN SHARPSBURG 0’

500’

1000’

N

Beer, Wine & Liquor Stores

-76.1

Drinking Places - Alcoholic Beverages

-58.8

MARKET SUPPLY & DEMAND2 leakage surplus

Special Food Services

-43.3 -15.7

Specialty Food Stores

-13.2

Food Services & Drinking Places Restaurants/Other Eating Places

-6.0

Food & Beverage Stores

27.7

Convenience Stores POTENTIAL HEALTH IMPACTS

59.9

FOOD & BEVERAGE SUPPLY DOES NOT MEET DEMAND

OBESITY RATES3

Allegheny County

City of Pittsburgh

Sharpsburg

26%

36%

30%

Source: SWPA Profile, ACHD 2015

BUS ROUTES TO NEAREST GROCERY STORES4

TO SHOP N SAVE 10 minutes 29 minutes

TO ALDI 6 minutes

(with 18 minutes of walking)

27 minutes (with 19 minutes of walking)

TO SHOP N SAVE 6 minutes

$500+

TO MARKET DISTRICT 5 minutes 7 minutes (1 minute walk from bus stop)

11 minutes (3 minute walk from bus stop)

ANNUAL BUS FARE FOR BI-WEEKLY GROCERY STORE TRIP

PRINCIPLES | 41


P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

WATER Sharpsburg will integrate and celebrate water as an asset throughout the community.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

3.7%

of their annual household income on flood insurance premiums (the average American spends 1.0%).6

2026 METRICS Productive Landscapes # of and $ invested in Green Infrastructure Projects Community Benefit Mgal. carrying capacity of green infrastructure # of combined sewer overflows (CSOs)

FEMA, 2017. Allegheny County Watershed Boundary, 2017. 3 3RWW Sewer Atlas. 4 Allegheny County Property Assessments, GIS, 2017. 5 Will Doig, Next City, 2017. 6 ValuePenguin, 2017. 7 3 Rivers Wet Weather, “About the Wet Weather Issue,” 2016. 1 2

42 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Sharpsburg has a unique relationship with water. Its position along the Allegheny River provides fantastic views and water-related recreation opportunities. Unfortunately, during heavy rain events, water becomes unfriendly and the borough suffers from flooding. Water as an Asset While the railroad tracks provide a barrier between the community and the riverfront, the Borough does contain two access points where residents and visitors can break the barrier and visit the river. Along the river there are boat launches, boat rentals, a park, and a restaurant. In the near future, 47+ acres of Sharpsburg’s riverfront will be redeveloped, providing further opportunities for Sharpsburgers to enjoy their location as a riverfront town. Water as a Liability During heavy rain events, water becomes a liability in Sharpsburg due to overflow from nearby Pine Creek and sewer backups into the community. The borough’s location downstream from Pine Creek and Sites Run, its relative flatness, and the elevated railroad tracks (on a mound of land), create somewhat of a valley and contribute to flooding. In addition to this, stormwater that is moving through the combined sewer system to the river contributes to this flooding when the system is overloaded and backs up into the streets. This most frequently occurs in locations where a larger diameter pipe is leading to a smaller diameter pipe.2 The extra volume of water during heavy storm events also causes the combined sewer system to overflow into the Allegheny River. Sharpsburg contains 6 sewer outfalls where this occurs. Sewer overflows present a public health risk and contaminates the river with bacteria

and viruses. This contamination also effects ecological systems and emphasizes the need to protect Sharpsburg’s riverfront ecology.7 The Cost of Water Sharpsburg’s relationship with water also has an effect on the local economy. The riverfront brings in visitors who spend money in Sharpsburg, and the upcoming riverfront development will likely increase this trend (and contribute tax dollars). During flood events, buildings located in the floodplain can face severe damages. Currently, 34% of Sharpsburg’s buildings sit in the floodplain, which is assessed at a market value of over $116 million. If a 100-year flood were to occur (which happens more frequently than every 100 years), these property owners would suffer a loss of over $28 million.4 In addition to these concerns, flood insurance premiums are rising. By law, every property in the country that falls within FEMA’s Special Flood Hazard Areas must hold a flood insurance policy until their mortgage is fully paid off, and in recent years individuals have seen their annual premiums increase by up to 25%. As heavy rainfall events become more common, this is an issue that will severely affect low-income homeowners located in the floodplain.5 Collective Action Reducing Sharpsburg’s vulnerability to flooding will require cooperation with upstream communities to reduce the quantity of water entering the system, ALCOSAN pipe enhancements, and floodproofing buildings in the floodplain. Cooperation with the riverfront development could also help to reconnect hydrological networks.


ALLEGHENY COUNTY WATERSHED BOUNDARIES1,2 pine creek watershed boundary hydrology areas

14

MUNICIPALITIES CONTRIBUTE TO THE PINE CREEK WATERSHED FEMA FLOODPLAIN1 RAVINE STREET

floodplain buildings in the floodplain CLIFTON AVENUE

HEINZ TERRACE

HIGH STREET

SOUTH CANAL

STREET

NOBLE STREET

ET

L STRE

N. CANA

14TH STREET

16TH STREET

MIDDLE STREET

STREE

CHAPMAN

STREET

MAIN STREET

3RD

T

T

STREE

STREE 21ST

22ND

4TH

STREE

T

STREE

5TH

T

STREE

T

MAIN

15TH STREET

CLAY STREET

MAIN STREET T

SOUTH

18TH STREET

MARYS AVENUE

17TH STREET

11TH STREET

10TH STREET

LINDEN AVENUE

9TH STREET

8TH STREET

GAR

6TH STREET

NIER

STR

EET

13TH STREET

PENN STREET

T

SHORT

CANAL

STREE

HIG

HLA

ND

PAR

K BRI

DGE

62ND

STREE

T BRIDG

E

34%

OF SHARPSBURG’S BUILDINGS SIT IN THE FLOODPLAIN SEWER INLETS3 floodplain A69 A70 A71 A72 A73 A74

4

SEWER INLETS EXPERIENCE BACKUPS DIAMETER OF SEWER PIPES3 less than 10” 10” - 20” 21” - 35” 36” - 60” greater than 60” A69 A70

6

A71

A72 A73

A74

COMBINED SEWER OUTFALLS IN SHARPSBURG TO THE RIVER

PRINCIPLES | 43


P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

ENERGY Sharpsburg will strive to become an energy independent community.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

5%

of their annual household income on energy (the average American spends 3.5%).6

2026 METRICS Energy Conservation # of weatherization projects (commercial and residential) # of BTUs saved Renewable Energy # of renewable energy projects % of municipal demand supplied by renewable energy

Allegheny County Property Assessments, GIS, 2017. PCRG Sharpsburg Property Condition Assessment, 2015. 3 Allegheny County Building Footprint Locations, GIS layer, 2015. 4 Google Sunroof Project. 5 EIA 2009, table C7, CE1.2. 6 ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys 2013 and 2014. 7 U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Efficiency Upgrades. 8 PVWatts Calculator, NREL. 9 Panizzi, TribLive. 1 2

Access to affordable and reliable energy sources is important for the wellbeing of communities. Sharpsburg will need to address the sources of energy for the community, the resiliency of these sources during times of emergency, the cost of these energy sources, and the control that the Borough and residents have over how much energy is consumed. Existing Conditions (Energy Demand) Sharpsburg’s older building stock implies that the buildings are likely not very energy efficient, and the energy costs for those buildings are likely higher than average. This provides an opportunity for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy integration. Using average energy consumption trends by the EIA and the square footage of different building types in Sharpsburg, it is estimated that the buildings in the community consume approximately 269,035,896 kBTU of energy annually (excluding industrial and vacant buildings). Energy Conservation Energy conservation is the first and most important step to reducing energy consumption, and it can be applied to buildings of any scale and use. Conservation entails weatherization, building insulation, efficient light bulbs, efficient appliances, appropriate HVAC maintenance, and more. The US Department of Energy has determined that homeowners can reduce their energy consumption by 5% to 30% by making efficiency upgrades and changing behavior.7 If Sharpsburg homes and businesses implemented a series of energy conservation improvements resulting in a 15% decrease in energy consumption, then the borough’s annual energy consumption (excluding industrial and vacant buildings) would

44 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

be reduced to 228,680,511 kBTU, representing a direct, positive financial impact on residents, businesses, and institutions across the community. Renewable Energy Potential Use of renewable energy technology can have numerous benefits, including cost savings, protection from utility cost fluctuations, independence when the grid is down (resiliency), and reduced environmental impact. According to Google Sunroof, 55% of the roof area in Sharpsburg is viable for solar panels.4 If 20% of the solar viable roof area installed solar panels, those panels would produce 11,009,616 kBTU annually (about 5% of Sharpsburg’s total energy demand).8 Given Sharpsburg’s location along the Allegheny River, there is also the potential for a hydroelectric power plant. According to TribLive, a license was recently issued for a hydroelectric plant along the Allegheny River Lock and Dam 2. The plant is expected to be operational by 2020, and could generate enough energy for 8,500 homes, as well as create 150 to 200 jobs. Plans for how the energy will be distributed and sold have not yet been determined. Sharpsburg should develop a Community Benefits Agreement to ensure that some aspect of the plant benefits Sharpsburgers.9 Collective Action As part of a long-term strategy, Sharpsburg may consider energy hubs and/or microgrids to pool resources and achieve greater efficiency. Energy hubs are buildings in the community that pool solar energy from adjacent buildings and may act as a resiliency center during times of emergency. Microgrids are similar, but may include a network of several buildings that function on an independent grid for everyday energy consumption.


YEAR BUILT1 before 1911 1912 - 1936 1937 - 1964 since 1965

94%

OF HOMES WERE BUILT PRIOR TO 1965 EXTERIOR HOUSING CONDITION2 new construction good condition (no repairs needed) repairs are needed

RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL Year Built 1 - 1911 1912 - 1936 1937 - 1964

59%

94.4%

OF HOMES WERE BUILT PRIOR TO 1965

1965 - 2009

OF HOMES ARE IN NEED OF REPAIRS N

0’

BUILDING USE3

1000’

industrial commercial institutional or government multi-family residential single family/duplex residential

GREENSPACE HOUSING Property Condition (PCRG)

Good-Condition-No-repairs-needed New-Construction Repairs-are-needed

4,873,649 ft.2 Source: PCRG

OF TOTAL OCCUPIED SQUARE FOOTAGE SOLAR VIABLE ROOFS4 Shady

Sunny

55%

AREA OF ROOFTOPS THAT ARE VIABLE FOR SOLAR PANELS

14%

29% 9% 9%

41%

ESTIMATED ENERGY DEMAND (kBTU)

LOCATION OF PROPOSED HYDROELECTRIC PLANT9

AREA OF EXISTING BUILDING STOCK (ft.2)

118 kBTU

29M kBTU 32M kBTU

90M kBTU

ESTIMATED REDUCED ENERGY DEMAND (kBTU)

8%

100M kBTU

25M kBTU 27M kBTU 77M kBTU

ESTIMATED RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION - 20% (kBTU)

ESTIMATED ENERGY CONSUMPTION/PRODUCTION5

PRINCIPLES | 45


P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

AIR QUALITY Sharpsburgers will breathe clean air indoors and outdoors.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

8%

of their annual household income on healthcare (the average American spends 6%).7 It must be noted that healthcare costs and health are related to, but cannot be directly attributed to, air quality.

2026 METRICS Air Quality # of air quality action days annually Improvement Projects % of shade tree canopy All metrics in Millvale Pivot 2.0 for Air Quality

GASP Air Permits Clearinghouse. The Breathe Project, CREATE Lab, CMU CAPS, 2018. 3 SWPA Community Profiles, ACHD, 2015. 4 The Breathe Project, U.S. EPA, Clean Air Task Force, 2017. 5 PennEnvironment, Toxic Ten, 2015. 6 EPA, NEI Inventory Data, 2011. 7 ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys 2013 and 2014. 1 2

46 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

While the greater Pittsburgh area’s air quality has greatly improved in the last half decade, the region still ranks in the worst 4% for particulate pollution in the United States.4 Air quality affects health, views, and ecological wellbeing. Considering that this is largely an invisible problem, Sharpsburg should educate their residents about the magnitude of the problem, provide recommendations to lessen impact and improve indoor air quality, and participate in regional advocacy. Added population due to the riverfront development may accelerate these efforts. Regional Sources Five of the county’s most toxic regional polluters are located in relatively close proximity to Sharpsburg, including McConway & Torley, which is right across the river in Lawrenceville.5 The proximity of these sources, combined with environmental factors such as the predominant wind direction and location along the river, makes Sharpsburg’s position particularly susceptible to poor air quality. Local and Mobile Sources Green space and street trees can lessen the impact of local air pollution. While Sharpsburg has a few parks, the borough could benefit from more street trees and vegetation. Sharpsburg’s air quality is also impacted by local sources, some of which are known and can be mapped, while others occur only once in awhile and are not easily tracked. Local sources include restaurants, dry cleaners, autobodys, paint shops, and small-scale industrial sites. Sources that are not easily tracked include fire pits, burning trash, gas and charcoal grills, wood burning stoves, cooling towers, and pizza ovens.

Mobile sources also impact Sharpsburg’s air quality and may vary in intensity over the course of the day or week. These include car and truck emissions from heavy traffic along Route 28 and the two bridges, and moderate traffic along Main Street. While the bus routes are helping to lessen car emissions, they also contribute to local air pollution, in addition to emissions from boat launches and trains. Off-road mobile sources such as construction equipment and lawn and garden equipment also contribute. Indoor Air Quality Sharpsburg’s location within the floodplain can lead to mold and other indoor air quality concerns. Due to the age of the homes in Sharpsburg, they are more susceptible to poor indoor air quality. Old furnaces, a lack of filtration or ventilation, indoor combustion, cracks in the basement that may allow radon in, and other behaviors and conditions should be monitored and homes should be improved to lessen these impacts. Health Impacts While it is known that poor air quality has an impact on health, it is difficult to directly attribute poor air quality to specific health conditions. However, it is known that Sharpsburg residents experience a higher death rate due to lung cancer than the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (67.6 per 100,000 people compared to 61.6 and 52.7 respectively). Another factor that may contribute to this health outcome is that Sharpsburgers also have a higher smoking rate than the City and the County (27% compared to 19% and 23% respectively).3


REGIONAL POINT SOURCES1 Allegheny County Title V Operating Permits Title V Permits not yet issued by ACHD Allegheny County Synthetic Minor Operating Permits Predominant Wind Direct (south/south-west)

2.5 miles

TO THE CLOSEST TOXIC REGIONAL POLLUTER BLACK CARBON HEAT MAP2 low (0.52 µg/m3)

high (5.63 µg/m3)

94%

OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BETTER AIR QUALITY4 N

!

! !

!

1000’

LOCAL POINT SOURCES local point source of pollution

REGIONAL POINT SOURCES Environmental Factors ! ! ! !! ! !

0’

!

!

!!

!

! !!

!

! !!

!

!

! ! ! !!

34

Source: Dr. Albert Presto, Carnegie Mellon University

KNOWN POINT SOURCES OF LOCAL AIR POLLUTION LOCAL MOBILE SOURCES highway/major road bus routes railroad tracks boat launches

POTENTIAL HEALTH IMPACTS

36%

OF NOX EMISSIONS IN PA CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO MOBILE SOURCES6 DEATH RATE DUE TO LUNG CANCER3

(per 100,000 people - not attributable to air quality only)

Allegheny County

City of Pittsburgh

Sharpsburg

52.7

61.6

67.6

Source: SWPA Profile, ACHD 2015

PRINCIPLES | 47


P5.

ALIGN WITH TRIBORO ECODISTRICT

MOBILITY Mobility is essential for all generations and should improve quality of life and advance the economy.

On average, Sharpsburg residents spend

12.6%

of their annual household income on transportation (the average American spends 12%).7

2026 METRICS Multi-modal Infrastructure # of marked crosswalks in the public realm # of ADA compliant ramps in the public realm # of sharrows # of bus shelters # of bike racks Safety # of reported transportation crashes # traffic count on state roads

PA State Roads, PA Dept. of Transport., 2017. ESRI, Kalibrate Technologies, 2016. Allegheny County Crash Data, 2016. 4 PAAC Routes. 5 Photo: evolveEA, March 2017. 6 ESRI, ACS, 2010 - 2014. 7 ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys 2013 and 2014. 1 2 3

48 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Safe, convenient, and reliable ways to get from here to there are important for the wellbeing of communities. Sharpsburg needs to provide safer streets and sidewalks for alternative modes of transportation, address residential and visitor parking needs, and focus on making the journey as enjoyable as the destination.

While the frequency of service is convenient, the limited number of destinations provided by the Port Authority makes it difficult for residents to quickly reach their destinations. Also, bus stops themselves are not pleasant; many of them are along Main Street on narrow sidewalks and do not provide shelter.

Cars and Parking Sharpsburg is bordered on three sides by major roads: Route 28, Route 8 (62nd Street Bridge), and the Highland Park Bridge. This makes it very easy to hop on a major road and get to where you’re going quickly - Downtown Pittsburgh is only 10 minutes away. While the location is convenient, inside the borough drivers often speed down Main Street and have trouble navigating certain intersections. When Sharpsburg is a driver’s destination, visitors and residents have difficulty finding parking due to the narrow streets and limited surface lots (there are no structured lots).

Walking and Biking Given Sharpsburg’s limited area, it is a short walk from any point in the borough to Main Street, and only a 27-minute walk from one end of the borough to the other. Unfortunately, Sharpsburg’s sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian infrastructure are not safe, especially for older individuals, people with disabilities, and people pushing strollers. Creating more robust infrastructure in the borough will encourage more people to walk and will provide a more enjoyable journey.

To increase safety, Sharpsburg should focus on making the streets clear, slow, and safe for cars, in addition to developing a parking management strategy. Public Transportation While traveling by car to or from Sharpsburg is very convenient, many Sharpsburgers and visitors use public transportation, walk, or bike to their destination. For some this is a choice, but for the 31% of Sharpsburg households that do not own a car, this is a neccessity.6 Sharpsburg is serviced by two bus routes, the 91 and the 1, which make frequent stops along Main Street, and during peak hours, stop in Sharpsburg every 15 minutes.4 Given Sharpsburg’s limited depth, every household is within a 5-minute walk from a bus stop.

Biking in the borough is an extreme challenge given the absence of any bicycle infrastructure or trails. Both ends of the borough contain dangerous intersections, which make it difficult for bikes and pedestrians to connect to neighboring communities. A planned riverfront trail and the recently passed Complete Streets Resolution aim to improve these conditions. Additionally, the riverfront development’s added population may increase demand for improved mobility options. The Borough should invest in improving the multi-modal experience to encourage greater and safer use of public transportation and other non-car methods of travel. Infrastructure like covered bus shelters, bike racks, and clearly marked crosswalks are relatively simple ways to improve public health and quality of life in the community.


MAJOR ROADS1 highway arterial roads

10 minutes

TO DRIVE TO DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH DAILY TRAFFIC COUNTS2 size corresponds to quantity

11,000+

CARS DRIVE DOWN MAIN STREET EVERYDAY CAR CRASHES (2016)3 crash reported

8

CAR CRASHES AT SHARPSBURG’S GATEWAYS (2016) BUS ROUTES4 91 | Butler Street 1 | Freeport Road

2

BUS ROUTES SERVICING SHARPSBURG SIDEWALKS AND INTERSECTIONS IN SHARPSBURG5

N

CAR TRAVEL PUBLIC TRANSIT PEDESTRIAN INFRASTRUCTURE

0’

1000’

PRINCIPLES | 49


2026 EQUITY METRICS Affordable Housing % of rental and owner occupied houses affordable at or beneath the poverty line Economy and Education % Labor force participation % Educational attainment (high school and secondary) # of residents with a library card Health % of residents with health insurance (including medicaid and medicare) Floodplain # of floodplain vulnerable structures (aka structures in floodplain that are not elevated)

2026 FOOD METRICS

2026 WATER METRICS

Food Production, Processing, and Distribution # of days with fresh vegetables available # of restaurants

Productive Landscapes # of and $ invested in Green Infrastructure Projects

Improve efficiency and close loops Avg. $/person spent per week at Green Grocer Avg. # of customers per week at Green Grocer

Community Benefit Mgal. carrying capacity of green infrastructure # of combined sewer overflows (CSOs)

Community Benefit # of recycling drop-off sites # of restaurants in Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program

POLICY & PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS General policy and program recommendations: Establish a green business district association to support sustainability initiatives along Main Street. Show municipal leadership by demonstrating sustainable practices and technology at the Borough building and other public properties. Develop financial support and training to certify resident EcoDistrict APs in the community. Take the next step of Formation to continue on the path towards EcoDistricts certification.

50 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Expand existing community garden and increase gardenrelated programming. Make healthy food more accessible to residents through a fresh food market, grocery store, or other means. Connect residents with regional farmers through CSAs, farm stands, and other programs. Establish a municipal recycling program, including education, public recycling cans, and curbside service. Establish a municipal composting program, and hire local youth to participate in curbside collection (bicycles).

Develop policies for new development (including parking lots) that requires a certain quantity of green infrastructure. Develop a stormwater ambassadors program, in which residents help their neighbors install rain barrels and learn about stormwater management techniques to reduce vulnerability to flooding. Advocate for upstream improvements to reduce Sharpsburg’s vulnerability to flooding.


2026 ENERGY METRICS Energy Conservation # of weatherization projects (commercial and residential) # of BTUs saved Renewable Energy # of renewable energy projects % of municipal demand supplied by renewable energy

2026 AIR QUALITY METRICS Air Quality # of air quality action days annually Improvement Projects % of shade tree canopy All metrics in Millvale Pivot 2.0 for Air Quality

2026 MOBILITY METRICS Multi-modal Infrastructure # of marked crosswalks in the public realm # of ADA compliant ramps in the public realm # of sharrows # of bus shelters # of bike racks Safety # of reported transportation crashes # traffic count on state roads

Partner with non-profits to investigate potential microgrid technology and municipally supplied renewable energy.

Create a shade tree policy, including requirements for parking lots, new development, and tree removal/replacement.

Partner with energy efficiency organizations to develop an energy efficiency/weatherization program to reduce energy consumption and costs.

Improve indoor air quality with educational programming, free IAQ kits (including filters, best practices, etc.), and expanded access to lead/mold/ asbestos abatement programs.

Perform a mobility assessment to identify sidewalks and roads to prioritize for improvements. Accelerate implementation of the complete streets resolution along identified corridors.

Collaborate with regional air quality organizations to identify regional sources of pollution that affect Sharpsburg. Perform air quality monitoring in a variety of locations within the borough to establish a robust local baseline.

PRINCIPLES | 51


P6. PRINCIPLE SIX Prepare to be agile decisionmakers in a rapidly changing environment. There are many things that could happen which would change Sharpsburg’s trajectory, including the riverfront development, market pressure from neighboring communities and across the river, a catastrophic flood event, and new tenants or businesses relocating to Sharpsburg. While we cannot predict what combination of events will occur, it is important to be prepared for what could happen next. Projecting possible future scenarios can help Sharpsburg establish a plan and identify possible “course corrections” to achieve its goals. This principle identifies possible “game changers” or events/scenarios that could occur and some of the implications for community development. It is important for Sharpsburg to prepare for a variety of future scenarios so that the community can be agile when navigating forks in road.

RECOMMENDED METRICS ft.2 of small property transactions ft. of mid to large property transactions 2

rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services

52 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

2026 GOALS # of metrics tracked in community dashboard # of residents involved in education and decisionmaking # of proactive initiatives taken


RECOMMENDATIONS

GROWTH

Like many of its neighbors, Sharpsburg is getting noticed and should be ready for an economic pivot. While we don’t know how quickly it will arrive and what will influence it, we can project multiple outcomes. This section outlines growth scenarios, from incremental, slow growth to quick, critical growth, and the possible implications for physical fabric and community culture.

How will market growth affect Sharpsburg?

RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT

Sharpsburg has never had full access to the river, but with two boat dock areas the community has closer ties than most others. The development of the riverfront site will connect the community to the river and to adjacent communities. The existing urban fabric should connect under the railroad and Main Street should become the seam. Businesses and services should serve both sides of the tracks and programs should be put in place to maintain affordability.

FLOODING

The effects of repeated flood events or a singular catastrophic flood could change large portions of Sharpsburg. Programs that address building form and use, access to insurance, access to capital to make improvements, and the general real estate market conditons can make Sharpsburg more resilient.

How will the riverfront development affect Sharpsburg?

Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, Š OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS user community

How will flooding affect Sharpsburg?

PRINCIPLES | 53


P6.

AGILE DECISIONMAKERS

GROWTH SCENARIOS Signs of a Pivoting Market Sharpsburg is on the edge of a pivot from a weak real estate market to a strong(er) real estate market. The signs are visible in many places and they are both cause and effect of the changing market.

PIVOT FACTORS These factors are commonly seen in a pivoting market.

For example, the community has recently been garnering media attention for its restaurants, events, as well as for its affordability. Companies have found the inexpensive real estate attractive and have been moving in, bringing new jobs to the community, though not necessarily jobs that Sharpsburgers are prepared to pursue.

Is the community safe? Is it desirable?

The riverfront development, even in its early stages, has changed the way people view the assets of the community, and large infrastructure investments by PennDOT and Alcosan have the potential to improve access and services in the community.

AMENITIES & SERVICES

In short, Sharpsburg is getting noticed. Sharpsburg should be ready for a pivot - the question is how quickly will it arrive and what will influence it? Each community has a different mix of factors that contribute to its transformation. Change can happen in an Incremental Growth Scenario with a myriad of small projects over a long period of time, or transformation can happen more quickly and more dramatically with larger scale projects in a Critical Growth Scenario. Sharpsburg has the possibility of both Growth Scenarios occurring simultaneously. This section describes both scenarios to help prioritize real estate and community development strategies.

PERCEPTION & IDENTITY

Are there retail, hospitality, or other destinations that are attractive locally and regionally? Do I have access to high quality services like schools?

ACCESSIBILITY Is there access to roads, public transit, etc.?

PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE Are buildings and sites available?

54 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


INCREMENTAL GROWTH SCENARIO

CRITICAL GROWTH SCENARIO

Common in communities with:

Common in communities with:

Low demand market or assets

High demand market or assets

Small parcel redevelopment

Large parcel or master-planned redevelopment

Small capital investment

Large capital investment

Grassroots transformational efforts

Infrastructure investment

Issues that adversely affect external perception, such as safety, are addressed. The community develops a strong and unique identity, has a brand, and promotes itself. The identity can describe the culture of the community (identity based on cultural production) as well as the amenities of the community (identity based on cultural consumption).

Restaurants continue to open, creating functional clusters. Vacant storefronts fill with unique offerings and regional attractions. Local market needs are addressed later, as demand grows. Sharpsburg’s good school district will be the most attractive of services to people who can choose to move. It is likely that they will demand additional services from the school district, such as a shuttle, community-embedded services, etc.

Distinct re-branding helps overcome negative perception of issues such as safety. Active measures are simultaneously taken to resolve the issues. The identity is likely to create distance from previous community identity and will often describe the amenities as new. There can be little time to wait for the slow transformation within community culture.

A significant cluster of amenities is established at one time, creating a critical mass and sense of destination. Amenities either need to attract regional capital or will be built when more people come to the site, generating additional demand. This requires control over a large parcel or a number of properties and is likely to be master-planned. The local market can benefit and grow in response to this development, based on how well it is integrated physically and by use. Sharpsburg’s good school district will be the most attractive of services to people who can choose to move. It is likely that they will demand additional services from the school district, such as a shuttle, community embedded services, etc.

Street-based mobility (car, bus, sidewalk) infrastructure is maintained or incrementally improved. Limited improvements or new systems, such as the trail system, might be expanded as an amenity, rather than essential access.

Street-based mobility may receive significant upgrades if the existing infrastructure is not sufficient for the new activity. New mobility infrastructure, such as trails or bike share stations, can be included as part of the improvements and may be spurred by increased demand.

A smaller building stock supports incremental growth as development occurs with small or DIY investors, building by building. This continues as long as there is adequate building stock to invest in and the costs remain low.

Larger parcels or aggregated parcels are needed for rapid growth. Developers create proformas, or development budgets that require a certain level of activity and return on a site.

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MARKET PIVOT CAN BE A CHICKEN AND EGG SITUATION

COST & INVESTMENT Is is affordable, relative to other markets? What is the perceived level of risk for investment?

Sharpsburg will create this change and people will come... PEOPLE MAY CHOOSE A COMMUNITY BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE A PART OF ITS CULTURAL PRODUCTION OR BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONSUME ITS AMENITIES.

People will choose to come to Sharpsburg and create this change...

Tracking the pivot in the market using key indicators will help Sharpsburg understand which scenario(s) the borough is moving toward and how to plan for that pivot. The pivot in the market may be tracked by the change in the number and type of property transactions, the rate of increase of property values, the change in the average rent per square foot for both commercial and residential, and/or the number of building permits. This hard data, combined with lived experience data such as interviews, a new movers survey, and a community needs assessment, will help Sharpsburg understand the nature of the market change as well as the magnitude.

56 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

COMMUNITY INDEX We might expect to see increasing or decreasing indicators over time when we track: ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services


INCREMENTAL GROWTH SCENARIO

CRITICAL GROWTH SCENARIO

As market values rise, the nature and type of investment changes. In an incremental market, this is likely to be slow and generally follow a sequence of small to large investment.

Rapid growth, as defined by large parcel development and highly capitalized investment, often needs to have significant infrastructure improvements to support the investment and use public-private financing. This is one significant difference from the small project capacity and incremental growth. This includes infrastructure improvements such as roads, trails, microgrids, transit, etc., which often benefit smaller projects as well.

Small or inexpensive properties enable “sweat equity” investment by homeowners or small investors and incremental change is made by many individuals. As their individual efforts aggregate, property values, as a whole, rise. As values increase, larger sums are needed for redevelopment and larger properties that may not have seemed desirable in a higher risk market, receive the attention of investors. This market may be out of reach for sweat equity investors. As values continue to rise, speculative investment is likely to become more common. Speculative investment can help turn over the highest risk properties but can also stall change due to “value riding” or investors who make no improvements and reap returns on the general rise in value across the community.

Rapid growth can quickly change the market values of the neighborhood and the small-to-large investment sequence of incremental growth can quickly advance to speculative investment. To maintain opportunities for sweat equity and smaller investment, programs must be in place to provide capital or access to low cost properties.

SCENARIO ONE Incremental Growth

SCENARIO TWO Moderate Growth

SCENARIO THREE Critical Growth

PINE CREEK

PINE CREEK

PINE CREEK

MAIN & CANAL

MAIN & CANAL

MAIN & CANAL

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL

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GROWTH SCENARIO Pine Creek District

SCENARIO ONE

Pine Creek District grows INCREMENTALLY with DIY’ers.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO TWO

Pine Creek District grows with PRIVATE INVESTMENT and INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO THREE

Pine Creek District is reshaped AFTER A MAJOR FLOOD. This scenario explores the possibility of a major flood event where many property owners are not able to rebuild to new standards. It assumes an otherwise strong real estate market.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

58 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


The Pine Creek District sees incremental growth, with buildings fixed up by property owners and new DIY investment with access to a Flood Improvement District fund.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values

Small scale infrastructure improvements at intersections and historic or corner properties on South Main Street are renovated, creating a public path to Etna’s new Riverfront Park.

change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment

Pine Creek Gateway Park continues with small scale improvements.

# of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

The Pine Creek District experiences incremental growth as well as development on aggregated scattered sites. Some demolition occurs and new, floodplain-compliant structures are built. Riverfront development brings attention to the community.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings)

Larger multi-unit buildings are built closer to the river on vacant sites as part of the development effort. The development could be market driven or could be communityled development to expand housing opportunities for residents. Larger infrastructure improvements may be required or desired by development. S. Main Street is improved. Infill closer to the park may spur increased investment in the Pine Creek Gateway Park. In the event of a devastating flood, if individual homeowners are unable to rebuild they may accept a buy-out from FEMA, in which case it may be possible to create a park amenity or green space on aggregated properties.

# of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values

If there is no deed restriction, properties may be purchased by a developer (communitybased or market-based). Public/private funds could rebuild multi-unit, mixed-use buildings and could incorporate architecturally significant structures. The projects may be market rate or affordable, but will likely be more expensive due to flood risk. Major utility upgrades may be required to support the new development. The zoning code may need to be updated to encourage desirable urban form, uses, parking and open spaces.

change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

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GROWTH SCENARIO Main & Canal District

SCENARIO ONE

Canal & Main District grows INCREMENTALLY with DIY’ers and small investment.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO TWO

Canal & Main District grows with PRIVATE INVESTMENT and INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO THREE

Canal & Main District responds to STRONG RIVERFRONT GROWTH.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

60 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


The Canal & Main District improves mostly through the work of private property owners who renovate buildings and have access to loans and funding programs.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values

The municipality invests in sidewalk and infrastructure improvements to calm traffic and improve the streetscape.

change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings)

Public and private funds improve existing green space and acquire right-of-ways to create the Canal Trail to Aspinwall.

# of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

In addition to projects from the previous scenario, the Canal & Main District receives significant public investment. Building uses may change from low rent industrial uses, to higher rent office or hospitality uses.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values

Public investment in major right-ofway improvements, such as the Canal Plaza conversion, the 13th Street portal, and district parking, spurs business development and growth on Main Street.

change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings)

Public/private investment enables major green space improvements at Kennedy Park and the Canal and 15th Street portal realignment.

# of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities

# of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

In addition to projects from the previous scenario, successful riverfront development may spur private investment on Main Street and on other commercial/industrial properties. Smaller developers may build mixed-use projects or multi-unit market-rate housing to connect to new riverfront amenities. Affordable housing and commercial space projects need to be simultaneously developed.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment

Public/private investment can rebuild the river portal intersections on Main Street, which will encourage high quality projects and development. A strong real estate market can enable major green space projects, such as a portal connection at 16th Street.

# of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

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GROWTH SCENARIO

Eastern & Industrial District SCENARIO ONE

Eastern & Industrial District grows INCREMENTALLY with DIY’ers and small investment.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO TWO

Eastern & Industrial District is reshaped with PRIVATE INVESTMENT and MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

SCENARIO THREE

Eastern & Industrial District responds to STRONG RIVERFRONT GROWTH.

new development renovation project previous phase projects

62 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


The Eastern & Industrial District improves mostly through the work of private property owners who renovate buildings and have access to loans and funding programs.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values

The municipality invests in infrastructure improvements to calm traffic and improve the streetscape.

change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings)

Public and private funds improve existing green space and acquire right-of-ways to create the Canal Trail, and the municipal parks are improved with public investment.

# of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

In addition to projects from the previous scenario, the Eastern & Industrial District receives significant public investment from highway reconfiguration and riverfront portal improvements at 19th Street. Pedestrian safety, connectivity to the neighborhood, and a strong community identity must be prioritized when negotiating with PennDOT and the riverfront developer. Public-private funds are used to relocate the municipal yards near to Heinz Memorial Field to make better use of riverfront land. Unused industrial buildings and vacant lot infill can be used for affordable housing and municipal public services.

In addition to projects from previous scenarios, successful riverfront development encourages investment in industrial and commercial properties. Building uses may change from low-rent industrial uses and open yards to higher-rent uses.

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings) # of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

COMMUNITY INDEX ft.2 of small property transactions ft.2 of mid to large property transactions rate of increase of property values change in the average rent per ft.2 (market rate commercial and residential buildings)

Private investors may find Main Street desirable and quality infill needs to be cultivated with zoning and other mechanisms. Public/private investment can bring affordable housing and commercial space to Main Street. A strong real estate market can enable major green space projects, such as the daylighting of Guyasuta Run, through the transfer of development rights.

# of renovation building permits $ infrastructure investment # of local or small scale wealth-building opportunities % population growth # of new businesses, retail, and services h w lo dium hig e m

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RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT SHAPING SHARPSBURG’S RIVERFRONT Sharpsburg’s riverfront has been in constant change. Early riverfront industry located near the business district core, nestled next to farms and open land stretching east. As Pittsburgh became more of an industrial powerhouse, the open space to the east filled with small foundries and factories and the river became a means of moving material. Today’s Highland Park Lock and Dam (Allegheny River Lock No. 2) enabled industry to grow along the river as Sharpsburg became part of the Pittsburgh pool. Sharpsburg manufactured material and parts for the steel industry, including repairing trains and boxcars on the current Riverfront 47 site. Sharpsburg’s riverfront as well as its landside businesses were part of the regional powerhouse that contributed to war efforts and the building of infrastructure. After World War Two, industrial demand began its slow decline and Sharpsburg’s waterfront remained part of this trend. A company, later known as Azcon, opened a scrap yard to dismantle abandoned or antiquated steel mills throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. According to the company history, the company became famous for using iron breaking equipment under crane runways, now one of the remaining structures on site.1, 3

MAJOR RIVERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT SITES IN THE GREATER PITTSBURGH AREA Riverfront 47 (limited use)

Western State Penitentiary (limited use)

62nd Street (not used)

Chateau

(limited use)

Hazelwood Green Station Square

(limited use)

(limited use)

Rankin/Braddock (limited use)

residents Susan and Currie Crookston and the Mosites Company, bought the property and made plans for housing, retail, and commercial spaces, as well as trail connections on the site that spans Sharpsburg, O’Hara Township, and Aspinwall. The scrap metal was removed and the site was remediated. Today the site is vacant pending development plans and funding.2 SHARPSBURG’S RIVERFRONT TODAY Sharpsburg has over one-eigth of a mile of accessible riverfront, including a municipal park, two commercial docks, and shallow riverfront slopes on private property. The former Azcon scrapyard occupied approximately 0.5 miles of Sharpsburg’s riverfront and new riverfront access is possible with Azcon’s departure.1

create enhanced access and public riverfront trails and amenities. At the time of this report, the development team has not finalized a master plan, but progress has been made in securing funding to access the site Esri, HERE, DeLorme, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS use with improvements at 19th Street.2 The riverfront site is large and will take many years to build out to completion. The rate of completion and the types of uses and structures will depend on national and regional trends and could take many turns along the way. It is important to consider the rate of change as one of the factors that influences the direction of Sharpsburg’s efforts.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SHARPSBURG? While the community will have The site continues to be relevant to concerns about access and the impact Pittsburgh’s changing economy as The plans for this site, called Riverfront of construction, it is important to one of the best open sites within the 47, are to build housing, commercial, address possible long term issues and Pittsburgh Pool. In 2015, Riverfront and retail space on the site and to opportunities of a changing real estate 47, a partnership between Aspinwall market. In the long term, the existing community will be stronger if it is interwoven with physical connections, RIVERSIDE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE INTEGRATED shared uses, and a shared community INTO SHARPSBURG, WITH PHYSICALLY CONNECTED identity. No single party holds the URBAN FABRIC, AMENITIES AND USES THAT SERVE solution to these issues; they are best addressed by a strong working NEW AND EXISTING RESIDENTS, AFFORDABILITY coalition between the municipality, THAT IS MONITORED AND PROACTIVELY MAINTAINED, businesses, residents, advocacy AND A COMMON IDENTITY. organizations, and the developer.

64 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


4

6

5

7

8

Azcon Corporation History. Panizzi, 2017. 3 Schooley, 2015. 4 Guyasuta Stream where it lets out into the Allegheny River, likely 1885-88; Image: Darlington Digital Library. 5 Likely Darlington Farm, East Sharpsburg near Guyasuta Stream, 1887; Image: Darlington Digital Library. 6 Guyasuta Falls, 1887; Image: Darlington Digital Library. 7 Riverfront 47 Site, 2016; Image: Riverfront 47. 8 Riverfront 47 Site, 2015; Image: Riverfront 47. 1 2

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Riverfront development could affect Sharpsburg by...

CONNECTIVITY

COMMERCIAL/ RETAIL SPACE

R47 may include additional underpasses/overpasses making the Riverfront more easily accessible.

R47 will include commercial/ retail space, likely dictated by market demand.

HOUSING R47 will include housing, however, the unit type, size, cost, and number are still unknown. This will likely be informed by market demand.

This could affect:

This could affect:

This could affect:

• •

Car, bike, and pedestrian access between R47/the riverfront and Sharpsburg. Bike and pedestrian access along the Riverfront Trail (to Aspinwall, Etna, Millvale, and Downtown). Stormwater flowing from upstream down to the river. Traffic through and to Sharpsburg.

• • •

The success of Main Street businesses. Sharpsburgers’ quality of life (access to amenities/ businesses). Borough tax revenue. Employment opportunities. Parking demand and supply.

• • •

• • •

Homeownership rates, median household income, median age, disposable income, affordability. Tax revenue. Relationship between old and new Sharpsburgers. Parking demand, utility demand, demand for public amenities. Number of students (school district). Market study/demand. Sharpsburg’s identity.

To benefit Sharpsburgers, invest in... •

Underpasses that connect Sharpsburg to R47 and increase connectivity, are welcoming and not intimidating, and are located to relieve traffic, parking, and stormwater concerns. Extension of the riverfront trail.

66 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Grocery store or market; restaurants; DIY stores; second-hand stores; bars; and identity-supporting shops. Complementary uses to existing Sharpsburg businesses. Preference to affordable businesses, businesses owned by Sharpsburgers, businesses that employ Sharpsburgers, and/or businesses that provide Sharpsburgers a benefit (ex: reduced rate daycare). Meeting parking demand of R47 as well as alleviating some of Main Street’s parking demands.

• •

Types of units - affordable units; elder housing; preference to existing Sharpsburgers; minimize utility demand; 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4- person units; and rent-toown options are available. Providing public amenities (such as green space). Mixed income, mixed age, etc. to maintain diversity in the community’s identity.


RIVERFRONT AMENITIES

HYDROELECTRIC PLANT

The presence of R47 will change Sharpsburgers’ relationship with the riverfront.

A hydroelectric power plant has received a permit to operate near the Highland Park Bridge.

This could affect:

This could affect:

This could affect:

• • • •

Sharpsburgers’ quality of life (access to riverfront amenities). Identity/welcoming feeling. Number of tourists/visitors. Main Street visitors. Views, sound, air quality.

• • • •

Regional resiliency/energy independence. Employment opportunities. Utility costs. Animal habitats. Riverfront possibilities.

IDENTITY The development will change how outsiders think about Sharpsburg, as well as potentially individuals who already live in Sharpsburg.

• • • •

Free riverfront amenities, such as a boardwalk, beach, park, etc. Affordable riverfront amenities such as boat rentals, mini-golf, ice cream, etc. Complementary uses to Main Street (such as recreational equipment store). Destination uses that attract visitors/tourists (again, with complementary destination businesses on Main Street). Development does not block views (but maybe rooftops provide them), does not harm air quality, and controls noise.

Ensuring that the plant’s presence does not put people in danger or harm wildlife (habitats). Ensuring that the plant’s presence does not prevent use of river for recreational opportunities. Ensuring that the plant’s presence provides jobs and reduces utility rates across the community.

Outside perception of the borough. Sharpsburgers’ perception of the borough. Identity/marketing of the community. Demand for Sharpsburg businesses and services. Demand for Sharpsburg housing.

Presence of development improving perception of Sharpsburg to outsiders. R47 and Sharpsburg being seen as a whole (and functioning as such). R47 attracting residents, visitors, and development into the rest of Sharpsburg (but not displacing existing residents). Existing Sharpsburgers embracing R47 and feeling like it’s part of Sharpsburg, there is no tension with new residents, and all can live together harmoniously.

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How does the riverfront benefit Sharpsburg as an Ecodistrict? Sharpsburg can apply the Ecodistrict model to create opportunities that are mutually beneficial by connecting riverside and landside systems for the benefit of the entire community. The big ideas listed here can be applied as part of future Ecodistrict development and highlight opportunities to enhance community performance because of the riverfront.

EQUITY Sharpsburg is a community of opportunity where we thrive as individuals and collectively. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? Greater diversity of housing options • Increase in essential services • Increased access to employment opportunities • Funds for Borough programming

FOOD Sharpsburgers will have access to affordable and healthy food and will be connected to a regional food network. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? Larger population to increase market demand for a grocery store/market • Food forest and/or expanded gardening areas • Connection to classes, resources, and regional providers

WATER Sharpsburg will integrate and celebrate water as an asset throughout the community. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? Reconnect hydrological networks • Rainwater networks for pleasure and to reduce vulnerability to flooding • Transforming rainwater from a liability to an asset

68 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


ENERGY Sharpsburg will strive to become an energy independent community. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? District energy • Microhydro plant powering the community, businesses, and riverfront • Resilience hubs that offset climate issues and provide employment

AIR QUALITY Sharpsburgers will breathe clean air indoors and outdoors. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? Larger population to increase advocacy network • Larger population to support alternative transit, reducing air pollution • Increased opportunities for green infrastructure

MOBILITY Mobility is essential for all generations and should improve quality of life and advance the economy. HOW CAN THE ECODISTRICT BE ENHANCED WITH THE RIVERFRONT? Mobility district centered on public transit • Larger population to support increased infrastructure and public transit • Riverfront trail to connect communities • New riverfront connections to expand opportunities for water-based transit

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Riverfront Recommendations URBAN FABRIC The physical fabric of Sharpsburg - roads, buildings, and open spaces should connect to the riverfront development. Riverfront access will continue at 13th Street, will improve at 19th Street, and a new connection could possibly be established at 16th Street. Improvements are needed to connect the riverside to the landside of Sharpsburg. Recommendation: Make Main Street the “seam” that stitches together the landside and riverside of Sharpsburg.

View of 62nd Street Bridge and riverfront (above). 13th Street underpass to riverfront (below). Images: evolveEA.

70 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Take an active role in redevelopment along the length of Main Street to create easily identifiable, safe, and multimodal riverfront portals. Improve the visibility of the portals by extending green space, signage and a consistent Sharpsburg identity, and by making improvements to Main Street for pedestrian safety. Add enhanced transit stops at river portals (see Prioritize the Pedestrian).

Work with PennDOT to implement traffic calming along the length of Main Street to make it less desirable as an automobile pass through alternative to Route 28 (see Prioritize the Pedestrian).

Cultivate complementary uses along Main Street to create amenities for the community and the new development. Main Street is a good place for senior or affordable housing developments; it is close to transit, amenities and services, and the river. Necessary functions, such as a small grocer, health care clinics, a gym, or co-working spaces would also do well in a revitalized Main Street corridor that extends beyond the core business district.

As a community development corporation, build additional capacity to track, hold, or redevelop properties that are key to meeting community goals. Control of key properties is one of the most important functions when working in a pivoting market.


AMENITIES AND USES Businesses and services should serve both existing and new residents. Recommendation: The community and developer should monitor the “leakage and surplus” of goods and services and identify key needs, projecting forward with the new population. •

Understand the pace of resident and business growth and develop a demand projection. Use this projection to recruit businesses to landside and riverside development.

Identify use clusters or complementary services and work together to recruit businesses. Review the commercial mix yearly and reset goals every three years.

AFFORDABILITY Amenities associated with new development and new residents should not put pressure on existing home prices and rents. With the influx of people and amenities, Sharpsburg will become more desirable and will become less affordable to the current residents. The issue of affordability and displacement is best described in “Affordable for All.” These recommendations are provided relative to the riverfront development. Recommendations: Work with the development team to concurrently develop affordable and market rate housing. •

Set goals for the number and type of affordable units that will be needed and look for funding opportunities where concurrent development can leverage additional funding.

Integrate affordable housing - even if not on the riverfront site, then into adjacent landside development with both being built in the same time frame.

Work with the development team to formalize a community benefits agreement that outlines opportunities and expectations for both parties.

IDENTITY The landside of Sharpsburg should not feel like “the other side of the tracks” to the riverside development. Recommendation: Work with the developer to create a common identity that implies “one Sharpsburg” and not a separate riverfront community within Sharpsburg. •

Develop a visual branding and identity that appears on the riverfront and within the community.

Develop maps, signage and other material for networked systems like trails and parks.

Develop a business district identity that includes riverside and landside businesses.

Riverfront development should incorporate Sharpsburg history and identity into placemaking and branding.

Sharpsburg Islands Marina. Images: evolveEA.

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FLOODING Sharpsburg experiences three types of flooding: floodwaters that rise from the river or slow the release of water into the river; flooding of open channels that run through or adjacent to the community; and flooding from sewer system backup. Similar to other low-lying valley communities, the high likelihood of flooding creates areas that are more vulnerable to repeat events and where the burden of rebuilding could be high. Because of the risk of flooding, these properties tend to be lower value and may only support low-rent commercial or residential tenants, occupants who can least afford to rebuild after a flood.

In addition, newly adopted regulations apply more stringent building code requirements, such as the need to raise building services such as electrical boxes and furnaces above the base flood elevation. These regulations encourage more resilient building construction and lessen the likelihood of catastrophic failure of systems and structures; however, the net effect is that there is additional cost burden to build or renovate in a floodplain. Here is a partial list of issues that could affect the long term development in Sharpsburg and how the type and timing of improvements could affect the community.

BUILDING FORM AND USE

New construction in the floodplain is required to meet the more stringent floodplain building codes. Renovated buildings are required to meet new code when the value of improvements are over 50% of the value of the property. For more information, please see the FEMA website (listed in the Sources section).2 Sharpsburg is no stranger to flooding. This photo shows Main Street during the historic flood of 1904.3

Flood resistant building improvements can influence the use of the ground floor, for example, kitchens or mechanical equipment have to be above the base flood elevation, either with an elevated first floor or in an upper story. Flood resistant building improvements will affect the character of the street. Activity will be less visible and lower levels could be assigned non-active uses like parking. Raised first floors would require longer stairways and crowd already narrow sidewalks.

ACCESS TO INSURANCE

Flood insurance is required in certain areas and affordable flood insurance can be difficult or unavailable in certain areas, leaving property owners at risk in case of a flood.

ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Loans and mortgages can be difficult or impossible to obtain without flood insurance or on properties that are deemed high risk.

MARKET CONDITION

In a weak real estate market, property owners are less able to access funds and may not want to improve structures because they might not recoup their investment. Unit-by-unit improvements might be more feasible in a stronger real estate market. However, the current units may not have the amenities to attract a more expensive market, in which case tear-downs to create new units is more likely.

72 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


100-Year Floodplain

N

0’

1000’

FLOODPLAIN

Source: Allegheny County

4 - 10 ft. (approximately) The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for a 100-year storm in Sharpsburg is 737 ft. This means that buildings in the floodplain may experience 4 - 10 ft. of flooding during these storms.

Pine Creek Village

34% of the buildings in Sharpsburg are located in the floodplain, and a significant portion of those buildings are located in Sharpsburg’s Pine Creek District.1 Because of this, it is recommended that Sharpsburg takes a proactive approach to protect existing structures from flooding, minimize damage, and prevent displacement if a significant flood event occurs. For more information, see the following pages and the Pine Creek District section of the report. FEMA Flood Zones, GIS, 2017. Substantial Improvement, FEMA. 2 The History of Sharpsburg, PA, Historic Pittsburgh. 1 2

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AGILE DECISIONMAKERS

Floodplain Decision Tree

Depending on the market, Sharpsburgers and developers may choose different paths to protect from or react to major flood events.

TEAR DOWN/REBUILD

PROACTIVE Property owners make improvements without a major flooding event

strong market

strong market or weak market w/ subsidies

EMERGENCY RETROFIT PLAN

Establish an emergency support system for displaced residents to repair, replace, or relocate after a major flood event. Establish a goal for bringing people back to the site (minimizing displacement).

REACTIVE Property owners make improvements after a major flooding event

strong market

weak market

Build new structure with first floor, utilities, and services at the required height above the Base Floodplain Elevation (BFE). This may be done as single units or multiunits. Ensure that lower level uses comply with floodplain regulations.

RAISE

Raise structure, reconstruct foundation, relocate utilities and mechanical equipment, and reconstruct entry and access.

OR BATHTUB OR FLOW THROUGH Retrofit structures as water-dam systems or with flow-through openings. Relocate utilities and mechanical equipment and ensure that lower level uses comply with floodplain regulations.

PROPERTY OWNER RETROFIT OR PRIVATE BUY OUT Capitalized buyer or owner (who doesn’t need a mortgage or flood insurance) would buy the property and renovate or rebuild as a compliant structure.

TEAR DOWN (FEMA BUY OUT) FEMA may offer a buy-out with a deed restriction to prevent redevelopment. 1 2

74 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Curbed NY, 2017. Save the Rain, Delaware Rain Garden.


FLOODPLAIN SCENARIOS

Some areas of Sharpsburg are more likely to see significant changes in the next decade due to the flood plain regulations. The following scenarios might result: SCENARIO 1: PROACTIVE RETROFIT Find sources of funding, educate homeowners, and identify a pool of qualified contractors who can assist property owners with proactive retrofits and rebuilding. Acquire properties for community-led development such as permanently affordable housing or community land trust-owned properties.

RAISING RETROFIT

BATHTUBBING RETROFIT

FLOW THROUGH RETROFIT

SCENARIO 2: FLOOD RETROFIT Repair, replace, or relocate after a major flood event. SCENARIO 3: REDEVELOPMENT Update zoning and develop potential development plans for larger scale or aggregated units if significant tear down is required following a catastrophic flood. SCENARIO 4: OPEN SPACE Model scenarios for public open space with green infrastructure if FEMA buys out a significant number of properties.

FLOOD RETROFIT1

REDEVELOPMENT

OPEN SPACE2

PRINCIPLES | 75


A community of opportunity is defined by its

URBAN SYSTEMS

People, money, and natural resources flow through Sharpsburg, creating networks of urban systems. These urban systems principles will enable Sharpsburg to cultivate a healthier, more vibrant, and sustainable community.

S1.

ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

S2.

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

S3.

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

S4.

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Photo: evolveEA


ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

Connect existing green assets and develop new ones.

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

Make walking, biking, and public transit easier and safer.

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

Stabilize and improve existing character.

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Reconnect to the riverfront physically and mentally.

78 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


URBAN SYSTEMS The recommendations for Sharpsburg’s urban systems are informed by Sharpsburg’s existing assets and current and future challenges (including market pressure), and act as overarching placemaking goals. These urban systems guide the project recommendations and act in fulfillment of Sharpsburg’s identity. A community of opportunity is defined by its systems: ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

S1.

pg. 82

S2.

pg. 88

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

S3.

pg. 96

S4.

pg. 102

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

new development renovation project park/open space

URBAN SYSTEMS | 79


80 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


S1. ENHANCE GREEN LINKS Connect existing green assets and develop new ones. While Sharpsburg contains several relatively robust and well-loved parks, the total area of green space and street trees within the Borough is limited. Sharpsburg should first work to connect existing green assets into a park and open space network, therefore encouraging greater use and function. Next, Sharpsburg should prioritize improving existing parks and green space, as well as adding green space to the Borough. Green space will not only improve quality of life but can serve a functional purpose as well, by increasing stormwater infiltration and reducing flooding, improving localized air quality, and contributing to aesthetics and encouragement of alternative transportation. Photo: evolveEA

URBAN SYSTEMS | 81


S1.

ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

BIG IDEAS ParkScore statistics1

We have great parks!

Sharpsburg’s parks host a range of activities, from family picnics to “wizarding” festivals, and many of the parks have athletic facilities such as courts, fields, and playgrounds. The parks are well distributed throughout the neighborhood and are used by a wide variety of people. In many cases, the parks could use additional maintenance to address overuse, older equipment, and changing needs. A dedicated green space study, administered with the Environmental Advisory Council, would create a long term vision for green space and identify specific needs of each park.

PROJECTS park/open space connecting trail major pedestrian connection

5 parks within the borough 4 cumulative acres of parks 873 persons per acre of parkland Heinz Memorial Field is the largest park at 1.77 acres

KENNEDY PARK

See page 134 for more information.

PINE CREEK GATEWAY PARK & RIVERFRONT TRAIL See page 119 for more information.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE See page 87 for more information.

82 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

95% of residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park

RAINWATER PARKS

See page 134 for more information.

STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS See page 86 for more information.


We can make them better! ON-STREET ROUTES & REGIONAL TRAILS Connecting existing and new green spaces with safe, walkable, and pleasant streets and sidewalks can extend the influence of the parks within Sharpsburg and connect to larger regional trail networks. CREEK CONNECTIONS Sharpsburg is crossed by a number of small creeks and tributaries that can be part of a green space network that connects to the Allegheny.

CANAL TRAIL

See page 134 for more information.

COMMUNITY GARDEN EXPANSION See page 44 for more information.

16TH STREET STREAMSIDE PARK See page 132 for more information.

GATEWAY PARKS Gateway parks will create a consistent identity for Sharpsburg and can provide additional green space amenities. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE Green infrastructure can make the riverfront more livable by decreasing the number and severity of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and can increase the quality of green space in Sharpsburg.

EASTERN GATEWAY

See page 87 for more information.

CANAL TRAIL TO ASPINWALL & GUYASUTA GOES TO THE ALLEGHENY See page 143 for more information.

THE YARDS

See page 144 for more information.

1

ParkScore, The Trust for Public Land.

URBAN SYSTEMS | 83


S1.

ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

ON-STREET ROUTES & REGIONAL TRAILS

New and existing green spaces can be connected, allowing people to decrease their reliance on cars and to actively move about their community. Streetscape improvement routes can connect Sharpsburg’s open spaces by creating more walkable routes and establishing bike and pedestrian friendly trails. The most traveled routes should be identified and prioritized for sidewalk repairs, ramp and curb replacement, and reviewed for parking and traffic patterns (see Prioritize the Pedestrian for more information on pedestrian safety). Sharpsburg Community Garden1

Regional riverfront trails can connect Sharpsburg to adjacent communities and regional centers. This may include a riverfront trail that will run through the yet-to-be-developed riverfront site, as well as a “canal trail” that traces the historic route of the canal and railroads. The canal trail can be created immediately through on-street improvements and acquisition of abandoned rail beds or the establishment of easements. Regional trail extensions and water trails would further expand Sharpsburg’s connectivity. For example, the Brilliant Line connection could allow riverfront trails to connect to the heart of East Liberty. Water trails offer additional possibilities as Sharpsburg’s riverfront might someday be connected to Highland Park and the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Kennedy Park1

CREEK CONNECTIONS

Sharpsburg is crossed by a number of small creeks and tributaries that can be part of a green space network that connects to the Allegheny. Celebrating these waterways would help create continuous ecological networks that connect the hillsides to the river. Pine Creek Gateway Park could be created just over the border in Etna, where Pine Creek is channelized with flood control walls. Sharpsburg could collaborate with Etna to extend Sharpsburg’s Western Gateway Park to the stream edge and include trails that connect to the business district in Etna.

Heinz Memorial Field1

Guyasuta Creek Park (Guyasuta Goes to the Allegheny) could be established where the Creek is culverted at 23rd Street extension, an industrial area. By daylighting the creek Camp Guyasuta could be connected to regional trails and the river and an amenity could be created for future commercial development. The site is a potential candidate for a transfer of development rights approach to create greater density on other more appropriate sites. 16th Street Streamside Park could become a pocket park that celebrates the stream at 16th Street. The stream is currently trapped in an open culvert that could be integrated into a future riverfront tunnel access and pedestrian crossing that connects to the existing 16th Street Children’s Park.

16th Street Children’s Park1

84 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


GATEWAY PARKS

Sharpsburg’s Western Gateway should reflect its vision and values. Recent improvements to the area under the 62nd Street Bridge make it more inviting; continued improvements can increase safety, enhance ecological function, and connect to a future Pine Creek parklet in Etna. Funding could establish active uses and green infrastructure that would make it a destination park and provide needed green space for the western side of Sharpsburg. Sharpsburg could create an Eastern Gateway at PennDOT’s circular onramp area, establishing Sharpsburg’s identity in a highly visible area. Lastly, green space should be a part of the Guyasuta Creek Park (Guyasuta Goes to the Allegheny) that will connect to the future riverfront park.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Communities whose sewers carry both surface water and sewage are required by an Environmental Protection Agency consent decree to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into our rivers. Sharpsburg is included in this group and should work to reduce stormwater entering the sewer system by connecting rainwater networks that capture and convey the water directly to the river. The Riverfront 47 project is discussing major improvements to railroad underpass infrastructure that could also include rainwater conveyance. Two recently built green infrastructure (GI) projects (north of Main Street and Sites Run) will help reduce the Borough’s sewer overflows. This plan identifies additional opportunities for GI in existing parks, streets, and public right of ways. To increase GI in the borough, consider requiring or incenting parking lots and large areas of impervious surface to have on-lot capture and control. More in-depth planning and adaptive management should be adopted to identify additional opportunities for GI and to track the performance of GI within the borough. Existing pedestrian path following former railroad tracks/potential Canal Trail to Aspinwall.1

William Coventry Wall Painting showing view along the Allegheny looking to Aspinwall (1867).1

15th Street (formerly Bridge Street) at North and South Canal Streets and the Pennsylvania Canal, Village of Sharpsburg, Township of Indiana (1841). (image to the left)3 Image: evolveEA Image: William Coventry Wall, Westmoreland Museum of American Art 3 Image: The History of Sharpsburg 1 2

URBAN SYSTEMS | 85


86 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


S2. PRIORITIZE PEDESTRIANS Make walking, biking, and public transit easier and safer. Sharpsburg is relatively flat yet the poor infrastructure, excessive traffic, and disconnect between desirable destinations limits people from walking or biking. Sharpsburg should prioritize pedestrians and bicycles to improve health, decrease noise and pollution, increase safety, and create a strong sense of place. Sharpsburg could adopt the inverted mobility pyramid that was developed in New York City and in Denmark (see page 63) to show how pedestrians could be prioritized over the single passenger automobile. The inverted pyramid describes walkable communities where it is safe and easy to leave the car behind; essential goods, services, schools, and jobs can be found nearby; infrastructure is well cared for; and alternative means of transportation - from car sharing to public transit - are plentiful and convenient. Fewer cars also lessens some of the pressure for parking. The parking that remains should be managed as a district, with shared parking areas that get people out of their cars and into town to experience the charm and commercial assets of Sharpsburg. Photo: Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization

URBAN SYSTEMS | 87


S2.

PRIORITIZE PEDESTRIANS

BIG IDEAS We have a walkable community!

Sharpsburg’s flat terrain is unusual for Pittsburgh and it enables people of all ages to walk to a variety of places in the community or catch a bus to outside destinations. However, crumbling sidewalks and heavily trafficked areas are a challenge. A sidewalk inventory and a walkability committee could help track mobility issues, especially when working with future development and with PennDOT on state-owned roads.

PROJECTS major intersection main street throughway connecting trail major pedestrian connection minor pedestrian connection riverfront connection

88 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

COMPLETE STREETS & ADAPTIVE STREETS

See page 92 for more information.

SHARED PARKING STRATEGY See page 126 for more information.

RIVERFRONT TRAIL

See page 119 for more information.

WalkScore Statistics1 Walk Score is 51 - some errands can be accomplished on foot Transit Score of 42 - a few nearby public transportation options 30-minute walk from one end of Main Street to the other end

CANAL TRAIL

See page 134 for more information.

STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS See page 86 for more information.

CANAL PLAZA

See page 126 for more information.


We can make it better! COMPLETE STREETS & ADAPTIVE STREETS Complete Streets is a Borough policy that prioritizes pedestrians, bikes, and public transit to reclaim the streets for people. Adaptive streets describes ways to quickly build and test permanent improvements with temporary (and fun!) projects that involve the community. LIVING STREETS & PLAZAS Living streets & plazas transform streets into outdoor places where people have priority and vehicles occasionally access. Living streets allow people of all ages to meet and engage, in addition to providing economic, ecological, and social benefits.

ENABLE MODE CHOICE Infrastructure and service improvements give people many ways to get from one place to another and allow people to have car-free households. This would decrease the demand for parking and free up valuable household resources. MAIN STREET = MOBILITY STREET Main Street can serve as a mobility street that stitches together people on the landside with the riverfront. Amenities such as pedestrian crossings, bus shelters, signage, and landscape improvements increase the functionality of the street and will create a shared identity.

MIDDLE STREET IMPROVEMENTS See page 86 for more information.

INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS See page 93 for more information.

MAIN STREET IMPROVEMENTS See page 93 for more information.

GATEWAY IMPROVEMENTS See page 87 for more information.

CANAL TRAIL TO ASPINWALL

See page 134 for more information.

1

Walk Score.

URBAN SYSTEMS | 89


S2.

PRIORITIZE PEDESTRIANS

COMPLETE STREETS & ADAPTIVE STREETS

Sharpsburg recently adopted a complete streets policy that prioritizes many modes of transportation, not just the automobile.2 With the adoption of the policy, the Borough intends to improve mobility and to institutionalize Complete Streets design into all design, construction, and rehabilitation projects. Complete streets improvements should be prioritized around major destinations and connecting routes, such as parks and institutions, businesses and restaurants, and places that serve youth, elders, and people with disabilities.

Sharpsburg passed a Complete Streets resolution in July 2017.5

Adaptive streets describes the temporary prototyping of longer term mobility projects such as intersection reconfigurations, traffic calming, and pedestrian plazas.3 Sharpsburg’s “Open Streets” event is an example of adaptive streets and has been successful as an event that allows people to re-imagine their streets while testing new mobility patterns.

LIVING STREETS & PLAZAS

Living streets & plazas are a strategy to transform streets into outdoor places where people have priority and vehicles occasionally access. The term originated from the Dutch term “woonerf,” or a street that has been converted into a public space. Living streets are places where people of all ages can meet and engage in active uses like walking their dog or street performances, or can take part in passive activities such as playing chess or eating at a sidewalk cafe. Sharpsburg Open Streets Event, 2016.6

Sharpsburg’s Main Street acts as the heart of town, but has narrow sidewalks and no place for people to gather, chat, and enjoy being outside. Canal Street could become a living street with businesses that open up to the outside, street trees and furniture, and activity that creates a lively destination. This would have economic and social benefits and would become a regional destination. Living streets can be designated with painted markings, planters, and signage, or can include more permanent installation of paving, street trees, and public art. Sharpsburg residents should help imagine the location and design of living streets and property owners and businesses should be involved as well, because everyone will be important to the success!

Prior to buses streetcars used to travel down Main Street.7

Main Street at North Canal Street (1930s).8

90 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


ENABLE MODE CHOICE

As a Community of Opportunity, car ownership should be optional, with mode choice freeing up valuable resources for other needs. To decrease the burden on households, enhance access to more mode types and improve choices for those that don’t drive. To make walking easy and safe, enhance crosswalk visibility with installation or maintenance, improve sidewalks and curb cuts, and calm traffic (especially at key intersections and along the length of Main Street). Also, create more pleasant routes with streetscape and tree planting. Establish a bike network with sharrows and in some places dedicated lanes. Establish a bike share location near to regional trail networks and park amenities. Lastly, establish a bike lending site and/or a tool lending library.

MAIN ST. = MOBILITY ST.

Main Street can become a mobility street that stitches together people in the community and future development at the riverfront. Adding amenities for pedestrian crossings, bus shelters, signage, and landscape improvements will slow traffic and encourage more interaction with destinations on both sides of the railroad. Pay careful attention to equity of improvements so that they serve the existing community and new development. For example, wayfinding signs should be consistent for both landside and waterfront destinations and consistent with Borough branding. Amenities such as bike share stations should be located on the landside to enable residents to use the bikes within the community as well as for visitors who may be visiting Sharpsburg to access the trails. Improved intersections at gateways into the riverfront should incorporate public transit improvements with safe, well lit routes into the existing neighborhood as well as into the riverfront area. Bus shelters should contain community information and orient visitors to Sharpsburg’s many assets.

Pedestrians

Bicycles

Public Transportation

The Inverted Mobility Pyramid prioritizes pedestrians first, with the intention to improve health, lessen noise and pollution, and create a greater sense of community.4 Sharpsburg Borough Complete Streets Policy. Lewis, Schwindeller, Adaptive Streets: Strategies for Transforming the Urban Right-of-Way. 4 Reverse Traffic Pyramid, Bicycle Innovation Lab. 5 Photo: Live Well Allegheny. 6 Photo: Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization. 7 Photo: Jaye Ferraro Raffaele 8 Photo: The photography collection of Pete. “Mr. Sharpsburg” Cassano. 2

Car Share/Ride Share

Car (single occupant vehicle)

3

URBAN SYSTEMS | 91


S2.

PRIORITIZE PEDESTRIANS

MOBILITY STUDY AS A PATH TO PARKING MANAGEMENT

Parking can be challenging in Sharpsburg and future growth will only continue to strain the community. Despite being well connected via public transit most households own a car, as they may need to go to places not served by public transit including important destinations like their child’s school. Dense housing and a lack of alleys or garages means that parking spaces are cherished in the residential areas and conversion of industrial properties into office space will require more parking spaces. The width of Sharpsburg’s streets was determined prior to the invention of the car, resulting in narrow roads that are difficult to maneuver.1

Sharpsburg should look for ways to decrease demand and increase the availability of parking. A mobility study would be the foundation for a shared parking management strategy and would document current parking demand, speculate on future demand, and look for ways to share infrastructure. Although parking is one of the most cited concern at community meetings, it is the result of a more complex system of mobility in Sharpsburg. A mobility study is the next step to better understand how people move in Sharpsburg and will help the Borough anticipate future changes. The study will help the Borough achieve its goals to prioritize pedestrians with a comprehensive view and should enable action with recommendations and ways to measure progress. Understand where people are going to and from: • Evaluate where people travel within the community and outside of the community, their routes, and modes of travel.

Some streets require residential parking permits to limit visitor parking.1

Very few homes have off-street parking.1

92 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Assess the availability of different modes of travel and look for behavior of necessity (“I can only drive to my destination.”) versus behavior of choice (“I would prefer to take the bus if it went there.”).

Align with regional studies and find regional data for comparisons.

Assess parking supply and demand: Properly assess projected parking demand and supply to account for future scenarios. Identify forces that might increase or decrease demand and assess their locational impact and likelihood. Develop parking demand management strategies to reduce negative impact from concentrated demand. Some issues could be: •

Less demand: incoming residents are young and/or work in connected communities such as Lawrenceville and downtown.

Less demand: more people choose non-auto modes.

More demand: urban industrial uses are converted to commercial offices with a higher density of employees.

More demand: the riverfront development is successful, landside businesses and attractions may invite more visitors.

More demand: successful events and celebrations will continue to create surge demand.

More demand: Main Street businesses are successful and there is low vacancy or if additional uses such as a grocery store are added.

More supply: curb cuts on existing properties are regulated through the zoning code, enabling more street parking.

Less supply: property becomes more valuable with a structure than as parking.


Identify ways to increase use of public transit: • Advocate for routes that connect people to job centers and services in addition to the downtown business district. This could include stores and health care facilities in Lawrenceville and universities and business areas in the East End. •

Inventory and track available public transit services and fill potential gaps. This might include existing elderly transportation services as well as yet-to-be instituted shuttles to common destinations such as off-peak activities and travel to schools (non-school bus travel).

Identify ways to decrease parking demand with nontraditional modes: • Establish ways to encourage walking and biking. •

Establish car share locations.

Track development of door-to-destination transportation network companies (TNCs) and shared ride services and evaluate how the community currently uses them. There may be potential for local services for frequently visited locations (see Boulder Pilot Study for d2d, door to downtown Pilot Program (https://www.boulderdowntown. com/door-2-downtown).

Assess implications of existing municipal codes and policies: • Evaluate code requirements and model potential projects to find strengths and weaknesses, including unintended consequences, such as excess parking or lack of controls. •

Look for off-street parking opportunities (public or privately owned) that enhance public spaces and architecturally significant buildings. Find locations and configurations that serve multiple uses over a diverse period of time.

Consider enhanced on-street parking tools (permit parking) or metered parking to effectively control use of publicly owned parking and manage demand. Many private and commercial parking lots are underutilized.1 1

Photos by evolveEA.

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94 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


S3. STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE Stabilize and improve existing character. Sharpsburg has an intact commercial corridor that is near to industrial job sites and moderate density and affordable housing. The intimate sense of scale and unique architectural landmarks create a strong sense of place and are the front door to visitors. Sharpsburg should stabilize, preserve, and improve buildings and streets that have contributed to its identity. Sharpsburg has welcomed an influx of regional businesses that will likely continue to attract other similar businesses. These new businesses, as well as existing residents and businesses, will benefit from investment and policy to maintain Sharpsburg’s unique identity. Photo: evolveEA

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S3.

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

BIG IDEAS Village Statistics

We have a vibrant community!

Sharpsburg’s commercial corridor, moderate density, affordable housing, intimate sense of scale, and unique architectural landmarks create a strong sense of place and are the front door to visitors. Sharpsburg has welcomed an influx of regional businesses and small businesses, who, in addition to existing residents and businesses, will benefit from investment and policy to maintain Sharpsburg’s unique identity. Future studies that would help track the village character include: a study of significant structures to identify and prioritize key projects, a community needs assessment to ensure that age diversity and diversity of all types can be cultivated, and a business survey to understand how business can be accelerated through shared action.

PROJECTS park/open space village areas main street throughway connecting trail major pedestrian connection minor pedestrian connection riverfront connection

96 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

GROCERY STORE/MARKET See page 118 for more information.

SOUTH MAIN STREET

See page 116 for more information.

FLOOD IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT See page 116 for more information.

83 street-level units available for businesses on Main Street1 Facade conditions on Main Street rated 58 on 1-100 scale (good/fair)1 76% of residents spend 1-5 hours outdoors interacting in public spaces when the weather is decent2 248 businesses in Sharpsburg3

COMPLEMENTARY BUSINESS CLUSTERS See page 101 for more information.

GARAGE-BASED BUSINESS CLUSTER See page 101 for more information.

MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT See page 126 for more information.


We can make it better! MAIN STREET CORE Sharpsburg’s Main Street Core should be well connected to the riverfront and should attract the local community, as well as invite visitors and guests. COMPLEMENTARY CLUSTERS Complementary business clusters strengthen economic performance and can create a strong identity for a community and contribute to a sense of place. Sharpsburg has many existing and emerging clusters that can be cultivated to increase economic opportunities.

CIVIC ZONE

See page 100 for more information.

MAIN STREET CORE

See page 100 for more information.

CANAL PLAZA

See page 126 for more information.

PRESERVE SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURES Much of Sharpsburg’s character comes from its many architecturally significant structures that contribute to cultural heritage and the community experience. These buildings should be identified, stabilized, and reused/renovated. INTERGENERATIONAL SPACES The vitality of Sharpsburg is partially due to the participation of all ages in civic life. Intergenerational programs and spaces are where people can meet and learn from each other and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

ARCHITECTURALLY SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURES See page 101 for more information.

INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMS & SPACES

See page 100 for more information.

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S3.

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

MAIN STREET CORE

Sharpsburg’s Main Street Core is at the heart of its village-like atmosphere. As the riverfront develops, the commercial core of Main Street needs to be well connected and established as one of a cluster of destinations. To thrive as a district, Main Street needs to have businesses that serve the local community, as well as invite visitors and guests. The ongoing study of Main Street likely contains many recommendations for streetscape, entry gateways, parking, safety, and other best practices. In addition to these recommendations, three areas should be directly addressed. First, Clay Street contains an interesting row of institutions, churches, and other civic-serving structures and should be integrated into the Main Street recommendations. With two streets of attractions, Main Street could be considered as part of a district and not just a one-street corridor. Similarly, the large industrial property to the south could develop with businesses or uses that would benefit from their proximity to Main Street. Uses that are detrimental to the businesses on Main Street (loud, heavily trafficked, etc.) should be avoided. Lastly, the Main Street Core should be proactively planned to extend to the 13th Street riverfront entry. Signage, businesses, and streetscape improvements would create a strong pedestrian link and shared identity with Sharpsburg’s riverfront. The Main Street Core can also be extended in the other direction along South Main Street in the Pine Creek District, which contains smaller storefronts and could lead to the Pine Creek Park/ Riverfront Trail.

INTERGENERATIONAL SPACES

Sharpsburg is one of a few communities where elders and youth have ample access to services and institutions. The civic life of Sharpsburg is vibrant, as seen in the friendly greetings and activities on the streets and in the parks, stores, and restaurants. Age diversity was identified as one of the community’s strengths and should be monitored and maintained in the face of future economic development. Several City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods have successfully created complementary clusters that serve local residents and act as regional attractions. Shown above are Bloomfield’s Little Italy, Garfield’s artist cluster, and the Strip District’s markets.4, 5, 6

Civic life can be enriched by cultivating intergenerational programs and spaces where people can meet and learn from each other. Small businesses can thrive when near to services such as child care, educational institutions, or senior housing. Strategies to create intergenerational spaces include: •

Maintaining and integrating elder housing in the heart of the community and near to essential services and transit.

Establishing or maintaining indoor and outdoor public spaces where people of all ages can meet, such as the library, community centers, or parks.

Ensure that public health services are available in the community, including a health clinic, pharmacy, and potentially acute care services for timely issues such as addiction.

Expand availability of services that support youth and families, including daycare, before-school and after-school care, tutoring, make spaces, etc. The library may serve as this center, as well as institutions on Clay Street.

Establish safe routes, common spaces, and connections between these services and institutions.

Next steps include:

98 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Do an inventory of free and fee-based available services in the community.

Perform a community needs assessment every three years and include an agenda item in council meetings to ask the community about unmet needs.

Promote the services internally to residents and externally as a great place to live.


PRESERVE SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURES

Future growth will bring new development and the renovation of existing buildings. Sharpsburg has a number of architecturally significant structures that contribute to the urban fabric, the cultural heritage, and the experience of the community. SNO and the Borough should work together to preserve the integrity of these structures, find sympathetic uses and developers, and identify possible funding sources. Architecturally significant structures may include: •

Historically significant buildings, such as the first buildings in Sharpsburg.

Culturally significant buildings, such as H. J. Heinz-related buildings.

Typologically significant buildings, such as an intact example of a worker home.

High quality construction, such as buildings that are made of stone or durable materials.

Quirky or unique buildings that have unusual details or features.

Urbanistically important buildings such as buildings on prominent corners or as part of clusters.

Buildings that contribute to an intact streetscape.

Next steps include a process, facilitated by the Sharpsburg Historical Commission, Planning Commission, and SNO, that would establish criteria for significance, identify candidate structures and prioritize any immediately endangered structures, identify funding sources for redevelopment, and institute policies and code changes to protect and preserve the structures, such as historic designation.

COMPLEMENTARY CLUSTERS

Businesses often prefer to be near similar business types and Sharpsburg already has clusters of similar enterprises, such as the cluster of automotive uses on Main Street and the cluster of institutions on Clay Street. Complementary business clusters strengthen economic performance and can create a strong identity for a community and contribute to a sense of place. Sharpsburg should look for opportunities to build or enhance clusters such as: •

Shared-use clusters form when businesses share functions critical to their processes, such as metal working shops that rely on services or products from each other.

Shared-customer clusters form when businesses attract similar customer types, such as restaurants, bars, entertainment, and other functions that offer people choices when they come to a destination.

Shared-access clusters form when there is common access to resources, facilities, or transportation, such as the cluster of businesses in Pittsburgh’s Strip District that served as a retail outlet for produce businesses in the railroad transfer facilities.

Shared-culture clusters form when there are shared values and practices as well as a support network, such as an arts district or ethnic community.

Sharpsburg contains several architecturally significant structures, including homes, commercial buildings, and civic buildings.7 Allegheny Together, Central Business District Analysis, 2017. PCRG Quality of Life Survey, 2016. 3 ESRI, InfoGroup, 2016. 4 Photo: Kate Oczpok. 5 Photo: Keith Knight. 6 Photo: Heather Walsh. 7 Photos: evolveEA. 1

2

Sharpsburg has a number of informal clusters that could be grown. SNO and the Borough should collaborate to assess current and potential future clusters, their needs, and how best to support, promote, or recruit businesses.

URBAN SYSTEMS | 99


100 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


S4. CONNECT TO THE RIVER Reconnect to the riverfront physically and mentally. Sharpsburg has been separated from its riverfront for over 100 years. With the redevelopment of the former industrial site, Sharpsburg can reconnect to the Allegheny River. Main Street needs to become the seam where the existing fabric is stitched together with the new development. Sharpsburg needs to create memorable thresholds where one passes under the railroad. Areas directly adjacent to the new connections should be considered as redevelopment zones, where strategic investment can bring new amenities for existing residents and build property values and the tax base. Photo: Matthew Rudzki

URBAN SYSTEMS | 101


S4.

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

BIG IDEAS Riverfront Statistics

We have a great riverfront!

People have a love of nature and a biophilic need to connect to natural places like Sharpsburg’s riverfront. The James Sharp Landing at 13th Street is owned by the municipality and offers anyone a chance to enjoy the river, including public kayak and boat launches. The privately owned docks and restaurant at 19th Street have a beautiful backdrop of naturalized river and green hillsides, as well as the industrial might of the lock and dam. Connecting to the riverfront, as well as the maintenance of the riverfront, remains a challenge. Since the majority of the riverfront will be controlled by the riverfront developer, the community needs to have a strong collaborative relationship to shape a riverfront that serves and connects all.

PROJECTS new development park/open space

RAINWATER PARKS

See page 134 for more information.

Sharpsburg’s river frontage is 1.5 miles long The developer-owned riverfront area composes 11.5% of the Borough The rest of the Borough is a 5-10 minute walk from the riverfront

16TH STREET STREAMSIDE PARK See page 132 for more information.

STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS See page 86 for more information.

river intensity

13TH STREET PORTAL & SHOP See page 131 for more information.

PINE CREEK GATEWAY PARK & RIVERFRONT TRAIL See page 119 for more information.

102 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

47+ acres of riverfront are being redeveloped

COMPLEMENTARY USES See page 106 for more information.


We can make it better! PEOPLE TO THE RIVER People need safe and pleasant ways to connect to the river. Main Street portals signal the entry to the river and are where people can come by foot, bike, car or bus, creating fertile ground for businesses to grow. COMPLEMENTARY USES The riverfront development should contain complementary uses that connect back to what is happening in Sharpsburg, and landside development should take advantage of market opportunities. The riverfront development and Main Street should feel like an extension of the community, physically and programmaticallly.

19TH STREET RIVER PORTAL See page 140 for more information.

INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS See page 93 for more information.

WATER TO THE RIVER To create safe conditions at the river, Sharpsburg can develop a menu of potential networked stormwater infrastructure that captures and conveys water from the landside to the river. The riverfront redevelopment will amplify the need to reduce CSOs and will be an opportunity for shared investment to meet regulatory requirements. NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES Sharpsburg can connect to neighboring communities and regional job centers with landside trails, street improvements, riverfront trails, and water trails.

WATER RECREATION

See page 43 for more information.

GUYASUTA GOES TO THE ALLEGHENY See page 143 for more information.

URBAN SYSTEMS | 103


S4.

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

PEOPLE TO THE RIVER

Sharpsburg is a rivertown but doesn’t always feel like it. Despite having two places to experience the river, the community is tenuously connected with dark and narrow tunnels and few complementary uses nearby. Sharpsburg should develop the physical connections to bring people to the river. There are three parts to this strategy: create Main Street portals that invite pedestrians, bikes, as well as cars to cross to the river, connect landside networks for walkers and bikers, and encourage Main Street preservation and redevelopment that attracts people and connects the riverfront to the landside. Although the 19th Street portal will likely be an active construction site for a number of years as riverfront redevelopment begins, the long term improvements could better connect Heinz Memorial Field to the river. The 13th Street portal will be the eastern anchor to the Main Street extension. The community should seek cost-sharing opportunities with the riverfront developer to see where there might be co-benefits in portal improvements. The potential portal at 16th Street would solve ecological issues, but would also connect the 16th Street Children’s Park directly to the river and could bring the Canal Trail loop to the river.

COMPLEMENTARY USES

New riverfront redevelopment is coming and it’s important that it is integrated into the neighborhood and adopted as part of the borough’s identity by the people of Sharpsburg. Together with physical improvements that bring people and water to the river, complementary uses can act as a programmatic extension of the community and should be mutually beneficial.

Guyasuta Falls, 1887.1

Complementary riverfront uses can inform the development of Main Street, especially around the portal areas. Main Street retail or hospitality businesses might benefit from riverfront visitors and businesses. Main Street multi-family residential development might appeal to people wanting to be close to the river amenities, public transit, and village amenities, and can contribute to equity goals if it contains affordable housing units. Complementary commercial uses might take advantage of the existing stock of landside buildings that could house like businesses that span both sides of the tracks. For example, the recent move of a creative services company and a craft brewery to the former Fort Pitt Brewery buildings could be an anchor to an innovation cluster. With a connection to the river at 16th Street, this cluster could connect to similar tech business spaces on the riverfront and could offer a diversity of spaces, sizes, and price points to attract businesses at all stages of development.

Several waterfalls exist today as part of Camp Guyasuta, including the waterfall shown above (2018).2

104 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


WATER TO THE RIVER

Sharpsburg’s riverfront is compromised when sewage enters the river from combined sewer overflow events. To prevent CSOs, Sharpsburg will need a menu of potential networked rainwater infrastructure, such as rainwater parks, bioswales, and bioretention basins. Rainwater projects can also be combined with other infrastructure improvements like portal expansions, park enhancements, and road rebuilding. A more thorough study should be done together with the riverfront developer to understand rainwater flows including: •

The sources and flows of rainwater in the sewer system from Sharpsburg and from upstream communities.

Ways to minimize rainwater in the combined sewer system with distributed and networked green infrastructure.

The long term replacement or consolidation of intercept lines and outflow infrastructure by Alcosan and/or the riverfront developer.

Upstream or landside solutions will evolve as the riverfront development progresses and key landside sites should be set aside until the network is better understood.

NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES

Sharpsburg can connect to neighboring communities and regional job centers with landside trails, street improvements, riverfront trails, and water trails. Sharpsburg, Etna, Aspinwall, and other Allegheny rivertown communities have received a slow but steady stream of funding (no pun intended!) and connections are in progress. Sharpsburg’s riverfront trail system is an incredibly important link in this regional chain. Sharpsburg should also look to establish river networks. Entrepreneurial businesses that rent boats or host outfitter excursions are valuable to the community and the community should invite innovative models such as water taxis or on-demand seasonal transportation systems. Destinations might be well traveled, like the stadiums, Allegheny rivertown breweries, or downtown, or might be more unique, like to fishing spots or natural landings, future riverfront amenities, or to experience a lock passage. Lastly, Sharpsburg could be part of a cross-river park network if a river landing at Highland Park connects Heth’s Run and the Pittsburgh Zoo to the river. Sharpsburg could become one of many stops on the Allegheny as neighborhoods improve their waterfront access.

Guyasuta Run, 2017.3

Images: Darlington Digital Library. Images: Camp Guyasuta 3 Images: evolveEA. 1 2

URBAN SYSTEMS | 105


A community of opportunity is defined by its

PLACES & PROJECTS The Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan includes recommendations for places and projects, guided by the urban systems, that support the borough’s identity, principles, and urban systems.

D1.

PINE CREEK DISTRICT

D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT

D3.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

Photo: Robert Tuñón


PINE CREEK DISTRICT The Pine Creek District acts as the western gateway to the borough and connects Sharpsburg safely to Etna and the riverfront trail. Sharpsburg’s core business district extends into Pine Creek, and residents are supported to reduce their vulnerability to flooding.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT The Main and Canal District contains a lively and active business district that is well connected to the riverfront development. A civic zone connects service providers and organizations. A green space network and river portals lead residents through Sharpsburg and to the riverfront.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

The Eastern and Industrial District contains a strong connection between green assets and the riverfront. Guyasuta stream is daylit and pedestrians are able to follow the Run to the riverfront. The housing stock continues to be stable and contains new infill and affordable housing.

new development renovation project park/open space

108 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PLACES & PROJECTS While Sharpsburg is less that 0.5 square miles in land area, the borough contains several uniquely distinct areas, each with their own identities, assets, challenges, and aspirations. Because of this, we have defined three distinct “districts” within Sharpsburg. Considering these identities, the urban systems are applied in each of these districts in unique but complementary ways. A community of opportunity is defined by its places and projects: D1. PINE CREEK DISTRICT pg. 112

D2. MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT pg. 120

EASTERN &

D3. INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT pg. 130

PLACES & PROJECTS | 109


110 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


D1. PINE CREEK DISTRICT Support residents and enhance connections. The Pine Creek District contains many relatively well cared for homes, medium-scale industrial businesses, and Sharpsburg’s gateway to Etna. Sharpsburg should focus on creating safer and more enjoyable pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure at the gateway, in addition to creating functional and beautiful green space that leads to Sharpsburg’s riverfront trail. Sharpsburg should also focus on supporting existing residents located in the floodplain by improving structures to reduce vulnerability to flooding. Improving the connection between S. Main Street and the borough’s core business district would enhance the sense of place in the Pine Creek District.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 111


1 2 3

4 5

6

PINE CREEK DISTRICT PINE CREEK TODAY

The Pine Creek District contains several sub-areas with unique building uses and characters. The district contains a four-block enclave consisting of 2 to 3-story homes and is located entirely in the floodplain. While this area is evenly split between renters and owners, the homes are well cared for and intact. A few storefronts exist along S. Main Street, but most buildings are in poor condition or vacant. Several medium-sized warehouses and businesses exist under and near the bridge. Sharpsburg’s western portal is located in the Pine Creek District, but this area is unwelcoming, confusing and dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles alike.

PINE CREEK FUTURE VISION

Pine Creek will contain a beautiful, safe, and welcoming entrance to Sharpsburg, and will include safe and enjoyable connections to Etna and the riverfront. The Main Street business district will extend along S. Main Street, and consist of small-scale businesses and restaurants. The residential enclave will benefit from improvements, decreasing its vulnerability to flooding and increasing stability.

112 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PROJECTS

CATALYTIC

1. PINE CREEK GATEWAY PARK 2. GROCERY STORE/MARKET LOCATION 3. COMPLETE STREETS IMPROVEMENT 4. SOUTH MAIN STREET

PINE CREEK GATEWAY PARK & RIVERFRONT TRAIL

5. PINE CREEK VILLAGE 6. RIVERFRONT TRAIL GROCERY STORE/ MARKET

new development renovation project park/open space

PINE CREEK VILLAGE

URBAN SYSTEMS ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Improve the western gateway into a park, acting as the entrance to the community. Establish a trailhead for the Riverfront Trail and Canal Trail. Maximize green infrastructure area on vacant lots and on key sites to reduce vulnerability to flooding.

Strengthen the connection between Main St., S. Main St., and the river. Create a flood improvement district to improve properties in the floodplain. Recruit a grocery store or market to locate at or near the western gateway.

Improve walkability and bikability at the western gateway with streetscape improvements and safe intersections. Connect to neighboring communities with the riverfront trail.

Improve connections between Sharpsburg, the riverfront, and neighboring communities. Maximize green space and rainwater parks to reduce vulnerability to flooding.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 113


D1.

PINE CREEK DISTRICT

CATALYTIC PROJECTS

PARK

ALLEGHENY RIVER

FLOOD ENT VEM IMPRO S AREA FOCU

Future development

Preserve key structures

Parking lot buffers

Curb bump-outs and crosswalks

PINE CREEK VILLAGE

Pine Creek Village is a unique area of small homes and commercial properties that are vulnerable to floods. Buildings need to be improved to reduce vulnerability to future flooding damage. Funding through a Flood Improvement District program may help property owners shoulder the costs. South Main Street contains architecturally significant structures that create a classic Sharpsburg streetscape. These commercial and residential structures could be preserved and sensitively improved to reduce vulnerability to flooding. Access to funding and technical assistance through a Flood Improvement District would encourage property owners to invest in buildings and the streetscape. These improvements may allow Sharpsburg’s core business district to extend down S. Main Street, leading to the riverfront trail.

EXISTING CONDITIONS

114 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


Sharpsburg Rising:

Strategies for a Floodplain Improvement District INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURES Existing industrial buildings may continue as commercial uses or may attract investment as live-work units with spaces above the floodplain. MULTI-SITE PROJECTS Projects on mulitple adjacent properties should address the street with living spaces and entries and minimize street facing garages. Adjacent parcels can be used for on-site shared parking to minimize curbcuts. EXISTING RESIDENCES Existing homes may need to have building services and living spaces raised above the floodplain level. In some cases, it may be viable to elevate an entire existing structure on a raised foundation. MIXED USE INFILL Mixed use buildings can have first floor commercial with upper level residential to reinforce the feeling of Main Street. HERITAGE BUILDINGS Historic or architecturally significant buildings may need to have building services raised above the floodplain.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 115


D1.

PINE CREEK DISTRICT

Easy to access parking at rear of building

G R OC ER Y

RG O C YRGE ROC

Increase visibility

CER Y

E CAF

Re-align intersection Connect pedestrians from Etna and Sharpsburg

GROCERY STORE/MARKET Pine Creek Market

Canal Street Market

EXISTING CONDITIONS

116 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

A grocery store or market is one of the most important essential services that Sharpsburg should have to be a complete community. The grocery store/market could be located across from the Pine Creek Gateway Park to increase visibility, and would be in walking distance to Sharpsburg’s core business district. The grocery store/market could be operated by Aldi, Trader Joe’s, or another affordable chain food store or independent market, and would provide Sharpsburgers with access to fresh and healthy foods.

EXISTING BUILDING


Future development site

PI

NE

CR

EE

Curb bump-out + crosswalks

K

Traffic calming planting Parking lot buffer planting screening

PINE CREEK GATEWAY PARK & RIVERFRONT TRAIL

The Pine Creek Gateway Park is a dramatically improved green oasis for people who arrive by car or by foot. It is a “working landscape” with green infrastructure and connects Sharpsburg to Pine Creek, Etna’s future riverfront park, and the riverfront trail. This park is a part of Sharpburg’s Green Space Network and features walking trails and other passive recreation sites. The Gateway Park could evolve into a dynamic destination for people entering Sharpsburg by foot or by vehicle and could become a model for intensive green infrastructure. The area under the highway has been used as parking and other utilitarian activities. The soil on the site is compacted and has little organic material. The soil will support little growth without planning and investment in it. There are many sources of runoff from nearby roads and highways, however, all these sources will provide challenges to water quality. EXISTING CONDITIONS

PLACES & PROJECTS | 117


D1.

PINE CREEK DISTRICT New “artwalk” with seating & amenities

Traffic calming & water capture

Art installation to capture overpass water

WINTER - Water is channeled to “water waves” with saltwater-tolerant plantings.

SUMMER - Water is channeled to native waves as well as saltwater-tolerant plantings.

118 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Harkening back to Sharpsburg’s canal, a series of bioswales could control water into a series of “water waves” with paths, seating, and public art throughout. The inflow points could be organized to channel water into two different plant communities: native plantings and non-native but highly salt-tolerant plantings. To address cost, initial input would be minimal, consisting of mostly rough grading and some imported soil for initial colonization. As biomatter builds over time, the plants will evolve and become more established.


10

5

0

-5 8’ PED

YEAR 15

HIGHWAY WATER

10

5

0

-5 8’ PED

STREET WATER

SOIL FILTER

UNDERDRAIN

SALT TOLERANT SPECIES

NATIVE SPECIES

WINTER & SUMMER INFLOW

SUMMER INFLOW ONLY

YEAR 5

PLACES & PROJECTS | 119


120 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


D2. MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT Connect green space and the riverfront, and enhance the business district. The Main and Canal District contains the borough’s core business district, civic uses, connections to the river, and housing. Sharpsburg should focus on enhancing the business district and activating it as the heart of the community. Greater attention should be given to the existing organizations and service providers in the community, and their efforts should become part of a greater network. Sharpsburg should also focus on connecting and enhancing green assets and improving access to the riverfront. The addition of streetscape and river portals can become part of a greater green space network while improving the experience of getting to the river.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 121


1 4

3

2

5

8

6

7

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT MAIN & CANAL TODAY

The Main and Canal District contains four types of uses - the core business district, civic uses, connections to the river, and housing. The core business district contains a variety of restaurants, shops, and services, but also suffers from vacancy and generally lackluster streetlife. The Library, the Center, several churches and other services are also located in this district, which serves Sharpsburgers and those outside of the community. Kennedy Park, the 16th Street Children’s Park, and the Sharpsburg Community Garden are all located in close proximity to one another. These green assets are well loved but are not well maintained and used to their fullest capacity. The housing in this area is stable and in some areas, intertwined with commercial or other uses.

MAIN & CANAL FUTURE VISION

Main and Canal will contain a vibrant and complete business district, with an active street life, acting as the heart of the community. The district will contain enhanced connections between Main Street and the riverfront development with improved river portals. A civic zone will include networked organizations, the addition of elder housing, and improved coordination between existing service providers. With the addition of parklets and improved streetscape, existing green assets become part of a green network, leading residents through Sharpsburg and to the river.

122 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PROJECTS

CATALYTIC

1. ELDER HOUSING 2. RAINWATER PARKS 3. CANAL TRAIL

GUYASUTA GROVE AT CANAL PLAZA

4. STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS 5. CANAL PLAZA 6. 13TH STREET PORTAL & SHOP 7. 16TH STREET STREAMSIDE PARK

RIVER PORTALS (13TH ST. & 16TH ST.)

8. MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT new development renovation project

KENNEDY PARK & CANAL TRAIL

park/open space

URBAN SYSTEMS ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Create/enhance connections between existing green spaces (Kennedy Park and the 16th Street Children’s Park), and establish a green sequence connecting the parks, Main Street, and the riverfront with enhanced streetscape and new green space.

Strengthen the connection between Main St., S. Main St., and the river. Improve building facades, open businesses up to the street, create complementary clusters, and create a pedestrianonly street/plaza to activate the business district.

Improve walkability and bikability with Complete Streets, streetscape improvements, and the pedestrian-only Canal Plaza. Connect to the river and neighboring communities with the Canal Trail.

Improve connections between Main Street and the riverfront. Lead people to the river by emphasizing the 13th and 16th Street river portals. Maximize green space and rainwater parks to reduce vulnerability to flooding and celebrate nature.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 123


D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT

CATALYTIC PROJECTS

Guyasuta Grove

Landmark business activates plaza

CANAL PLAZA & MIXED-USE REDEVELOPMENT

For many people, Sharpsburg “starts” with the flatiron shaped buildings that mark the borough’s many street grids. The flatiron building at the eastern end of the commercial district could be turned into a civic or arts related function. North Canal Street could be turned into a pedestrianoriented street allowing only service vehicles and delivery. This area could become a regional attraction with restaurants, small businesses, and apartments, and would have to be paired with a Parking Strategy and improvements to Station Street. Improvements include widening of sidewalks and incorporating green infrastructure in the public right-of-way. The Canal Plaza would catalyze development along Main Street, and should lead to redevelopment along the bend in Main Street, leading to the river. A mix of uses along this corridor should be considered, including complementary clusters, and how to best position in relation to uses at the riverfront development. EXISTING CONDITIONS

124 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


Public Parking Lot for Commercial District Preserve Key Structures

Guyasuta Grove

Future Development

Planted Parking Buffer Future Grocery Store Site

Limit Curb Cut Area

CANAL PLAZA TO THE 13TH STREET RIVER PORTAL

The area between Guyasuta Grove and the 13th Street Portal has a mashup of different buildings, parcel sizes, streetscapes, and traffic patterns. This area would benefit from closer masterplanning to explore:

EXISTING CONDITIONS

The potential for parking lots that service the commercial district and Canal Plaza.

Streetscape guidelines and building massing that would better connect the business district and 13th Street. This would include guidelines for access.

Potential for locating affordable and/or elder housing within the area.

Assessment of the large industrial parcel, including vehicular access and improvements to the street edge, business development potential, and integration into the Main Street corridor.

Alternative siting and location for a small grocery store, similar in program and size to the Pine Creek District site (see page 118).

PLACES & PROJECTS | 125


D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT

EXISTING CONDITIONS

WHAT IS A WOONERF?

A woonerf is Dutch term for a shared street where pedestrian are given equal access or greater access as cars. Cars may be allowed within a limited area or traffic may be restricted to certain times of day. Woonerf often have vibrant street life and include street furniture, trees, traffic calming, and active storefronts such as restaurants.

TO THE

CANAL TRAIL

126 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


TO THE

RIVER TRAIL

PLACES & PROJECTS | 127


D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT TO FUTURE HILLSIDE PARK CANAL TRAIL TO ASPINWALL THINK-MAKE-DO CORRIDOR PARK IMPROVEMENTS

19TH

16TH

13TH

RIVER PORTALS

Sharpsburg has been disconnected from much of its riverfront for decades but can be connected with a network of pedestrian friendly streets and green spaces. The re-design of the Main Street intersections as “river portals” can physically connect people to the waterfront and weave together the new riverfront development to the energy on Main Street. The portals at 13th Street and 19th Street as well as a potential portal at 16th Street should share similar characteristics. They should have:

128 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

A park-like entry with greenspace.

Accommodation for people and bikes, as well as vehicles.

Pedestrian improvements, lighting, and potentially signals at Main Street.

Complementary uses between Sharpsburg’s core business district and the riverfront development, such as a cafe, small commercial, housing, or office space.

Signage and wayfinding that connects people to trails, parks, or the core business district for visitors to Sharpsburg.


19TH STREET PORTAL See page 140.

16TH STREET PORTAL

EXISTING CONDITIONS - 19th Street

Entrepreneur’s Corridor: The commercial uses near the historic brewery could be connected to similar uses in the riverfront development, integrating the development into Sharpsburg’s history.

EXISTING CONDITIONS - 16th Street

13TH STREET PORTAL Main Street’s Marina: A strong portal at 13th Street would provide better pedestrian access and extend the vibrant quality of Main Street to the river.

EXISTING CONDITIONS - 13th Street

13TH STREET PORTAL & SHOP The 13th Street portal is a parklet and small shop (could accommodate snacks, ice cream, etc.) located at the entry to the river along 13th Street. Streetscaping connects the portal to Main Street and Kennedy Park as part of a green space network leading people to the river. The river portal also includes improvements to the 13th Street tunnel, where streetscape and pedestrian improvements lead people down to the riverfront as a continuous, inviting, and enjoyable experience.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 129


D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT 16TH STREET STREAMSIDE PARK Currently, there is no river portal at 16th Street, but a new entry would connect to existing greenspaces and could create an entrepreneurial corridor of commercial sites extending from the old brewery to new riverfront development. A connection would also allow the daylighting of the stream that is visible from the Borough building parking lot.

130 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

This could potentially help with lingering CSO issue problem - the stream outflow mixes with combined sewer overflow flow and creates a perpetually wet, sewage-laden delta area. Similar to the 13th Street portal, a 16th Street portal would encourage upgrades to the Main Street intersection for traffic calming and pedestrian safety. It could be the incorporate greenspace and bike trails to bring the riverfront to the existing park and playground. Adjacent development could benefit from the increased activity in the entrepreneurial corridor.


EXISTING CONDITIONS - 16th Street

PLACES & PROJECTS | 131


D2.

MAIN & CANAL DISTRICT

HS 13T ET TRE

14TH STREET

15TH STR EET

Active parks

Rainwater park

Rainwater park

REET

T RY S

BER

MUL

Entry park

KENNEDY PARK & CANAL TRAIL

Better sidewalks, more street trees, and bike routes can create the Canal Trail, a loop that passes by some of Sharpsburg’s historic assets and connects to the river. The trail connects to the river at 13th Street to the James Sharp Landing and potentially at 16th Street. Kennedy Park and the 16th Street Children’s Park are green space links, as is Canal Plaza, as the “on ramp” for people in the commercial district. Configuration of the combined sewer structure at the river’s edge is less than ideal as the overflow mixes with stream flow, creating a perpetually wet, sewage-laden delta area.

Unsafe intersection Well-loved park

EXISTING CONDITIONS

132 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Kennedy Park is well loved and improvements to the park could create more amenities, calm traffic, and manage rainwater. Reconfiguration of the busy intersection and curb cuts at 15th Street would help clarify an ambiguous intersection and create a green gateway into the neighborhood. Rainwater parks at other streets would capture rainwater and create green space destinations within the park. Lastly, improvements to the basketball courts and intersection at 13th Street can become a “stepping stone” to the river park.


PLACES & PROJECTS | 133


134 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


D3. EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT Enhance green space, riverfront, and mobility connections. The Eastern and Industrial District contains a stable housing stock, well-loved field, and several industrial uses along its eastern gateway. Sharpsburg should focus on improving green assets and their connection to the riverfront, daylighting Guyasuta Run, and improving the 19th Street river portal. Sharpsburg should also focus on creating new infill and affordable housing, improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along Middle Street, and supporting the existing housing stock.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 135


1

2

3 4

5

6

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL TODAY

The Eastern and Industrial District contains a strong and stable multi-block area of housing (predominantly single-family homes). The district is bordered on the eastern edge with medium-scale industrial uses, and has the Highland Park Bridge as a hard edge. The district also contains Heinz Memorial Field, consisting of a baseball field, basketball courts, a small playground, and a dek hockey field. The eastern portion of Main Street in this district contains a mix of commercial, residential, and a handful of light industrial uses.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL FUTURE VISION

The Eastern and Industrial District will contain a strong connection between the newly improved Heinz Memorial Field and the riverfront via the 19th Street river portal. The area adjacent to Heinz Memorial Field and vacant lots in the community will be replaced with new, affordable, and community-scaled infill housing. Guyasuta Run will be daylit and pedestrians will be able to follow the Run down to the riverfront and all the way up to Camp Guyasuta, which is betterconnected to the community’s green space network. Middle Street will contain robust pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, providing a safe and efficient route for walkers and people on bikes heading towards west Sharpsburg.

136 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PROJECTS

CATALYTIC

1. THE YARDS 2. AFFORDABLE INFILL HOUSING 19TH STREET RIVER PORTAL

3. CANAL TRAIL TO ASPINWALL 4. GUYASUTA GOES TO THE ALLEGHENY 5. 19TH STREET RIVER PORTAL 6. EASTERN GATEWAY

THE YARDS

new development renovation project park/open space

GUYASUTA GOES TO THE ALLEGHENY

URBAN SYSTEMS ENHANCE GREEN LINKS

PRIORITIZE THE PEDESTRIAN

STRENGTHEN THE VILLAGE

CONNECT TO THE RIVER

Create/enhance connections between Heinz Memorial Field and the riverfront. Establish a new trail that connects Aspinwall with the heart of Sharpsburg. Daylight Guyasuta Run and establish supporting green space.

Preserve and improve architecturally significant structures. Build from existing civic assets to create a civic zone with supporting programs. Emphasize intergenerational spaces and programs.

Connect western and eastern Sharpsburg with mobility improvements along Middle Street. Improve the eastern gateway and connections to the river with streetscape and safer intersections.

Daylight the stream at 16th Street and along Guyasuta Run, paired with green space. Improve connections between green assets, neighboring communities, and the river.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 137


D3.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

CATALYTIC PROJECTS

Improved entry

Infill housing

Active use park

19TH STREET RIVER PORTAL

Sharpsburg has two portals to the river that are within 1/4 mile of major parks, yet neither is well connected with safe pedestrian routes. Unlike 13th Street, 19th Street is not aligned with the portal. Improvements at intersections and at the portal location would give safe crossing for residents and visitors. In addition, improvements to the park would make it more likely to be used as part of an active-use open space system that extends to the river. Improvements within the tunnel will likely be made when riverfront development occurs, and the community should advocate for pedestrian amenities and green improvements.

EXISTING CONDITIONS

138 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PLACES & PROJECTS | 139


D3.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

future stream restoration trail side park

140 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


EXISTING CONDITIONS

GUYASUTA GOES TO THE ALLEGHENY

Daylighting the run and providing walk/bike trails to the river would provide one step closer to an expanded green space system and connection to upstream communities. A trailside park can be created at the stream crossing. The canal trail should connect all the way to the business district of Aspinwall.

PLACES & PROJECTS | 141


D3.

EASTERN & INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

Municipal uses

TO ETNA Canal trail

TO

AS

PIN

WA

LL

Municipal yards

THE YARDS

Heinz Memorial Field is in need of repairs and upgrades, including new playground equipment, turf upgrades, additional seating, and other amenities. Improvements should include a parking area, rainwater management and intersection upgrades. The municipal yards currently on the riverfront can be consolidated into the lot adjacent to the park or perhaps located in the underused industrial structures to the north of the site. Those buildings could become a signature structure of the borough, with community uses and upgrades with lighting or signage.

EXISTING CONDITIONS

142 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


PLACES & PROJECTS | 143


PROCESS & NEXT STEPS The success of any community plan hinges on the support of the people it is intended to serve. Every community and steering committee meeting was intended to not only consult the local expertise within the community, but to inform and activate residents to implement the plan moving forward. This section describes the process behind this plan, and suggested next steps for Sharpsburg.

Photo: evolveEA


COMMUNITY MEETING 1 RESULTS Attendees crafted newspaper headlines depicting their vision for Sharpsburg 5 years in the future. The graphic below depicts words used by attendees during this exercise. The bigger the word, the more often it was mentioned.

COMMUNITY MEETING 2 RESULTS 13

Attendees chose ten things they would like to see in Sharpsburg in the future from a list of several options. The results of this activity are shown below.

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COMMUNITY MEETING 3 RESULTS Attendees visited stations dedicated to each district and posted hearts, thumbs up, or thumbs down to describe their opinions about the design proposals.

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146 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


OUR

PROCESS The success of any community plan hinges on the support of the people it is intended to serve. Because of this, community engagement and resident input is essential to our team’s process. Every community and steering committee meeting was intended to not only consult the local expertise within the community, but act as an opportunity to inform and activate residents to implement the plan moving forward. CRITICAL ISSUE ASSESSMENT The project team spent the first phase of the project getting to know Sharpsburg through on-site walking tours, speaking with residents in the steering committee and on the street, and reviewing existing plans, data, maps, etc. ASPIRATIONS AND IDENTITY The second phase kicked off with a steering committee meeting followed by a community meeting. During these meetings the project team shared the findings from the critical issue assessment, including an in-depth analysis of existing demographic and economic conditions, energy, food, water, mobility, air quality, and equity. Attendees engaged in a series of exercises to establish preliminary identities, strategies, and aspirations that residents have for Sharpsburg. Residents engaged in conversations with those sitting next to them about things that are important to them, defined frequently used “urban design” terms in the specific context of Sharpsburg, and crafted headline articles showcasing their vision for Sharpsburg 5 years in the future. From these exercises, three distinct themes began to emerge: Upward mobility, transform

yourself, the best you, opportunity; Riverfront destination; Best in class environmental performance. During this meeting we heard a lot about the “stigma” that outsiders have regarding Sharpsburg’s identity, and how friendly and welcoming existing Sharpsburgers feel their community is. Additionally, concerns about the floodplain and riverfront development were shared.

1 Adapted from King County, WA, “Communities of Opportunity”.

OUR PROCESS & NEXT STEPS | 147


WALKTHROUGH 24 FEB 2017

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING ONE 27 MARCH 2017

COMMUNITY MEETING ONE 17 APRIL 2017

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING TWO 9 MAY 2017

COMMUNITY MEETING TWO 05 JUNE 2017

STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING THREE 14 SEPT 2017

PLANNING SCENARIOS Informed by the results of the community meeting, the project team distilled the information into three distinct identity scenarios for the community and presented case studies in support of these identities. The three identities were:

COMMUNITY OF OPPORTUNITY

A community where people can find the opportunities and resources needed to thrive economically, live safely in quality affordable housing, are healthy and connected to their neighbors and environment and are empowered to make change.1

BEST IN CLASS ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

A community that leverages resiliency and sustainability with innovative environmental practices, programs, and technology to improve quality of life for residents.

RIVERFRONT COMMUNITY

A community that leverages their riverfront to improve quality of life, catalyze economic development, and for recreational and environmental purposes. Attendees also selected the top 10 things they would like to see in Sharpsburg, and the results ranged from arts and culture, food and infrastructure to other strategies. The presentation also included an in-depth analysis of energy, food and air quality in Sharpsburg. With this information, residents worked in three groups to brainstorm ideas and resources related to the three identities. These groups discussed how Sharpsburg’s identity must benefit ALL people living in Sharpsburg, and must provide opportunities for Sharpsburgers. Additionally, they discussed how the riverfront development must benefit the people of Sharpsburg. ACTION The project team synthesized the information heard from the community, the analysis performed, and on the ground experience to develop recommendations for placemaking, programming, identity, and catalytic projects, within three Sharpsburg districts. This information was shared at the final community meeting, where residents reacted to the proposal using “heart,” “like,” and “dislike” stickers, as well as post-it notes for free-hand comments. After following up on a few of the comments, the project team finalized the proposal, which is presented in this report.

“Sharpsburg Residents Get a Say...”, Pittsburgh Post Gazette. All images: evolveEA

2

148 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


COMMUNITY MEETING THREE 25 OCT 2017

COMPILING, REFINING, AND FINALIZING PLAN DETAILS 2018

2019 LAUNCH!

It’s important that the community is proactive instead of reactive. I’m happy to be able to have input. Nanci Goldberg 2

ACTION! The success of any community plan hinges on the support of the people it is intended to serve and the capacity of the community to take action. Get involved with Sharpsburg today! Visit the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization’s website at SharpsburgNeighborhood.org

to learn about ongoing and upcoming projects and how you can help.

It will protect residents from unbridled development and give them a say in what happens. Brittany Reno

2

OUR PROCESS & NEXT STEPS | 149


OUR

VISION

SHARPSBURG IS A

COMMUNITY of

OPPORTUNITY We are a friendly and welcoming community where all people are connected, thriving, resilient, and empowered to be the best they can be.

150 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


SHARPSBURG’S

NEXT STEPS WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR

PRINCIPLES SHORT-TERM YR 1-3 P1. Develop a Sharpsburg leadership cohort of people who can connect with the community about this plan, can communicate and activate people about development and progress, and who can explain how Sharpsburg relates to regional and national trends. Establish municipal regulations and a community culture that ensure transparent and inclusive review processes and project implementation. Establish whether existing municipal regulations can address strong market issues such as parking, affordability, etc. Set social, economic, and physical environment goals and track progress with a community scorecard.

P2. Consider municipal regulations that support community goals, such as inclusionary zoning policies focused on constructing new affordable units alongside market rate units. Consider three types of studies to help identify gaps and the most effective tools for Sharpsburg’s future: a new movers study, a community needs assessment, and a market value assessment. Establish a community land trust to preserve permanently affordable housing.

Create an Affordability Ambassador that can help residents navigate the changing market and prevent displacement.

P3. Work with local professionals and banks to provide financial empowerment classes, where residents can receive financial education. Help renters to evaluate their real estate strategies and possibly move from rental to homeownership. Help existing property owners understand the market dynamics and strengthen their position. Provide first time homebuyer’s assistance to support higher rates of homeownership.

P4. Create a Sharpsburg marketing campaign to brand, communicate, and control Sharpsburg’s identity and story and how it is viewed by the region and beyond. Develop well educated neighborhood leadership that is active in national dialogue on community development. Partner with Etna and Millvale as part of the Triboro Ecodistrict, and with adjacent neighborhoods to align resources, events, programs, and projects.

P5. Take the next step of Formation to continue on the path towards EcoDistricts certification. Weatherize homes to minimize costs for lower income households. Host a deeper discussion with university efforts to better understand how microgrid hydroelectric power might benefit Sharpsburg. Develop a water task force to track effect of extreme weather events and to inform a more detailed flooding and resiliency strategy (also P6). Develop a mobility committee to improve public transit infrastructure and service along Main Street as a “seam” to the new development. Begin acquisition of trail right-of-ways.

P6. Participate in and promote the riverfront trail design process. Develop a pivot index to track community economic indicators. Revisit indicators biannually. Develop a platform to address the riverfront development (p68).

OUR PROCESS & NEXT STEPS | 151


WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR

URBAN SYSTEMS, PLACES, & PROJECTS PLAN YEARS 1-3 Open Space Masterplan & Green Infrastructure Evaluation TO INCLUDE: • Park Use Study • Stormwater Evaluation

PLAN & FUNDRAISE YEARS 4-5 Pine Creek Gateway Park plan Canal Trail and R.O.W. acquisition Green infrastructure project design Kennedy Park The Yards Guyasuta Daylighting study (coordinate with developer)

Mobility Masterplan

Main Street infrastructure improvements and streetscape guidelines

TO INCLUDE: • Sidewalk Inventory

13th Street portal design

Parking Study

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Feasibility Study

Adaptive Streets Plan (pop-up use)

16th Street portal design 19th Street portal design Canal Plaza Implement program for property owner sidewalk improvements

Architecture & Urban Fabric

Acquire or preserve key structures

Inventory significant structures and vulnerable structures

Create Flood Improvement District and Fund

Commercial Business District Evaluation (Allegheny Together)

Implement Main Street and portal development projects

TO INCLUDE: • Existing and desired clulsters •

Identify complimentary uses for riverfront activity

Begin discussion with supermarket vendors/ developers

152 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan

Begin implementation of projects in targeted area

Supermarket


CONSTRUCT YEARS 5+ Construct project Construct project Construct project Construct project Construct project Plan and fundraise

Construct project Construct project Construct project Construct project Construct project

Implement project Implement project Implement project

OUR PROCESS & NEXT STEPS | 153


154 | Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan


SOURCES 3 Rivers Wet Weather (3RWW). Regional Sewer Atalas Infrastructure. (accessed April 2017). 3 Rivers Wet Weather (3RWW). About the Wet Weather Issue. (accessed July 2018). Air Permits Clearinghouse. June, 2017. Retrieved from Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), [http://gasp-pgh.org/projects/air-permits/]. Allegheny County Building Footprint Locations, GIS layer, updated in 2015. Allegheny County Crash Data, GIS layer, 2016. Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS). 2015, (accessed April 2017). Allegheny County Food Facilities, GIS layer, 2015. Allegheny County Property Assessments (2015), interpreted by the Lawrenceville Corporation (LC). Allegheny County Property Assessments, GIS layer, 2017. Allegheny County Watershed Boundaries, GIS layer, 2017. Allegheny Together. (2017). Central Business District Analysis. Average Cost of Flood Insurance 2018. Retrieved from Value Penguin, [https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-flood-insurance#nogo]. (accessed February 2018). Bicycle Innovation Lab. Reinventing the Wheel, or the Future of Urban Biking. Retrieved from Urban Hub [http://www.urban-hub.com/ideas/reinventingthe-wheel-or-the-future-of-urban-biking/]. (accessed January 2018). Sharpsburg Borough Council Unanimously Passes Complete Streets Policy. Retrieved from Bike PGH, [https://www.bikepgh.org/2017/07/25/sharpsburgborough-council-unanimously-passes-complete-streets-policy/]. (accessed January 2018). Carnegie Mellon Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS, 2018). The Breathe Project. Retrieved from Black Carbon Heat Mapping, [http:// breatheproject.org/learn/pollution-maps/]. Communities of Opportunity. Retrieved from King County, WA, [https://www. kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/health-human-services-transformation/ coo.aspx]. (accessed August 2017). Doig, W. (2017, November 27). The Next Threat for Coastal Cities is Flood Insurance Reform. Next City. Enterprise Opportunity Measurement Report 360, 2017. ESRI, American Community Survey (ACS), 2010 - 2014. ESRI, American Community Survey, 2010-2014. ESRI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014. (accessed April 2017). ESRI, Consumer spending data is derived from the 2013 and 2014 Consumer Expenditure Surveys, Bureau of Labor Statistics. ESRI, Historic Pittsburgh. 1851. Pittsburgh Historic Maps. Retrieved from ESRI People Maps, [http://peoplemaps.esri.com/pittsburgh/]. (accessed 15 February 2018) ESRI, Infogroup, 2016.

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ESRI, Kalibrate Technologies, 2016. ESRI, U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2010 Summary File 1. FEMA. 2015. Substantial Improvements. Retrieved from FEMA, [https://www. fema.gov/floodplain-management-old/substantial-improvement]. (accessed February 2018) FEMA Floodzones, GIS layer, 2017. FEMA National Flood Hazard, Floodplain, GIS layer, 2017. Google. Retrieved from Project Sunroof, [https://www.google.com/get/ sunroof#p=0]. (accessed June 2017) Jordan Lewis, M. S. (2014). Adaptive Streets: Strategies for Transforming the Urban Right-of-Way. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, [https://issuu. com/schwin/docs/14_04_26_adaptivestreets_final]. Mallach, Alan. 2016. Is the Urban Middle Neighborhood an Endangered Species? Multiple Challenges and Difficult Answers. Community Development Investment Review, 63 - 83. Michel, R. (2017, November 3). Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Sharpsburg Residents Get a Say in What is Best for Their Hometown, pp. [http://www. post-gazette.com/local/north/2017/11/03/Sharpsburg-residents-getemotional-about-neighborhood-improvement-plans/stories/201711020004]. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). PVWatts Calculator. Retrieved from [http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/], (accessed June 2015). Overdose Free PA., 2017. Retrieved from Overdose Death Data, [https:// www.overdosefreepa.pitt.edu/know-the-facts/view-overdose-death-data/]. (accessed December 2017). Panizzi, T. (2017, April 12). Feds Issue License for Proposed Hydroelectric Plant for Highland Park Dam at Aspinwall. TribLive. PCRG, 2015. Sharpsburg Property Condition Assessment. Penn Environment Research & Policy Center. (2015). Toxic Ten: The Allegheny County Polluters that are Fouling Our Air and Threatening Our Health. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Pennsylvania (PA) State Roads, GIS layer. (accessed March 2017) Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG). 2016. Quality of Life Survey. Port Authority of Allegheny County. Retrieved from Port Authority Fare Information, [http://www.portauthority.org/paac/FareInfo/FareInformation. aspx]. (accessed August 2017). Port Authority of Allegheny County. Schedules & Maps. [https://www. portauthority.org/paac/SchedulesMaps/Maps.aspx]. (accessed August 2017) Port Authority of Allegheny County Fares . (accessed April 2017). Southwestern Pennsylvania Community Profiles. Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), 2015. (accessed April 2017) Statistics, Bureau of Labor. 2016. Consumer Expenditures. [https://www.bls. gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm]. (accessed April 2017). The Trust for Public Land. ParkScore. Retrieved from [parkscore.tpl.org/]. (accessed January 2018).

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SHARPSBURG COMMUNITY VISION PLAN

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Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan  

The Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan is the community’s roadmap to shape their future and guide development in the borough for the next 5 to...

Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan  

The Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan is the community’s roadmap to shape their future and guide development in the borough for the next 5 to...

Profile for evolveea
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