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Restoring Pittsburgh’s Public Green Space • Frick, Highland, Riverview & Schenley Parks

Schenley Plaza Grand Opening

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Fall 2006

UPMC Health Plan Sponsors Lecture Series By Amy Ripley

ittsburgh Parks Conservancy is thrilled to announce a new partnership with UPMC Health Plan to promote healthy lifestyles in the region and re-focus attention on Pittsburgh’s parks and trails as a wonderful venue for healthful personal exercise. Over the next three years, UPMC Health Plan will be the presenting sponsor of the lecture series at the Schenley Park Visitor Center, which will be re-focused on healthy lifestyles starting this month. The UPMC Health Plan Healthy Living Lecture Series will debut at noon on October 12 at the Schenley Park


Visitor Center. As a new, healthy spin on PPC’s previous lecture series, which focused on ecology, art, outdoor adventure and local history, this free six-week series will feature local medical and health experts discussing important health issues, including fitness, the flu, diabetes, and holistic health. UPMC Health Plan is presenting the series to support a bold city-wide initiative to make Pittsburgh the healthiest city in the country. The health insurer is partnering with America on the Move, a national non-profit program that SEE


Mayor Bob O’Connor 1944 - 2006

Joshua Franzos

PPC Launches New Websites

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PPC mourns the loss of Mayor Bob O’Connor, a devoted Pittsburgher and park friend who supported the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy from its earliest days. He is seen here on June 8 at the opening ceremony for Schenley Plaza. Pictured: City Councilman Bill Peduto, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Oakland Community Council member Nathan Hart, PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr, PPC President Meg Cheever, County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Bob O’Connor, former PPC Board Chair Marlee Myers, and PPC Board Chair Richard Reed.

Improvements at the Schenley Oval

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Mary Jane Bent

Crews Clean Up Highland Park

Don’t miss the Halloween bash named “Best Event of 2005” by the Pittsburgh PostGazette’s SEEN! This year’s Madcap Masquerade, presented by UPMC Health Plan, will be held Saturday, Oct. 28 in the Hunt Armory in Shadyside. The blacktie or costume event will feature wild entertainment, a fashion show by local designers, and great drinks, dessert, and dancing. Tickets are $250 and include 7 p.m. entry, dinner, and valet parking. Tickets to the “After Nine” portion are $50. Visit or call 412-6827275 to make your reservation.

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Melissa McMasters

DCNR Secretary Tours Schenley Park

Phil Gruszka (center), PPC Director of Park Management and Maintenance Policies, outlines some of the restoration projects that have been undertaken in Schenley Park’s Panther Hollow to Michael DeBerardinis (right), Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Cindy Dunn (left), Director of DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. Several representatives of DCNR visited Pittsburgh in August and toured the restored Phipps Run area while learning about future plans for Panther Hollow. The state has been supportive of Pittsburgh’s parks restoration efforts.

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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter


ittsburgh’s parks lost a dear friend important events, participating in their lives. You may have spotted him last month with the passing of among the revelers at last year’s Mayor Bob O’Connor. Madcap Masquerade, and he was During his tenure as City Council President and then as Mayor, O’Connor sporting a baseball cap at this year’s Spring Hat Luncheon. had been a major supporter of the parks throughout the first ten years of the One of the final milestones Mayor O’Connor celebrated with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. us was the grand opening of The mayor’s enthusiasm for the City of Schenley Plaza in June, where he Pittsburgh, including its four beautiful expressed his excitement at being regional parks, was infectious. Asked to part of the first ride on the PNC name his favorite of the parks, he Carousel. “This is really what answered that it would be like choosing which of his children was his favorite. Pittsburgh is all about,” he said of Mayor Bob O’Connor with Meg Cheever at the May 2006 Spring Hat the Plaza’s union of green space with The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has urban progress. always adhered to Charles Jordan’s belief Luncheon in Schenley Plaza. Mayor O’Connor’s devotion to improving the landscape of Pittsburgh, that “parks are the most democratic spaces in society.” Parks are for people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds; they are and his always-smiling presence in that landscape, will be deeply missed. spaces designed to bring the community together. Few people demonstrated enthusiasm for community like Mayor O’Connor, who spent much of his time among the people of the City, attending their Stan Franzos


Courtesy of UPMC Health Plan


Dr. John Jakicic will be the inaugural speaker at the UPMC Health Plan Healthy Living Lecture Series.

works to improve health and quality of life by promoting healthful eating and active living. Many local organizations who are participating in America on the Move in Pittsburgh will be highlighted during the series. “Both the Conservancy and UPMC Health Plan view parks as phenomenal resources for healthy living,” said Diane Holder, president of UPMC Health Plan. “We are pleased to present this lecture series as a way to educate the public on important health issues, while encouraging them to use the parks to increase their physical activity, reduce their stress, and find enjoyable ways to live healthfully.” Lectures will last about 30 minutes and be followed by Q&A on the following Thursdays: October 12 - America on the Move in Pittsburgh: How Small Fitness Steps Make a Big Impact - John Jakicic, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of

Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh October 19 – How to Build a Weight-Loss Toolbox Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, CNS, Director, UPMC Weight Management Center and Melinda Parker, MS, RD, Chief Bariatric Nutritionist, UPMC Weight Management Center October 26 - Diabetes: The Emerging Epidemic - Linda Siminerio, Director, University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute November 2 - A Shot of Prevention: Protecting Yourself from Flu and Avian Flu - Anne Docimo, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UPMC Health Plan November 9 – Holistic Health: Being Well-Balanced Rose Gantner, EdD, Senior Director, Health Promotion, UPMC Health Plan November 16 - Healthy Living for Seniors - Mike Culyba, MD, Vice President, Medical Affairs, UPMC Health Plan

Letters To The Editor

We want your feedback. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy welcomes letters to the editor. Letters may be edited. All submissions become the property of the PPC. Please send them to: The Voice, 2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Expectations Exceeded

Congratulations! I just want you to know that my wife and I, both seniors on limited income, were among those who lamented the loss of convenient and inexpensive parking spaces when Schenley Plaza was first proposed. It did not sink in that the space would be more than trees and benches. Now that we see what has been created, we are just thrilled with this most useful, beautiful, charming, imaginative addition to our city. Walter Boninger Oakland

Accommodating Carousel

What a wonderful experience my husband, Harry, and I had at the Plaza. We were able to find a parking space right in front of the carousel. Naturally we enjoyed strolling through the gardens while sunbathers, “sweethearts,” students, a yoga person and families enjoyed the day on the Plaza. We returned to the carousel where my husband

asked the operator if it would be possible for me to ride on the grand carousel although I am wheelchair-bound. She could not have been more accommodating. Round and round I went smiling and waving to passers-by. Barbara Ruane Shadyside

Plaza Provides Summer Retreat

As an employee at UPMC, I just want you to know how much I have enjoyed Schenley Plaza this summer. I walk down to “my park” several times a week to eat my lunch and enjoy the great music under the shade of the big canopy. I’m amazed by the abundance of talent in the local Pittsburgh musicians. The food stands seem to be thriving. The carousel is truly a work of art. I must say that Schenley Plaza is my favorite place to go in Oakland this summer and I’m glad to see so many people enjoying it along with me. Karlyn Wilson Oakland

Schenley Park Much Improved

I am writing you as a previous resident of Pittsburgh for 40 years who continues to visit the city regularly. From 1976 to 1997, I ran on the trails in Schenley Park virtually every day. Conservatively, I have logged some 25,000 miles on those trails. I have a deep and abiding love for Schenley Park that borders on the fanatical. When I came up to Pittsburgh several weeks ago, I was very pleasantly surprised to see all the work that has been done on “my” park. It looks more beautiful than in all the 30 years that I have been running there. There are many things that may go unnoticed by the casual observer but not me. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to know that other people are willing to invest their time, energy, and money in restoring Schenley Park to be the beautiful jewel of the city that it is. Robert Zoeller Davie, Florida

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

Schenley Plaza Makes Its Grand Entrance

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By Melissa McMasters

ver 50,000 people who attended Schenley Plaza’s Grand Opening weekend celebration from June 8 to June 11 became the first to enjoy the city’s newest destination for family fun and relaxation. With the sound of carousel music, the sight of the Zany Umbrella Circus performing a new high-wire spectacle, and the smell of delicious food from the four local food kiosks as accompaniment, PPC and its many community partners officially opened Oakland’s new urban green space. The morning began with an official “ribbon-tying” ceremony to symbolize the coming together of the project partners: local government, foundations, universities, community members, and PPC. Then it was time for the ceremonial first ride for sponsors of the PNC Carousel animals, which proved to be a popular destination for kids this summer. “When our son, Liam, 2, spotted the carousel, he literally flew down the walkway,” says Laura Ellis of Sewickley. “During his first go-round (on the tiger), he was quite solemn, but what we didn’t realize was that he was checking out all the animals to determine his next conquest. The minute the ride slowed, he exclaimed ‘Waabit!’ and made a beeline for the rabbit. Each time the ride came to an end, he announced the next chosen animal, which was okay, except competition for the dolphin was quite fierce, and it took a number of extra spins before we were quick enough to secure a seat onboard this happy ocean creature. Once this achievement was made, we finally were able to step off without any tears.” Liam is just one of the many kids who has enjoyed the family entertainment taking place at the Plaza throughout the summer. As part of opening weekend festivities, Zany Umbrella Circus debuted its new show, “The Enchanted Toy Box,” sponsored by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments, before staging several additional performances during June. The National Geographic Outdoor Film Series, sponsored by Pittsburgh ROARS, unleashed leopards, bears, and wolves on adventurous visitors on Thursday nights. For puppet shows, free carousel rides, face-painting, and interactive storytelling, kids could come to one of four Kids Days, sponsored by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. And visitors to the food kiosks can tap their feet to live jazz, rock, reggae, and swing six days a week as they enjoy their lunches under the tent.

Mary Jane Bent


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy would like to thank all the sponsors of the animals on the PNC Carousel. Their generosity will allow the carousel to bring joy to Schenley Plaza visitors for years to come. Animal Horse Eagle Dolphin Sea Dragon Giraffe Rabbit Camel Pig Triceratops Seal Panther Tiger Sea Horse Elephant Ostrich Chariot Spinning Tub

Name Krissy’s Lily Freedom Sea Diver Puff Troy Polamalu Rrraaa-bit’! Harry Skettle Henrietta Topper R Merry Seal Pitt the Panther Toofus Hippicamp Nancy Oscar Accessible Chariot Malena’s Marvelous Planetary Teacup

Joshua Franzos

Schenley Plaza’s outdoor gardens give park users a beautiful and serene setting for reading, relaxing, or surfing the Internet. By sponsoring one of the garden rooms or the elegant Spanish cedar benches that adorn the gardens, you will help keep the Plaza beautiful for years to come. Bench sponsorships are $3,000 for a section of a curved bench or an entire straight bench, which seats 4 people, and $10,000 for a curved bench, which seats 10 people. An engraved plaque will be placed in the gardens and on the benches to honor the donor or someone of the donor’s choice. Garden room sponsorships are $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the garden area. For more about naming opportunities at the Plaza, call 412-682-7275 or visit

Carousel Sponsors

Schenley Plaza as seen from the Cathedral of Learning.

Adopted by Mr. and Mrs. James E. Rohr Anna and Ed Dunlap and Family George and Jane Greer The Charity Randall Foundation Audrey and Tim Fisher John and Catharine Ryan Richard and Susie Nernberg Elsie Hillman Marjorie Burns Haller Gookin Family Foundation Henry and Linda Haller DSF Charitable Foundation The Syngnathid Family Alex and Tonja Condron Babcock Charitable Trust FISA Foundation The Rhoades Family

Garden Sponsors Alan and Barbara Ackerman Dr. S. Rand Werrin and Barbara & Herb Shear

Bench Sponsors

Alan and Barbara Ackerman Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust Meg and George Cheever Heather Chronis and Jason Chronis Henry and Linda Haller Harry and Barbara Henninger Mrs. Robert E. Mertz Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Martha and Ramen Raak Teri and Damian Soffer University of Pittsburgh Dr. S. Rand Werrin We thank all those who have sponsored benches and gardens in the Plaza for their generosity.

Mary Jane Bent

Sponsor a Garden or Bench in the Plaza!

Carousel sponsor Linda Haller accompanies Dominique Matthews at the ceremonial first ride on the PNC Carousel during Schenley Plaza’s grand opening on June 8.

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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

Current and Former PPC Board Chairs Discuss Their Love for Parks By Emily Marchesani

ffective July 1, Richard W. Reed, Jr., executive vice president of the Pittsburgh Foundation, succeeded Marlee S. Myers, managing partner of the Pittsburgh office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, as board chair for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Myers had held the position since the PPC’s inception. “People should be aware that there’s a continuity on the board, and Richard Reed has been a part of the vision and implementation for years. We all feel that the PPC has a lot of unfinished business and we’re enthusiastic about the road ahead,” said Myers.


Do you visit the parks? What is your favorite Parks Conservancy showcase project? Reed: When our children were little we used Frick Park a lot for the playgrounds. As our kids became involved in soccer and baseball, we used the fields at Schenley and Frick parks. For a number of years I worked near Riverview Park and we used the shelters for work events. Today, I walk in Schenley Park. My favorite showcase project is the Plaza because of its impact. It was such an extraordinary transformation of space. Myers: Yes. I use Schenley and Frick very often. My favorite showcase project is Schenley Plaza because it’s spectacular and it transformed Oakland. It’s a huge improvement and recreated

the grand entrance for Schenley Park the way it was intended to be. Marlee, why did you choose to get involved in the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 while it was being formed? Myers: I thought that the community needed an organization such as the PPC. The beautiful parks were visibly deteriorating. Without it none of the improvements we’ve seen so far would have happened. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment as Founding Board Chair? Myers: All of the accomplishments have been group accomplishments. We’ve had three major accomplishments, with the first being Schenley Plaza. Second, we’ve raised awareness throughout the region about the importance of parks, and we’ve highlighted the love people have for our parks. Third, we’ve proved this could be done. We started from scratch, and we are only at the beginning. We have a lot more to do. Richard, you have been involved with the PPC and its board of directors for a number of years. Why did you choose to make a larger commitment of your time and energy by becoming Board Chair? Reed: I think that the organization plays a significant impacting role. I have such respect for the staff and what they’re trying to accomplish. This is a critical time for the PPC because we need to make significant choices in the direction it will take in the future. I thought I could be useful. What is your favorite accomplishment of the PPC over the past 10 years? As Board Chair, what is your main goal for the future? Reed: What’s impressed me the most is that the

PPC Welcomes New Staff Member

PPC has been able to operate in the black every year. My main goal is to go through a strategic planning process that will define the next 5 to 10 years, and what role PPC Marlee S. Myers might assume, if any, beyond its partnership with the city.

Courtesy of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Courtesy of The Pittsburgh Foundation

How long have you lived and worked in Pittsburgh? Why do you think parks are so important to our city? Reed: I’ve lived and worked in the city for about 30 years. The parks are so Richard W. Reed, Jr. important because they make the city livable; they give access to nature and green space in an urban environment. We are blessed to have parks because they improve the quality of life for those who choose to live in the city as I do. Myers: I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my whole life and worked here for 29 years. The parks are a symbol of community spirit. Everyone comes together in the parks, making it a community asset.

Marlee, you were recently surprised with the presentation of the Marlee S. Myers Park Endowment Fund, established with support from your fellow partners at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, PPC Board members and friends. Also, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius sponsored a bench in Schenley Plaza in your honor. How have these special gifts impacted you? Myers: Words cannot express how moved I am. The achievements have been community achievements — no one person could have done these things alone — but I’m moved to have been recognized for my part in it. Richard, what will be the biggest challenge for you as Board Chair or for the Parks Conservancy as it moves past its ten-year anniversary? Reed: Developing some sort of sustainable operating revenue. The parks are free — they should be by virtue of what they are — so we need to come up with viable sources of operating revenue. That’s why community support is so important.

his spring, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy welcomed Melissa McMasters to the staff as Marketing Communications Coordinator. In her new role, Melissa is responsible for newsletter layout and design, press releases, media relations, website maintenance, and image gathering for the PPC. After receiving her undergraduate degree in English for Corporate Communications from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, Melissa attended Carnegie Mellon University,


earning her Masters in Literary and Cultural Studies. Melissa’s new position at the PPC combines her love and appreciation for flowers and horticulture with her skills in writing and media relations. She enjoys the many different exciting aspects of her new job, especially the graphic design work on the newsletter. “I’m excited to be working in such a creative organization that’s doing so much to enhance the quality of life in Pittsburgh. The natural beauty of the city is one of the main reasons I chose to remain in Pittsburgh after graduation, and I love being able to tell people about the great things going on in the parks. I often walk in Schenley Park, visit Phipps and get hot chocolate at the Visitor Center,” she said. In her free time, Melissa likes to read, listen to music and hang out with friends in a cooking club.

Mary Jane Bent

Jessica Todd

By Jessica Todd

PPC would like to honor the memory of Mrs. Emma O. Sharp, a longtime friend of PPC, who passed away in early September. Mrs. Sharp attended every Spring Hat Luncheon until this year. As a dedicated friend, Mrs. Sharp always looked beautiful at the Spring Hat Luncheons, which she often attended with her daughter Susan Dorrance (right) and granddaughters Abby and Molly Dorrance (left and center).

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

The Invasive Advisor

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Riverview Construction Underway

Invasive plants are choking out the biodiversity of our natural areas – even in our own backyards. These invasive, non-native plants are not part of our original habitat, but were introduced from other countries, often for gardens and landscaping. With few or no natural enemies, you can now see these plants taking over entire landscapes like roadsides, disturbed woodlands and our parks. Join the battle! Learn to recognize and control invasive species by reading this column and by picking up Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas at the Schenley Park Visitor Center ($4.00, published by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Common name: Oriental bittersweet Scientific name: Celastrus orbiculatus Origin: Eastern Asia, Korea, China, and Japan DESCRIPTION: Oriental bittersweet is a deciduous woody vine with finely toothed oval leaves. In fall, it has yellow-gold foliage and produces bright red berries with orange seed coverings. ECOLOGICAL THREAT: The vine entwines itself around other plants and structures, smothering or breaking smaller vegetation and contributing to the uprooting of heavy trees during severe weather. It propagates by seeds, which are easily spread by birds, and through root suckers and stems above ground. HABITAT: It grows in forest edges, fields, and disturbed woodlands. It prefers sun but tolerates shade well enough to infest forest areas.

Phil Gruszka

This Edition: Oriental Bittersweet

Ground broke on the restoration of the Riverview Park Chapel Shelter on August 1. In less than a year, the shelter will once again provide a fun gathering place for park users and residents of the North Side. Construction crews were able to salvage much of the original structure as part of the restoration, but the new shelter will have a

stronger foundation and added historic detail. Clean restrooms, a working kitchen, and a modernized heating and cooling system are some of the amenities that will characterize the completed shelter. In springtime the restored collections of lilacs and irises will come into bloom. Construction is expected to be completed shortly afterwards, by next summer.

SIZE: Stems can grow up to 4 inches in diameter, with vines climbing up to 60 feet high. LOOK-ALIKES: American bittersweet, which has long leaves and few clusters of large fruits; Oriental bittersweet has wide oval leaves and produces many clusters of smaller fruits. MANAGEMENT OPTIONS: Cut the vines near the ground and as high as possible into the tree canopy before the vines set fruit. If possible, pull the plant out by the roots, which are often shallow. If the plant has fruited, discard in plastic garbage bags and dispose in a landfill. SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE PLANTS: American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), passionflower vine, native wisteria Photos by Steven Manning, Invasive Plant Control Inc.

Regional Parks Bench and Lighting Design Guidelines Set he Regional Parks Master Plan, our guiding document for park renewal, has a new appendix that outlines guidelines and standards for park lighting and bench design. The newly-developed principles will unify design elements, establishing a common identity and image throughout the urban park system. “The Department of Public Works parks crews actively reference the Regional Parks Master Plan in our work in all the City parks. It helps us determine our work plans and provides The new Pittsburgh park benches will be installed as part of regular maintenance projects in the parks. us with the necessary guidelines as we restore and replace many features in the park drives, roadways, and streets will be set on parks such as lighting and benches,” says Mike high poles with a decorative base, an arm, and a Gable, Deputy Director of the City of drop luminary. Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works. Phil Gruszka, Director of Park Management & The first step in developing the guidelines was Maintenance Policies for the Pittsburgh Parks to understand the history and evolution of the Conservancy, is pleased with the newly develparks’ landscape design, character, and details. oped standards. “The Highland Park Entry Balancing this knowledge with modern needs Gardens and Fountain was the first project to and innovations, the amendment outlines two implement these lighting standards. The large new lighting standards – pedestrian mid-height fixtures are marvelous additions that showcase lighting and park drive tall-height lighting. the gardens and increase safety, especially at Pedestrian lighting, recommended for dawn and dusk,” he said. pedestrian paths, plazas, terraces, and gathering Equipped with partial or full cutoff optics, spaces, is set on a low pole post with a historic these lights are engineered to control light acorn-shaped fixture, similar to those being pollution and greatly reduce glare, while used as the downtown standard. Lighting for improving visibility. The guidelines also


recommend the use of halide light sources, similar to halogen, for their efficiency, high color rendering ability, and long life. Once implemented, these improvements will make the parks more inviting and improve safety for users. PPC has also updated the Schenley Park Visitor Center and Schenley Plaza with partial cutoff lighting. “These practices improve Pittsburghers’ enjoyment of the parks by brightening the ground level, increasing visibility of stars in the night sky,” said Mr. Gruszka. The new standard for wood-slated park benches pays tribute to Pittsburgh parks’ long tradition of wooden park benches. To develop the new, updated version, experts studied Pittsburgh Department of Public Works’ bench drawings from 1965. The new standard specifies a black painted steel frame and varnished oak slates attached with steel bolts and rivets. The bench standard also offers the option of a donor plaque of cast bronze to recognize park supporters. PPC and the City plan to implement these new standards as regular repair and maintenance are made throughout the parks. Allegheny Commons in North Park also plans to adopt these standards. Donors can make contributions to support these initiatives by contacting PPC at (412) 682-7275. Photo courtesy of Architectural Iron Company

By Jessica Todd

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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

With PPC’s Revamped Websites, Parks Are Just a Click Away By Melissa McMasters

his summer, visitors to PPC’s website,, were greeted by a brand-new design, improved navigation and other new features. The redesigned PPC website, featuring maps and extensive information about the parks, material about volunteer and educational programs, and online donations and ticket sales, provides users a convenient place to learn about both the parks and PPC. It also features a link to the all-new, which contains everything users need to know about Schenley Plaza, including the history of the site and continuously updated programming schedules. With a generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the websites were designed by Mind Over Media and built by Savvior Technology Solutions. “Our desire was to create destination sites of unmatched visual expression as a means of creating a showcase platform for the mission and vision of the PPC,” said Chere Tiller, Mind Over Media Information Architect. “At the same time, we wanted to ensure that the sites were easy to navigate, that each enticed visitors to actively utilize these invaluable urban escapes from day to day life, and ultimately to generate excitement about the cultural and ecological significance of the restoration projects underway. We also sought to create a visual experience that balanced the richness of the past, the vibrant opportunities of the present and the potential success of the future of Pittsburgh’s four great parks.” A crucial aspect of the new sites is their opportunity for users to interact directly with the PPC. On the Pittsburgh Parks website, users can visit a “Park Watch” section for each park and submit photos or comments about their park experiences. The Urban EcoStewards section of the site allows visitors to explore what it means to be involved in the program, while current EcoStewards can log in to record their hours and details of their projects. Website users can also now make reservations online for the Madcap Masquerade and the Spring Hat Luncheon, as well as subscribe to online-only news updates. The new websites also allow PPC to accept online membership donations. Users of each site simply click on the “Donate” button and are taken to a secure form, where they can specify the membership level they want. This system will cut down on printing and postage expenses and give donors the satisfaction that their contribution is immediately going to work for the parks. In addition, the Schenley Plaza website offers users the chance to purchase a commemorative brick securely online or download an application form to host a private event at the Plaza. With so much to see and new information always being added, you’ll want to bookmark the parks!


PPC Recognized for Outstanding Environmental Achievements By Melissa McMasters

PC has recently been honored with three awards for its environmental stewardship. The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh all honored PPC in 2006. The 2006 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award’s Community category honored PPC for its devotion to community needs and interests in areas such as innovative design, volunteerism, and the protection or enhancement of the environment. PPC was recognized for its partnership with the City of Pittsburgh in developing and implementing the Regional Parks Master Plan. As a result of winning this award, PPC received a $1,000 prize to further devote to its work with the city’s parks. One of the most important projects of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is observing Arbor Day with a community-based volunteer initiative. This year, PPC was given the ISA’s highest honor of “Most Outstanding Arbor Day Activity” for partnering with youth from the Pennsylvania Community Intensive Supervision Program to plant elm trees along Schenley Drive in Schenley Park, a project maintained with the efforts of City of Pittsburgh crews. For the third time, PPC received an award from the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh, which honors building owners, funding sources, architects, and contractors involved in outstanding building restoration projects. This year, PPC was recognized for its work with the City of Pittsburgh to revitalize the Highland Park Entry Garden and fountain according to its historical design. Previously, PPC had received this honor in 2002 for its work with City crews to restore the Schenley Park Visitor Center and in 2004 for work on the Highland Park Babbling Brook.




Thursday, October 19 • 9:30 am – 7:00 pm Friday, October 20 • 9:30 am – 4:00 pm $5 donation at the door Fox Chapel Golf Club, 426 Fox Chapel Road Lunch available For information, please call 412-741-7520

Funds from Pizzazz support the Garden Club’s community projects including the Pittsburgh Parks.

WALKS IN THE WOODS Wednesday walks continue through October from 6:30 to 8 p.m. October October October October

4: Schenley Park Visitor Center 11: Riverview Park Main Entrance 18: Highland Park Entry Garden 25: Frick Environmental Center

Winter Walks begin soon and continue through April. First Saturdays, 10:30 to noon. November 4: Schenley Park December 2: Riverview Park January 6: Highland Park February 3: Frick Park March 3: Schenley Park April 7: Riverview Park

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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

New Soccer Field and Track Under Construction at Schenley Oval By Jessica Todd

ittsburghers will soon have a new public soccer field in Schenley Park. The City of Pittsburgh’s Citiparks, with investment from city high schools and Dynamo soccer club, have begun construction on a $1.2 million synthetic surface, regulation-size soccer field and surrounding track near Schenley Oval, which are expected to be completed in mid-October. The project began as a renovation of the track that would have destroyed the field, taking away one of only a few rectangular fields in Pittsburgh’s East End. Since the field would need to be replaced, Dynamo, a volunteer organization that helps children ages 5-19 develop soccer skills, suggested installing a synthetic turf field to accommodate soccer, lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee games. Dynamo obtained funds from local foundations and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to renovate the field. “The City and Dynamo seized an opportunity to greatly improve the recreational environment at the Oval,” says Adele Hlasnik, Dynamo president. The old field at the Oval was in deplorable condition due to excessive use and inclement weather and did not serve the needs of its primary users, local high schools and soccer clubs. The new field will be regulation-size – between 100 and 130 yards long and 50 to 100 yards wide – with a synthetic grass mat and crumb rubber surface. Synthetic field surfaces have been in widespread use in the United States since 1997 and are created to simulate the appearance and playability of natural grass utilizing a synthetic fiber grass blade. The fabric fibers are spread with crumb rubber, coarse sand-sized rubber pellets used as infill to enhance the performance and durability of the surface. With regular maintenance, the field’s synthetic surface will last 10 to 15 years. Some necessary maintenance will include watering for a clean, uniform appearance, sanitizing, repairing seams, removing snow, and sweeping and dragging to smooth out undulations, re-incorporate finer particles, and stand up turf fibers. Players do not have to take any special precautions while using the synthetic field, but the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is currently researching injuries on synthetic fields due to field hardness and epidemiological Improvements being made at the Schenley Oval field will create a issues such as heat exhaustion, presence of heavy metals, carcinogens, and regulation-size soccer field from synthetic materials. infectious fungi. The field can be played on during park hours (6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), seven days a week, by permit only. The general public will be able to obtain permits for the field through the Department of Public Works. For more information on the new field and track, contact DPW at 412-255-2370.

Jessica Todd

Jessica Todd


Schenley Park Café at the Schenley Park Visitor Center Café • Gifts • Free Wireless Internet • Event Rental Call for winter hours 101 Panther Hollow Road 412-687-1800 Convenient parking at half-hour and hourly meters Sundays in the Park, featuring live music and guided park walks, continue through October 15 (12:30 - 3:30 pm)

Phil Gruszka

Join Us!

A girl walks beside a pool at the newly restored Nine Mile Run stream bordering Frick Park. The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association aims to turn the area into a vibrant ecosystem while educating park users to be stewards of the land.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Staff Meg Cheever President and CEO

Mary Beth Steisslinger Restoration Coordinator

Debbie Beck Chief Financial Officer

Amy Ripley Grants Writer

Philip J. Gruszka Director of Park Management and Maintenance Policies

Beth Bodamer Administrative Assistant

Roy E. Lenhardt Development Director Jessica Todd Development Coordinator Melissa McMasters Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Joyce Collier Membership Assistant Gudrun Wells Volunteer Education Coordinator

If you love our parks, become a member. Yes! Sign me up as a contributor to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. I look forward to receiving your newsletter and adding my voice to the chorus of Pittsburghers championing their parks!

Check One: o Benefactor Society $500

o Business Membership $5,000 o Mary Schenley Circle $250 o Business Membership $2,500 o Park Steward $100 o Business Membership $1,000 o Park Friend $25 o Business Membership $500

Name: Address:

Erin Copeland Field Coordinator


Jake Milofsky Field Coordinator

Make Check Payable to: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy 2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy 2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412-682-PARK (7275)


The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation. We will provide a disclosure statement and substantiation of donation form for your donation. A copy of the official registration and financial information for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy may be obtained from the PA Department of State by calling toll free, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Page 8

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Newsletter

Non-Profit Org. U S POSTAGE


Make a Planned Gift to the Parks With a planned gift to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, you can combine your desire to give to charity with your overall financial, tax, and estate planning goals. Your planned gift gives you a special connection with the parks and the knowledge that you will be touching the lives of future generations. Call PPC at (412) 682-7275 for more information. Kids enjoying the view of the reservoir in Highland Park.

Work Crews Remove Invasives, Plan Pittsburgh Green Forum in Highland Park

A Student Conservation Association work crew removes a tall Norway maple from a hillside in Highland Park.

his August, Student Conservation Association (SCA) crews worked in Highland Park to remove invasive species and help plan November’s Pittsburgh Green Forum. The invasive plants crew worked primarily to remove pockets of Japanese knotweed that are scattered throughout the park and planted an aggressive native mix of grass, Staghorn Sumac, and Pokeberry seeds to reclaim the territory. They also focused on cutting down invasive Norway maple and using the saplings to stabilize the hillside. “The SCA provides high school students with an opportunity to get out into their local parks and learn about nature and ecology,” said crew leader John Haviland. “They are acquiring training in environmental and landscape work


that could help them in future careers, especially given initiatives like the Green Forum that are working to create a continuous green belt in the city.” The invasive crew joined two regular-season SCA crews, who completed a trail connection between the Babbling Brook and the Mt. Bigelow trail. This trail will make it safer for bikers and pedestrians moving through the park by stabilizing the trail and slowing erosion and water runoff. Additional work focused on the new seasonal pools beside the bike track along Washington Blvd., which are creating a bio-diverse habitat for native flora and fauna. Some animal species that have been sighted in the area include blue herons, turkeys, red-tailed hawks, coyotes, crayfish, and slimy salamanders. Plants, including blue flag iris, giant ironweed, and bristlebract sedge, have also been seeded at the pools. Another SCA work crew used office space in the farmhouse through a collaborative agreement with Citiparks and the Highland Park Community Development Corporation. Their goal was to help develop a primer for the Pittsburgh Green Forum, a collaboration between multiple environmental and community organizations geared toward making Pittsburgh one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the U.S. by 2010. The forum, funded by the Sprout Fund and hosted by the Urban Ecology Collaborative, seeks to secure commitment from government, business, educational, and community groups to undertake greening projects that will enhance the local landscape.

Of particular interest is the use of vacant land for environmentally sound projects. The work crew in Highland Park developed a document outlining past vacant land projects and what has and has not worked. Vacant land can be transformed from an eyesore into a rich area of urban vegetation, which can lead to pollution control, climate improvement, hospitable habitats for plants and animals, and educational and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. A key outcome of the Green Forum will be the development of a Strategic Plan for the Revitalization of Vacant Land that will be presented to the mayor by December.

Melissa McMasters

Melissa McMasters

By Melissa McMasters

One of Highland Park’s new seasonal pools.

Fall 2006 - The Voice  

Fall 2006 issue of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy newsletter, The Voice.

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