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Winter 2011

David Schmit, Forest Health Specialist for Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and David Jahn, City Forester, examine tree damage from the emerald ash borer in Schenley Park.

Park trees under siege; plan being developed In the next decade, Pittsburgh is expected to lose a significant number of native trees from a combination of threats – disease, insects, invasive species and the effects of deer overpopulation. A plan is underway to minimize the losses and speed recovery. The plan is the product of a work session conducted in November when experts from Michigan, West Virginia, New York, and several members of PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources visited Pittsburgh to review the situation. The day-long tour and discussion confirmed that, without intervention, our parks stand to lose 60% or more of the native tree population in the next 10 years from current threats like the emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) and oak wilt, and future threats such as the Asian long-horned beetle. The plan is intended to guide and coordinate the efforts of the City, Parks Conservancy, volunteers and other community groups as we all work together to address tree loss and replacement not just in the parks, but throughout the entire city. The plan will increase forest restoration and create species refuges in the parks, while managing the decline of trees that cannot be saved. A public presentation of the plan will take place February 17. One of the first steps is to identify and catalog threatened specimen trees that are

genetically important or have historic or landscape significance. Crucial specimen oak and ash trees currently under attack will be selected and provided with costly annual treatment as a preventative measure. We are currently exploring different treatment options for park trees, including trunk injections of insecticides, chemical sprays and soil drenches, to determine what is most appropriate for each specimen tree location. Treatment is quite expensive, approaching $200 per tree per year. Volunteer and community groups will be mobilized this winter to identify signs of EAB in the parks. Oak wilt outbreaks can be better identified in June, when leaf die-back is an obvious sign before the dry summer months. The City will continue to remove trees that are deemed hazardous to park visitors. Plantings will begin in fall 2011 as sites and specimens are identified and as funding permits. The plan also includes collection of seeds for storage with the U.S. Forest Service for eventual repopulation.

preserving pittsburgh’s

trees action and recovery a joint effort of:

The City of Pittsburgh Allegheny Commons Initiative Mount Washington CDC Nine Mile Run Watershed Association Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium Tree Pittsburgh

Join us on Thursday, February 17th in auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building on the University of Pittsburgh Campus for a description of the threats to our trees, and to learn details of a recovery plan. Several experts will be featured, along with representatives from the City of Pittsburgh and Parks Conservancy. The free presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. SPACE IS LIMITED and registration is required by visiting or by contacting Kendall Ayers at 412.682.7275 x 227.

If you would like to support our efforts to save park trees, please visit and select “Emergency Tree Fund” or call Lisa Conti at 412-682-7275 x217.

Parks Conservancy to screen Olmsted Legacy film page 2

Schenley Plaza restaurant breaks ground page 3

John Altdorfer

in this issue Volunteers contribute over 4,000 hours to parks page 5

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Message from the President In November 2010, we recruited experts from West Virginia, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania to begin the formulation of a tree action plan. With the help of these experts, we and our City and non-profit partners are close to completing a plan that will guide our actions over the next several years. The plan concludes that, while we can save some significant and diverse trees, our best approach is to replant many trees now. We’re committed to working with you to preserve Pittsburgh’s urban forests against the impending threats of the emerald ash borer, oak wilt, invasive species, and deer overpopulation. As we look forward to the next 15 years, we’re focused on continuing to improve our urban parkland for the people of Pittsburgh. Thank you for your dedicated support.

John Altdorfer

Dear Friends of Pittsburgh Parks, The Parks Conservancy is pleased to be celebrating its 15th year of operation. Your support over the last 15 years in helping us raise nearly $50 million for park improvements allowed us to complete eleven capital projects and ecologically restore acres of parkland with our partner, the City of Pittsburgh, and the help of many community volunteers. And we’re looking forward to two major new opportunities to make a positive difference in Pittsburgh’s parks through rebuilding an Environmental Center in Frick Park and restoring Mellon Square downtown. But while we can rejoice at some past success, all of us should be worried about the impending loss of a significant number of native trees. The threats are real and the potential decline in our tree population is sobering. The ecological impacts extend beyond the aesthetics of our parks. Trees clean our air and water, shade our homes and streets, and reduce air temperatures, especially in urban settings. Not only will the city look different after massive tree loss, it will feel different.

Volunteers are key to ecological restoration in the parks. Learn more about the Parks Conservancy’s 2010 volunteer contributions on page 5.

Attend a free screening of Olmsted Legacy Film Staff Meg Cheever, President and CEO Richard Reed, Executive Vice President and COO Debbie Beck, Chief Financial Officer Philip J. Gruszka, Director of Parks Management & Maintenance Marijke Hecht, Director of Education Susan M. Rademacher, Parks Curator Michael Sexauer, Director of Marketing & Membership Development Laurie Anderson, Grants Manager Kendall Ayers, Development Associate Kim Barner, Finance Assistant Beth Bodamer, Executive Assistant Joyce Collier, Development Assistant Lisa Conti, Development Officer - Annual Fund, Administrator - Development Systems Laura Cook, Marketing Communications Coordinator Erin Copeland, Restoration Ecologist Bryan Dolney, Field Ecologist William Ferguson, Development Officer - Corporate and Government Relations Jim Griffin, Schenley Plaza Manager Angela Masters, Gardener Melissa McMasters, Online and Community Advocacy Manager

Board of Directors Alan Ackerman • Dan Booker • Brian Bronaugh Linda Burke • Meg Cheever • G. Reynolds Clark John Diederich • Curt Ellenberg • Helen Faison Jeremy Feinstein • Audrey Hillman Fisher • Elise Frick Vaughn Gilbert • Ethel Hansen • Harry Henninger Dan Holthaus • Becky Keevican • Robbee Kosak Nancy Levine-Arnold • John P. Levis, III • Debra Meyer Scarlet Morgan • Gary Mulholland • Brian Mullins Marlee S. Myers • Mildred Myers • Susan Nernberg Eliza Nevin • Illah Nourbakhsh • Robert Petrilli James Rogal • Ritchie Scaife • Tom Schmidt Dianne Swan • Jerry Voros • Christy Wiegand • Michael Zanic Government Representatives: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City of Pittsburgh Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Allegheny County State Representative Dan Frankel Noor Ismail, Director of City Planning, City of Pittsburgh Rob Kaczorowski, Director of Public Works, City of Pittsburgh Mike Radley, Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Pittsburgh

On Thursday, March 10, the Parks Conservancy will show the documentary film, The Olmsted Legacy, which examines the formation of America’s first great city parks in the late 19th century through the eyes of Frederick Law Olmsted, visionary urban planner and landscape architect. The one hour film by Rebecca Messner features the voices of Kevin Kline and Kerry Washington. The film will be presented in conjunction with the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The film screening will be held at 6 p.m. followed immediately by a panel discussion. Light refreshments will be served at 7:45. All activity takes place at the Carnegie Museum of Art theater. The event is free, but space is limited and reservations are required. To reserve a seat, please visit Throughout his working life, Olmsted and his firm carried out hundreds of commissions, nearly 100 of which were public parks. The film explains how these 19th century parks were the first real urban parks in America and explores what makes them so distinctive: the broad, pastoral meadows, the use of water, and the underlying engineering that helps a manmade setting look completely natural. It describes how, as a New York City parks superintendent, Olmsted fell into his first design project with Calvert Vaux: Central Park. When Olmsted first visited Pittsburgh in 1863, the city reminded him of Birmingham, England, which he had seen a decade earlier at the height of the Industrial Revolution. By the turn of the century when his stepson and nephew John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920) and son Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957) began to work in Pittsburgh, the industrial activity was producing great wealth and corresponding ambitions to build a more beautiful and accessible city.

The Parks Conservancy will show The Olmsted Legacy about Frederick Law Olmsted, pictured above, on March 10 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit

Perhaps the greatest impact the firm had on Pittsburgh, however, was the plan that Olmsted Jr. produced in 1911 for the Pittsburgh Civic Commission: Pittsburgh Main Thoroughfares and the Down Town District; Improvements Necessary to Meet the City’s Present and Future Needs. It looked at the road system throughout the region and recommended a network of parks and parkways, starting with the Boulevard of the Allies, designed in 1910 and built 1922-1927. Other recommendations that were eventually carried out included the acquisition of the Frick Park extension along Nine Mile Run, the South Hills Bridge and Tunnel complex, the widening of Forbes, Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the elimination of the so-called “hump” at the east end of downtown, and the creation of Schenley Plaza as a formal entry to the park system. The Speedwell Foundation is making the screening possible.

Winter 2011

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Schenley Plaza restaurant construction begins The Parks Conservancy is partnering with the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group to open a full service restaurant in Schenley Plaza. “This important amenity is another enhancement to the visitor experience and is an important piece of the Plaza plan. We’re pleased that we have secured a partnership with a local company that is committed to excellent food service and is a great supporter of our region’s nonprofits,” says Richard Reed, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Parks Conservancy. Plans for the restaurant call for it to be integrated into Schenley Plaza as envisioned in the Plaza’s master plan. In addition to a dining room

and carry out window, the restaurant will offer outdoor dining opportunities that take advantage of the park setting. The restaurant will be open year-round and serve contemporary American cuisine. Breakfast and lunch will provide quick, freshly made food while dinner will offer table and bar service. “We’re very excited to join the Oakland community and to be part of this exciting project,” says Mark Broadhurst, Director of Concept Development for the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. The one-story restaurant will occupy on the northwestern corner of the Plaza across from the Hillman Library and incorporate the latest in green technology. Ground is expected to be broken this winter on the new restaurant at Schenley Plaza. The restaurant is scheduled to open in summer 2011.

The 2011 Spring Hat Luncheon will be held on May 7 near the Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park. For information, please contact Kendall at 412.682.7275 x227 or

PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon returns to Riverview Park in 2011 quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh. Event co-chair Susie Dorrance said, “Before the creation of the Parks Conservancy, our city parks languished from lack of attention and inadequate funding for much needed restoration. Because of the Conservancy’s efforts and results, our park system is now widely acknowledged as a tremendous asset in enhancing our city.” The 2011 Luncheon will showcase the nearby Chapel Shelter, which the Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh restored in 2008.

Event co-chair Jessica O’Brien added, “The City of Pittsburgh is so fortunate to have a group focused specifically on their parks. The Parks Conservancy has a very deep understanding of each park, their features and their needs. The Conservancy has the ability to raise awareness and monies to support very specific needs within each park.”

The 2011 Spring Hat Luncheon co-chairs: Christine LeClere Hilliard, Gabriela Porges, Jessica O’Brien, Susie Dorrance, and Peggy McKnight.

Stan Franzos

Since 1999, the first weekend in May has been synonymous with the PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon. Each year, the Hat Luncheon rotates among Pittsburgh’s four RAD-funded regional parks. This year, the event will be held in Riverview Park on May 7, 2011. The PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon is a fantastic opportunity for attendees to visit parks that they may not see on a regular basis. “All of our parks are not just beautiful, but they have their own unique qualities that only the ‘regulars’ get to see on a daily basis. By highlighting a different park every year, we all get to discover a new pathway, bike trail, special garden, or fountain that we hadn’t seen before,” said Gabriela Porges, event co-chair. Support from the luncheon benefits the Parks Conservancy’s mission to improve the

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The Environmental Center burned in 2002. Today, the building is vacant and unused.

Plans advance for Environmental Center at Frick Park Since the Environmental Center’s main building burned in 2002, its dedicated staff has continued year-round programming from offices in a trailer in the parking lot and in the entrance gatehouse off Beechwood Boulevard. The staff and entire community are looking forward to the day when a new building will provide opportunities for educational activities that link urban Pittsburghers to the natural world. Now, the design process for a new building has begun. The design firm will be selected in spring 2011.

A joint project of the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh, the new center will support expanded urban environmental education programming for camp and school groups. It will also be a hub for volunteer activities and community outreach programs, such as the Urban EcoSteward program. The Environmental Center will feature indoor and outdoor classrooms, using learning landscapes that appeal to people from diverse age groups and neighborhoods. The Center’s theme will be Education through Restoration,

highlighting active programming that actually helps to restore the park. The entry gatehouses on the western side of the park will be restored as part of this project. (The gatehouse at Reynolds Street on the northern side of the park was restored in 2000.) To learn more about the Environmental Center at Frick Park, please visit

Kate and Peter’s Treehouse ages 6 and 4, who were killed in a tragic car accident. The project idea belongs to the children’s mother, Amy. Design and construction for the project are expected to continue through 2012. If you would like to support this project, please visit pittsburghparks. org/donate.

Amy Ambrusko

As part of the Environmental Center’s learning landscape, the Parks Conservancy will create 13 outdoor learning spaces throughout Frick Park. The first of these spaces will provide a setting for observing and exploring in an outdoor classroom created in the spirit of two beloved children. Based on community input received through a series of public meetings, the Parks Conservancy is proposing a site on park land near the new environmental center. Currently in the planning and design stages, the project honors Katherine and Peter Ambrusko,

The treehouse will honor Kate and Peter Ambrusko (pictured above) who were killed in a tragic car accident.

John Altdorfer

Get Smart

Crew leaders guide Parks Conservancy volunteers in efforts to restore our parks.

Education through restoration is a key initiative of the Parks Conservancy’s volunteer efforts. Because the Parks Conservancy has a relatively small staff, we rely heavily on volunteers to accomplish our work in the parks. In Fall 2010, REI generously awarded a grant to the Parks Conservancy to develop a Volunteer Crew Leader program that will involve more volunteers in park ecological restoration. Crew leaders supervise groups by sharing proper

restoration techniques and ensuring volunteer safety. Additional volunteer crew leaders will provide even more people with safe and meaningful experiences while restoring Pittsburgh’s parks. On February 13, the Parks Conservancy is offering a training session at the South Side REI store on techniques needed to be an effective volunteer and crew leader. To sign up visit, crewleader.

Winter 2011

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Watersheds are key to overall park health A watershed is an area of land where water follows a common course and drains into a particular body of water. For example, the Panther Hollow watershed encompasses parts of Oakland and Squirrel Hill as well as Schenley Park. Rain falling in this watershed follows a path into the Four Mile Run stream and ultimately drains to the Monongahela River. Each of the city parks sits in one or more watersheds. For example, Riverview Park is in the Woods Run watershed, and Highland Park is in both Heth’s Run and Negley Run. The Nine Mile Run watershed, which was improved as part of a 2006 stream restoration, contains all of Frick Park. Healthy watersheds support a healthy park system, and healthy parks in turn improve watersheds. In Pittsburgh, there are serious threats to our local watersheds because of old infrastructure, non-pointsource pollution (such as trash and road salt), and large amounts of stormwater running down steep shale slopes during wet weather. The open water in our parks provides valuable amenities to Pittsburghers, but degraded water quality in places like Panther Hollow Lake in Schenley Park make swimming and boating inadvisable.

The Parks Conservancy is currently fundraising to improve the Panther Hollow watershed and eventually restore the lake. Recently, the Richard King Mellon Foundation provided a grant to the Parks Conservancy to develop a comprehensive watershed restoration plan. These improvements are part of the Parks Conservancy’s continuing efforts to work with the City of Pittsburgh to provide a healthy park system. With the help of volunteer crews, the Parks Conservancy field staff has been working in Panther Hollow for ten years to decrease stormwater runoff and improve filtration in the ground with techniques like jute netting and cross-sloping to combat erosion. Even with these enhancements, the health of a watershed depends on factors outside the park system. Restoring and maintaining a clean watershed requires a neighborhood-wide effort, and residents and park users have a role to play. Cleaning up pet waste, keeping trash out of the sewer system, and installing home rain gardens and rain barrels are all helpful steps toward a healthier watershed. Community members can participate in volunteer days and learn more at our Healthy Watershed Workshop. (See box at right.)

The historic Panther Hollow Watershed is 780 acres, encompassing parts of Schenley Park and the adjacent neighborhoods of Oakland and Squirrel Hill.

Help the watershed Panther Hollow Healthy Watershed Workshop Saturday, March 5th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information and registration for the workshop, visit The second annual Panther Hollow Volunteer Extravaganza Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register at

• Planted over 500 trees and shrubs in the woodlands. • Planted more than 50 plants in Cliffside Park. • Removed nearly 400 bags of garlic mustard. • Collected 126 bags of trash. • Removed 59 tires. • Repaired and painted 130 feet of fencing at Cliffside Park.

Thank you to our 2010 volunteer groups! Allegheny Cleanways


Pittsburgh Cares

AmeriCorps Literacy

Frick Environmental Center

Pittsburgh Trail Advocacy Group

Bayer Center at Robert Morris University

Tree Pittsburgh

Point Park University

Hip Mamas

Propel Schools

BNY Mellon

Jewish Community Center

Rodef Shalom Congregation

Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation

Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy

Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

Temple Sinai


Calvary Episcopal Church Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Museum of Natural History City High Charter School City of Pittsburgh Duquesne University Ellis School

Oakland Planning and Development Corporation Pennsylvania Resources Council

Student Conservation Association Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance University of Pittsburgh Westinghouse

Volunteers remove trash from Schenley Park’s Panther Hollow.

Keep Parks Forever Beautiful Make a Bequest

You can give to the Parks Conservancy during your lifetime or under the terms of your will. To learn more about how you can support the Parks Conservancy through planned giving, please call (412) 682-7275 x228. We urge you to consult with your legal and financial advisors to assist you in arranging the best method of contributing. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. Contributions to the Parks Conservancy are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information for the Parks Conservancy may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

John Altdorfer

Over 900 volunteers contributed over 4,000 hours to Pittsburgh’s city parks in 2010. From large-scale volunteer events like the Panther Hollow Volunteer Extravaganza in April to the dedicated individual efforts of our Urban EcoStewards, volunteers are improving our parks’ ecological health. This year volunteers helped accomplish the following:

John Altdorfer

Volunteers contribute over 4,000 hours to parks in 2010

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the VOICE Invasive Advisor

Phil Gruszka, Director of Parks Management and Maintenance, talks about trees and managing the park environment. If you have questions for Phil, please email with “Phil” in the subject. We will do our best to address them. In 2010, the City of Pittsburgh completed the Natural Areas Study plan that is a living and evolving plan for ecological restoration of urban park woodlands and management of the City’s four RAD-funded regional parks. Why do our parks need a Natural Areas Study and resulting Management Plan? The Natural Areas Study provides research and analysis to back up our restoration and preservation work. Park geology, soils, hydrology, vegetation, and fauna were all analyzed within the plan, giving us a comprehensive snapshot of the condition of the urban woodlands. Is the Natural Areas Study and Management Plan changing the way the Parks Conservancy and the City maintain and restore the parks? Yes. The Natural Areas Study and resulting Management Plan made the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh embrace the idea of adaptive management of park space. With new issues to deal with, like oak wilt and emerald ash borer, we understand that each park space will be dealt with on an individual basis. Multiple factors impact our parks, such as how park visitors use the space, non-native invasive species, deer overpopulation, disease, and insects. This adaptive management practice will be put to the test over the next several years as we deal with tree disease in areas that are overrun with the Norway maple, a highly invasive tree species. For example, the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh have typically removed Norway maples whenever possible to encourage tree diversity, but when we lose acres of oak, Norway maples become more desirable.

Invasive plants can choke out the biodiversity of our natural areas – even in our own back yards. Many invasive plants are non-native, meaning they were not part of our original habitat, but were introduced from other countries, often for gardening and landscaping. With few or no natural enemies, some of these plants can now be seen taking over entire landscapes. Learn to recognize and control invasive species with Invasive Plants of Pittsburgh, a guide found on our website. Please avoid planting these aggressors in your own garden.

Oriental Bittersweet 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.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,


Ecological Threat: The vine entwines itself around other plants, smothering or breaking smaller vegetation and contributing to the uprooting of heavy trees during severe weather. Its seeds are easily spread by birds, and through root suckers and stems above ground. 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. Alternatives: Allegheny Pachysandra, wintergreen, or bunchberry

Regional Parks Master Plan being updated

John Altdorfer

In the decade since the City of Pittsburgh and the Parks Conservancy jointly completed the Regional Parks Master Plan, nearly $50 million has been raised for improvements and park usage has increased by 20%. The

foundation for this remarkable progress is the Regional Parks Master Plan. Now, again at the invitation of the City, the Parks Conservancy has re-engaged many of the original professional team

members to update the Master Plan. Led by LaQuatra Bonci Associates, the team includes Heritage Landscapes, Strada, Perkins Eastman, and Biohabitats. It will take into account physical changes, lessons learned, and new ways of thinking in the four RADfunded regional parks. It will also explore how these ideas can be employed in other city parks. The updated plan will be incorporated into the City’s forthcoming Comprehensive Plan for Open Space, Parks and Brenda Smith, Executive Director of Nine Mile Run Watershed (center), talks with Frick Park users. Recreation (see As part of the Master Plan update, community meetings were held in Fall 2010 in neighborhoods near each of the four RAD-funded regional parks.

The effort began in mid-2010 with a series of park walks and workshops. At a November charrette, the project team defined the framework and identified key initiatives. One key approach is to study the parks as overlapping systems of blueways (water), greenways (land cover), and greyways (circulation and infrastructure). The team is also focusing on how to improve connectivity among and within the parks, especially for bicyclists and pedestrians. Another work session is scheduled for February, after which draft plans will be presented for review and comment. Scheduled to be completed in June, the update will provide concept designs for key projects, recommendations for initiatives and programs, and guidance for day-to-day actions by volunteers and maintenance staff.

Winter 2011

February 17

Tree Crisis Symposium 6:30 p.m., Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

March 5

Healthy Watershed Workshop Schenley Park Café & Visitor Center

March 10

March 13

Olmsted Legacy Film Screening 6:30 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art theater Public Volunteer Day Panther Hollow, Schenley Park

March 17

Dudley Edmondson Lecture Details to follow on

April 16

Panther Hollow Volunteer Extravaganza 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Panther Hollow Watershed and Schenley Park

May 7

PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon 11:15 a.m., Riverview Park For more information, visit or

City Spotlight: Councilman Daniel Lavelle Representing the City of Pittsburgh’s District 6, Councilman Daniel Lavelle is a native Pittsburgher who chairs the Council’s Committee on Urban Recreation. He is a dedicated partner to the publicprivate partnership between the Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh and is a champion of projects like Mellon Square and the Hill District’s Greenprint. He lives in the Hill District with his wife Rachel. Why are parks important to cities, especially Pittsburgh? Parks are part of Pittsburgh’s DNA, and they’re a tremendous outlet that other cities don’t have. They add vibrancy to the City, and in the words of the Greenprint, they provide a “Village in the Woods.” Parks are absolutely critical to Pittsburgh’s quality of life.

Laura Cook

Public Events Calendar

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Councilman Daniel Lavelle represents the City of Pittsburgh’s Sixth District.

What is the role of the Parks Conservancy in your district? The Parks Conservancy plays a vital role in maintaining our park assets. As advocates for these great resources, they provide leadership in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh. Their knowledge and specialty provides us guidance in how to move forward.

John Altdorfer

How have you witnessed the parks improvements in Pittsburgh? Prior to joining City Council, I took the parks for granted and assumed that they just ran themselves. Now I realize that the Parks Conservancy assists the City to provide a better managed system of parks. The willingness to take on other tasks and step up to expand their role is crucial, critical, and important.


What’s your favorite Parks Conservancy project? I’m excited about bringing Mellon Square back to life because it would never happen without the Parks Conservancy. Mellon Square will provide much needed beauty within the concrete jungle.

LOOKing FOr A greAt esCApe?

h is r Irtou


How do the parks play into improving public health? Parks make a world of difference. I represent an African American community where there is high incidence of diabetes and other illnesses. Parks provide a mental and physical outlet where the concrete just fades away.

Join the Parks Conservancy and tour Ireland’s famous urban parks and gardens June 4 - June 12.

Visit the Parks Conservancy’s online store and a portion of your purchase will benefit the parks.

The eight-day tour includes the eastern and western coasts of Ireland, highlighting key locations like Phoenix Park in Dublin, one of the largest urban parks in the world at just under 1,800 acres. For more information, visit or contact Bill Ferguson at 412.682.7275 x209.

iphone and ipad cases • stamps • greeting cards • calendars • photo prints • bumper stickers • t-shirts • doggie tees • hoodies • hats • mugs

Courtesy of Istock

Frick Park Map iPad Case

Love is in


Instead of cut flowers or candy, give your sweetheart something that will last much longer. For $50 (about the cost of a dozen roses), you can fund the planting of 25 daffodils or one small native tree sapling. TO DONATE, VISIT PITTSBURGHPARKS.ORG/ VALENTINES OR CALL

412.682.7275 X211.

Mellon Square restoration scheduled to begin this summer, adding exciting new feature

Mellon Square’s new terrace will relate to aspects of the park’s historic design while introducing features, such as lawn insets, a “green roof” canopy, and a new vantage point for the newly restored cascade fountain.

Conservancy’s philosophy of preserving historic design while working to serve the needs of modern users. The Mellon Square terrace is rooted in John Simonds’ and Dahlen Ritchey’s design vision, and the project team uncovered many drawings showing an open-air area filled with people in the space over the shops. The

terrace will introduce new features, such as lawn insets, a “green roof ” canopy, and a new vantage point for the newly restored cascade fountain. Fundraising and restoration are now underway and expected to continue into 2012. Once the restoration is complete, the City’s Department of Public Works will

supply basic maintenance, with the Parks Conservancy providing enhanced services, such as periodic cleaning and sealing of the unique “Venetian Terrazzo” pavement. The Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh will continue to jointly program the space with concerts and other activities.

Courtesy of Heinz History Center

The restoration of Mellon Square will provide a renewed urban oasis for downtown workers, visitors, and residents. Important design elements from Mellon Square’s history will be re-implemented through the process, bringing back original horticulture plans and constructing an open-air terrace. “There are some important colors and textures from the original design that are missing,” says Susan Rademacher, Parks Curator for the Parks Conservancy. As the plants begin to fill back in and eventually flourish, the feeling of being in an urban oasis will only increase. The Central Fountain will eventually be restored as well, adding a sense of liveliness that has been missing as it has been turned off for long stretches due to malfunctioning parts. The terrace is an exciting new component of the project and is an example of the Parks

Mellon Square opened in 1955 and is the first modern garden plaza to be built atop a parking garage.

The Voice - Winter 2011  

Winter 2011 edition of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's newsletter, The Voice.