New community group provides 30 Lawrenceville homes with flower boxes

By Rebekkah Ranallo

flowerboxOn Saturday, May 17, neighborhood volunteers planted flowers and herbs in 60 planter boxes at 30 Lawrenceville homes that are ineligible for street trees from the TreeVitalize program. The Garden Club of Allegheny County generously provided funding to make this program possible and free of charge to home owners. Lawrenceville United, whose mission includes neighborhood greening and beautification, was a founding partner of the initiative.

Known as the Lawrenceville Greenscapes Initiative (LGI), the project was born when six Lawrenceville Tree Tenders grew frustrated with the growing list of street tree requests being denied in the neighborhood. While over 700 trees have been planted in Lawrenceville through TreeVitalize, factors such as monolithic curbs, narrow sidewalks, and conflicts with utility lines make hundreds of homes in the neighborhood ineligible for trees through that program.

The LGI volunteers worked for months researching best practices, gathering feedback from Lawrenceville United and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, writing funding proposals, and assessing each denied property. The boxes are now installed and planted with a variety of beautiful flowers and herbs in all three wards of Lawrenceville.

Due to high demand, LGI has created a waiting list of homeowners seeking flowers boxes for next year’s program; the group is pursuing additional revenue to sustain the program in coming years. If you are interested in receiving a flower box, please send an email to greenscapeslawrenceville@gmail.com to have your name added to the waiting list. Those who are ineligible for street trees will receive priority.

If you were one of the lucky recipients of this year’s pilot program, please remember to water your flower box regularly!

LGI thanks Lawrenceville United, Cavacini’s, and the Garden Club of Allegheny County for helping us find creative ways to green our neighborhood.

Duncan Park Update

 

5.27.2014 Update

Residents in Upper Lawrenceville may have noticed some activity at Duncan Playground. The Department of Public Works has begun work to dismantle the current playground equipment. As many know, this site has been vandalized and left in terrible condition over the years. We have received regular complaints regarding some of the activity underway there, dangerous items found, and the overall unsafe condition of the park. Residents worked to create the Upper Lawrenceville Plan over the last two years that calls for converting that site into a more active use that will engage families in safe, productive, and attractive ways. 

The Lawrenceville Community Plan, Upper Lawrenceville Plan, and Open Space Plan all call for reimagining that site. It was clear in our community planning meetings that residents wanted to keep the space public, as the 10th Ward has lost a number of public gathering spaces over the last few years: schools, churches, etc. In our meetings, residents were interested in creating a space that engaged families in new ways, and that also created a better connection to the adjacent greenway. Ideas that were presented included creating a public fruit orchard, a community garden space, food production space for local businesses, elements that work with the topography of the site that could encourage free play among children, and areas for residents to meet, sit, and enjoy. 

To begin looking at how to create this, we have engaged The Penn State Center who is currently working on potential designs for the space. 

Additionally, as part of those meetings, residents expressed interest in formalizing the trail network that runs adjacent to the site and informally exists now, in addition to reinvesting in McCandless Playground to make that a more attractive play space for families. The Upper Lawrenceville Greening Committee will be working on these things moving forward with support from the Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United. The next meeting of the Committee is June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Door of Hope Church. We hope that anyone interested in the Duncan Playground site, and anyone with an interest in working on these projects, will attend. 

If you have not seen the Upper Lawrenceville Plan, it is available on the Lawrenceville Corporation’s website

In addition to the work around the greenspaces, there are also committees working on creating Riverfront Access at McCandless Avenue (and we are planning a Riverfront picnic for the community on June 7!), and working on housing issues within Upper Lawrenceville. You can join any of these committees by emailing Ed Nusser at Ed@lawrencevillecorp.com

Please contact Lauren at Lawrenceville United with any questions or concerns. We are happy to share notes from past meetings, and we hope to see you at the upcoming meetings.

Lawrenceville announces new six-year partnership

The Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United are proud to announce a six-year, $1.2 million partnership with UPMC Health Plan, Duquesne Light, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Developed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Partnership Tax Credit Program (NPP), the work of the partnership will be directed toward four primary areas of community need: Authenticity and Health of Place, Safe and Convenient Transportation and Mobility Infrastructure, Healthy and Active Living, and Clear Pathways to Education and Employment.

While Lawrenceville continues to lead in creating and representing best practices in comprehensive community development, finances do limit the reach of programming.  “This partnership brings incredible and sustained financial strength to organizations that are making positive change in the Lawrenceville community,” said Lawrenceville Corporation executive director, Matthew Galluzzo.

“There are significant gaps that exist in neighborhood infrastructure that need to be addressed in order for the neighborhood to realize its true potential,” noted Lauren Byrne, executive director of Lawrenceville United.  Byrne cited unemployment and lack of coordination among school-aged children as issues where sustained support must be directed in order to ameliorate those conditions.

Scott Lammie, Chief Financial Officer, UPMC Health Plan and Senior Vice President, UPMC Insurance Services Division added, “Our connection with UPMC and with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC naturally connects us to Lawrenceville.  The new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has provided many people with a reason to ‘rediscover’ Lawrenceville and they have embraced it.  In so doing, they have glimpsed at what we have always known:  Lawrenceville is one of Pittsburgh’s historic and iconic hometown neighborhoods; a very special place where we can live, work, play and support each other with an abundance of schools, churches, healthcare service providers, parks, libraries, restaurants, arts, culture and hospitality venues.”

All parties believe that communities benefit when resources are shared among key partners to advance a common agenda.  The Lawrenceville NPP partners are bringing together all these vital tangible and intangible resources to further strengthen and advance our Lawrenceville community.

Lawrenceville announces new six-year partnership

The Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United are proud to announce a six-year, $1.2 million partnership with UPMC Health Plan, Duquesne Light, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Developed through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Partnership Tax Credit Program (NPP), the work of the partnership will be directed toward four primary areas of community need: Authenticity and Health of Place, Safe and Convenient Transportation and Mobility Infrastructure, Healthy and Active Living, and Clear Pathways to Education and Employment.

While Lawrenceville continues to lead in creating and representing best practices in comprehensive community development, finances do limit the reach of programming.  “This partnership brings incredible and sustained financial strength to organizations that are making positive change in the Lawrenceville community,” said Lawrenceville Corporation executive director, Matthew Galluzzo.

“There are significant gaps that exist in neighborhood infrastructure that need to be addressed in order for the neighborhood to realize its true potential,” noted Lauren Byrne, executive director of Lawrenceville United.  Byrne cited unemployment and lack of coordination among school-aged children as issues where sustained support must be directed in order to ameliorate those conditions.

Scott Lammie, Chief Financial Officer, UPMC Health Plan and Senior Vice President, UPMC Insurance Services Division added, “Our connection with UPMC and with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC naturally connects us to Lawrenceville.  The new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has provided many people with a reason to ‘rediscover’ Lawrenceville and they have embraced it.  In so doing, they have glimpsed at what we have always known:  Lawrenceville is one of Pittsburgh’s historic and iconic hometown neighborhoods; a very special place where we can live, work, play and support each other with an abundance of schools, churches, healthcare service providers, parks, libraries, restaurants, arts, culture and hospitality venues.”

All parties believe that communities benefit when resources are shared among key partners to advance a common agenda.  The Lawrenceville NPP partners are bringing together all these vital tangible and intangible resources to further strengthen and advance our Lawrenceville community.

Area “A” Update from Councilwoman Gross’ Office

District 7 neighbors,

As many of you are aware, our office has been working to ease concern related to changes in the Residential Permit Parking Program (RPPP) Area “A” since December 2014.  Prior to Councilwoman Gross’ swearing in, a series of public meetings were held to discuss a proposed division of Area A into three smaller, more easily enforced RPPP Areas. The proposed division of Area A was created to make enforcement more efficient and insure that residents who purchased permits were able to find parking within a reasonable distance to their home.  In coordination with this proposal, residents in RPPP Area A were also given the opportunity to update and extend their enforcement hours.

Over the last several months, our office has been working diligently in speaking with residents, listening to, feedback and recording concerns.  As a result of these discussions and your feedback, the proposed split of Area A was officially introduced to City Council by Councilwoman Gross on Tuesday, April 22 and will be voted on next week.

In regards to the extension of enforcement hours, the final voting results among residents were extremely close and controversial.  Our office received an enormous amount of feedback both in support and against the extension of enforcement hours.  With this in mind, we have asked Mr. Ashley Holloway of City Planning, who oversees the RPP Program, to arrange for another vote on enforcement hours to guarantee that any changes to these hours are what residents genuinely want.

In the time leading up to this second vote, enforcement hours for the split RPPP areas will remain the same as under the previous RPPP Area A until a final vote of affected residents  is tallied and confirmed by City Planning.  Residents will be able to exchange their Area “A” permits for the newly generated RPPP Areas once the changes pass through City Council.

Our office appreciates your patience through this resident-driven process and looks forward to moving towards a final resolution.  We welcome any concerns and appreciate residents of District 7 making their voices heard.  For more information, feel free to contact our office at 412-255-2140 or visit the District 7 website at http://pittsburghpa.gov/district7/.

Sincerely,

The Office of Councilwoman Deborah L. Gross

City Council District 7

Join Our Board

Each year, Lawrenceville United elects members to serve on the Board of Directors for the organization.  We have staggered elections so ½ of the Board is up for election/ re-election each year, and terms are 2 years, though you are permitted to serve more than one term (but have to be re-elected).  We have had some very dedicated members leave the Board this year, and we hope to find other residents interested in serving!  The Board of Directors is charged with overseeing the organization’s strategic plan, priorities, and financial health.  They guide and inform the work of the organization.  LU has an all-resident Board and welcome any General Members who have been LU Members for the past 6 months to express interest.

There will be an open house at LU to meet current Board Members in early May to learn more about what being on the Board is all about, as well as what some of the priority areas of focus are for the organization. Interested candidates will be asked to submit a bio/resume and a letter of interest.  We will create a ballot with the names of those who show interest, and our entire membership will be asked to vote to elect new members to a 2014-2016 term at our General Membership Meeting on June 17.

If you are interested or would like additional information, please contact Lauren at lauren@lunited.org or 412-802-7220.

Community Service Fair

Calling all residents wanting to get involved!

Lawrenceville United is hosting a community service fair at Arsenal Park on Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. We have more and more groups joining our service fair!  Come to get information about these organizations and learn how to volunteer:

  • Lawrenceville Organic Community Garden
  • Lawrenceville Farmers Market
  • Bernard Dog Run
  • Lawrenceville Tree Tenders
  • Friends of Arsenal Park
  • Art All Night
  • Lawrenceville Hospitality Association
  • Lawrenceville Senior Center

This is a family-friendly event with light refreshments provided. We hope to see you there!

For more information, please email info@lunited.org or call 412-802-7220. To RSVP, check out the event page on Facebook.