Maintaining Affordable Housing in Lawrenceville

Preserving affordability in Lawrenceville is a high priority for the thousands of residents we serve through our many programs. The Lawrenceville Corporation is working with LU and others to introduce a Community Land Trust (CLT) that will help preserve affordability and make it possible for individuals to build equity and purchase homes here who are currently being priced out. We are also working to schedule an event for April/ May focused on affordable housing – and there will be an opportunity to learn more about the CLT.

Learn more – check out Lawrenceville Corporation’s in-depth blog about the CLT.

Sign up to stay up to date on the progress of Lawrenceville’s Community Land Trust. We’ll send out information on future events, eligibility criteria, and more.

 

Arsenal and Leslie Parks Planning: May 2015 Update

The latest updates to the plans for the park reflect continued feedback from the community, including groups like the Lawrenceville Historical Society, who has been represented on the Steering Committee since the beginning of the project. These plans are still a living document, and your input is needed to continue to shape them. We will continue to invite you to participate in the planning process as we move toward the funding and implementation phases. The accompanying narrative from the firm drafting these plans will be available within the next month.

 

As this planning process has been the subject of much community discussion, LU put together an information sheet to keep all residents up to date with the planning process and what has been proposed.

 

24 April Arsenal Rendering_Page_1

An overhead view of the latest Arsenal Park plan.

Detailed plans below:

Arsenal Plan – May draft

Leslie Plan – May draft

McConway and Torley

4.16.2015

This week the Allegheny County Health Department held a public hearing on the air permit for McConway and Torley, the foundry at 48th Street. Residents, M&T employees, and LU testified. You can view LU’s testimony here, and see a copy of the Lawrenceville Toxic Metals study conducted by ACHD here.

As the resident-driven community group, our request was simply that the Health Department protect our community’s health. We are not asking that the foundry be shut down, but that the levels of emissions from the plant be tracked, monitored, and analyzed – and that the information collected be used to issue a permit that protects all of our health. We will continue to engage the owners of M&T regarding other quality of life concerns, including noise, parking, and truck traffic.

4.7.2015

Lawrenceville United convened a panel of representatives from McConway and Torley, Group Against Smog and Pollution, and a representative from Councilwoman Deb Gross’ office to answer residents’ questions and concerns regarding the foundry. A productive conversation took place around issues such as air quality and testing, humming noises at night, idling trucks, and parking issues. Around 65 residents were in attendance and were given the opportunity to ask questions. The presentation given by LU and LC can be viewed here: Air Quality Discussion April 2015.

Residents still have an opportunity to submit their concerns about the air quality issues by speaking at the public hearing regarding the air permit:

ACHD Public Hearing on Draft Permit –Hearing to be held April 14th, 6 pm, 1st Floor Conference Room of Building 7 of the Clack Health Center, 301 39th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Register to speak at the hearing by calling by 4:00 pm April 13th412-578-8103

For previous posts on this topic, see “Humming at 49th.

Arsenal and Leslie Parks Planning: April Update

4.2.15 Celebrating a Collaborative Effort

Thank you to the 75+ residents who joined us to celebrate the Arsenal and Leslie Park Master Plan Process last Thursday at The Grey Box Theatre.

Hundreds of community partners, residents, and business owners have dedicated time, energy, and creativity to the process over the past year– which has helped us to create exciting concepts and plans for the future of our parks.

As outlined by Steering Committee members during the event, the plan embraces and preserves our community’s and the Arsenal’s rich history and heritage, offers recommendations to make the park more accessible,  and creates and enhances spaces for residents of all ages to enjoy.  In addition to residents and stakeholder engagement, the process has been guided by a Steering Committee comprised of community representatives and partner organizations, including:  Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, Lawrenceville Historical Society, Friends of Arsenal Park, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Tree Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Arsenal Pre K – 5, Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8, Allegheny County Health Department, Councilwoman Deb Gross, Senators Jim Ferlo and Wayne Fontana, Representative Dom Costa, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, Department of Public Works, and Citiparks.

We will continue to work on finalizing the plan,  and will be sharing the completed plan with a full narrative in the weeks to come.  To see some of the materials presented at the event last Thursday, see below. The document detailing the measures to be taken for historical preservation is available here: Arsenal_Historic Preservation Text.

We want to give a special thank you to Arsenal Cider House and Matteo’s for providing refreshments, and to Gina at Grey Box Theater for providing the space for our event.  Thanks to all of YOU for attending, for participating in our community meetings and events, and for signing on to Mind Mixer to share your thoughts.  You have helped to ensure that the plan for the park remains community-driven.

APMP_Birds Eye Rendering 2015-0325

Birds’ eye view of Arsenal Park Concept

Arsenal Park Stone Wall Perimeter

Arsenal Park Stone Wall Perimeter

arsenal open house

Open House Attendees Hear Details of the Plan

Photo credit: Tony Ceoffe

Arsenal and Leslie Parks Planning: March Update

3.11.2015

You are invited to a Community Parks Celebration, Thursday, March 26th, from 6-8pm! The celebration will be held at the Greybox Theater, 3595 Butler Street, and will feature an unveiling of the Arsenal and Leslie Parks master plans.  Enjoy refreshments and celebrate the culmination of a planning process that has engaged residents, business owners, athletic clubs, local schools, park enthusiasts, and countless other stakeholders to ensure that the designs reflect the interests of the community.

3.2.2015

Two open houses were held, February 26 and 28, featuring the latest draft of the plans for Arsenal and Leslie Park. The plans will remain on display in the basement at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville until March 13, 2015. You can view them there or at the links below.

We welcome your questions and feedback! Please direct them to info@lunited.org. The plans will be finalized by the end of March, and will be unveiled at a community celebration on March 26 at 6-8pm. Location is TBD, so check our calendar for details as the date gets closer.

Arsenal Park Plans March 2015

Leslie Park Plans March 2015

Arsenal and Leslie Parks Planning: March Update

3.11.2015

You are invited to a Community Parks Celebration, Thursday, March 26th, from 6-8pm! The celebration will be held at the Greybox Theater, 3595 Butler Street, and will feature an unveiling of the Arsenal and Leslie Parks master plans.  Enjoy refreshments and celebrate the culmination of a planning process that has engaged residents, business owners, athletic clubs, local schools, park enthusiasts, and countless other stakeholders to ensure that the designs reflect the interests of the community.

3.2.2015

Two open houses were held, February 26 and 28, featuring the latest draft of the plans for Arsenal and Leslie Park. The plans will remain on display in the basement at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville until March 13, 2015. You can view them there or at the links below.

We welcome your questions and feedback! Please direct them to info@lunited.org. The plans will be finalized by the end of March, and will be unveiled at a community celebration on March 26 at 6-8pm. Location is TBD, so check our calendar for details as the date gets closer.

Arsenal Park Plans March 2015

Leslie Park Plans March 2015

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.

Fort Willow Development

5.21.2015

Please see this presentation from Fort Willow Developers for drawings and further details about the project.

Summary: A meeting was held on April 27, 2015 at the National Robotics center on the Fort Willow development project. Over 60 people were in attendance and the architect, principal, and a traffic engineer presented the designs for the project.

 

Phase 1 will consist of a 191-unit apartment building that will be set back 25-29 feet from Willow Street. Only half of the former Interlocking Deck Systems property will be developed during this phase, and a parklet that will be available to the public is planned for the front of the building on Willow.

Variances Requested: An 8ft. variance is requested for the setback requirement for the majority of the building, with an 18ft. variance requested for the section closest to Willow St., and a 2ft. variance requested for the back of the building.

Timeline: Plans call for demolition to begin July 2015, foundation preparation to occur in October or November 2015, with phase 1 completion scheduled for May or June 2017.

Public Access: The Bay 4 connector will remain in place, but be stripped of siding and roofing, to leave exposed steel beams with an unobstructed view of the river looking down 41st Street. This space will be open to the public as a pedestrian walkway, but will be owned by Fort Willow Developers.

Historical Design: The design of the apartment building is intended to reflect the industrial history of the site and of Lawrenceville.

Truck Loading: Truck loading will take place in the back in under-building parking lot.

Trash Storage: Trash will be stored internally at the back of the building.

Public Transportation: To meet the demands of increased public transportation ridership, LU and LC will work with Councilwoman Gross to demand more frequency and stop options for residents as needed. Councilwoman Gross also mentioned that alternatives can be pursued, such as developing a bike path downtown in advance of more large-scale development plans.

Affordability: Fort Willow Developers are not pursing affordable housing funding. There will be 550 sq. ft micro-units and 750 sq ft. studios available, which will be less expensive than larger units.

Parking: There will be a 153 parking spaces for the building– 50 under the building, 103 in a parking lot adjacent to the apartments. This number of parking spaces is in excess of city requirements. There is currently a 40-car parking lot also owned by Fort Willow Developers, at 40th and Willow. This lot could be used on a temporary basis if needed, but may be part of a later phase of development.

Mixed Use: No retail units have been planned for the development, and phase 1 will be entirely residential.

From the Q&A segment:                          

The parking lot will not be screened with a fence, but it will be densely planted.

The building at Willow and 41st (currently used as the office of Alex Simakis) will not be included in the development for now.

Fort Willow Developers have been working with a traffic engineer and the Department of Public Works to address the impact of construction of the site on the roads.

There was a zoning board meeting for the project scheduled for June 4, 2015.

4.16.2015

A community meeting has been scheduled for April 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the National Robotics Engineering Center at 10 40th Street. Flyers will be distributed to residents living nearby the site, but as always, any member of the Lawrenceville community is welcome to attend to hear updates and submit questions and concerns.

12.2.2014

Alex Simakis, owner of a five-acre site that includes a 120.000 sq. ft. industrial building at 40th/ Willow. convened a meeting on November 17, 2014 at the Ice House with those residents and property owners closest to the site.  Mr. Simakis is working with Rothschild Doyno Collaborative to design a strategy to redevelop the property.  Mr. Simakis and his team presented conceptual ideas to those directly adjacent neighbors and residents and property owners raised questions, concerns, and shared some of the history and stories of that site. Some of the ideas include preserving the history of the site,establishing a public corridor that would reconnect 41st Street with the site, and would add commercial and residential development.   This was the first of many community conversations regarding the site. Mr. Simakis will be bringing a Traffic Engineer on board to asses the conditions of the site as well.  Mr Simakis expects to develop the plan and concepts over the next year with construction to possibly begin in 2016. Stay tuned for the next meeting!

City-wide Responsible Hospitality Planning:

Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, and other community organizations and agencies have been working closely with City of Pittsburgh departments and the Responsible Hospitality Institute (link) to create a plan and recommendations to help steward the growth of responsible managed nighttime entertainment districts in our City, including the Lawrenceville business district.  In 2013, the Lawrenceville community organizations worked with CTAC to collect data on the business district and continued to facilitate our community process relative to new or expanding bars and restaurants, and hospitality businesses.  We will continue this work in 2014 and are excited to see that some of those city-wide recommendations will begin to be implemented:  “Peduto to add new position for “night-time economy“.

Recertification of RPP Area A Issues

A message from the Office of Councilwoman Deborah L. Gross:

This past fall, a series of public meetings were held to explain a proposal to divide what is now known as RPPP Area A into three smaller “sub-areas,” allowing for more efficient and effective enforcement of the Residential Permit Parking Program in Area A. This division was proposed to make enforcement more controllable and manageable. In conjunction with this proposed change, residents living in RPPP Area A were also given the opportunity to update their enforcement hours.

In the time that these changes were proposed to RPPP Area A residents, there was a five-month vacancy in City Council representation in City Council District 7 which was the result of Patrick Dowd’s resignation from City Council in June 2013. Councilwoman Deb Gross was elected to fill this vacancy in a November 2013 election, and was officially sworn-in to represent City Council District 7 – which includes RPPP Area A – in early December of 2013. During this period, our Council office has heard concerns from residents that the proposed changes to Area A occurred without representation for affected residents in City Council.

With this in mind, Councilwoman Gross has asked for this additional mailing to be distributed to residents, allowing neighbors living in Area A an opportunity to express concerns about these proposed changes to our office. For a period of two months, the proposed changes will be postponed to allow time for appropriate community input to Councilwoman Gross on this matter. During this period, the enforcement hours of Area A will remain 7 am to 7 pm. Residents should complete their enclosed renewal forms as normal, and will receive Area A permits, which will be able to be exchanged for permits corresponding to the new sub-areas once the community has the time to express any concerns to their elected representative.

Assuming that community members still feel that Area A should be split in accordance with the plan presented by City Planning, these changes will take effect in April 2013. Our office looks forward to working with residents, community groups, and Mr. Holloway of the City Planning Department to help Area A residents make their voice heard in city government.

Please contact the office of Councilwoman Gross with any questions or concerns, 412-255-2140.