Westinghouse Park Planning Process Begins

PBNDC:WP2CC logos

Westinghouse Park Planning Process Begins

The Westinghouse Park 2nd Century Coalition ( WP2CC) and the Point Breeze North Development Corporation (PBNDC) are pleased to announce they are working together toward the creation of a master plan for the park.

This partnership creates a mechanism for working with Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works, Pittsburgh City Planning, other expert entities, and the community to develop the criteria for the City to use in developing a request for proposals for a master plan for the park. The project will run through May 2021.

Funding for the project has been provided by a Neighborhood Initiative Fund (NIF) grant by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The grant is supplemented by additional financial support from ICON Development.

Community participation is the essential element in this planning process, and a range of activities will be implemented over the coming months to nurture and quantify that participation. A series of meetings and park events are also envisioned to take place, as allowed by evolving Covid 19 concerns.

Planning will focus on four key elements:

1) Building Community: Westinghouse Park attracts visitors from beyond the immediate Point Breeze North neighborhood. The current connection with Homewood is a decrepit footbridge over the rail/busway, which is made less accessible by multiple flights of stairs. Similarly, relatively few Point Breeze neighbors cross Penn Avenue to visit the park. This project will engage and involve park stakeholders on both sides of those division lines, and seeks to establish and support a positive, cooperative relationship with the new sports facility now being developed at Homewood Field. The planning process will also consider the new residential and commercial development at the former Lexington Technology Park, one block away.

2) Historic and Cultural Significance: “History Happens Here” is more than a motto for the WP2CC. From 1871 to 1918, the Park was the site of “Solitude,” the Pittsburgh home of George Westinghouse, including his private underground laboratory. In addition to a lengthy list of luminaries who visited, myriad historic events actually occurred there. Preliminary archaeological studies indicate the probable presence of numerous artifacts at the site of the house, the lab, and the 220-foot-long tunnel that connects them.

3) Environmental Stewardship: The 10-acre park contains lawns, pathways, and many magnificent trees, including several planted by George Westinghouse some 140 years ago. The park also provides an opportunity for storm water mitigation. In addition to preservation of historic elements of the landscape and beautification of the park overall, planning process participants will explore possibilities for incorporating features such as rain gardens, bio-swales, permeable pathways, and other green infrastructure into the design. Since the park is a primary headland for the Negley Run watershed, PWSA, and ALCOSAN will also participate in the planning process.

4) Recreation and Relaxation: Neighbors and community members currently use the park for myriad reasons, bicycling, strolling, jogging, dog walking, and socializing. Its playground is popular with families. The plan seeks to enhance and expand those activities and experiences. For example, the existing, 60-year-old, concrete block structure, built over the remains of George Westinghouse’s laboratory, is unattractive, decrepit, and insufficient for neighborhood needs.  It should be removed and replaced.

If you are interested in joining the conversation, the first Zoom community meeting to discuss the plan will be held on Monday, August 3 at 7:00 p.m.

To receive a link to joining the meeting, or if you have anyquestions about the project, please send an e-mail to info@pointbreezenorth.com with WESTINGHOUSE PARK in the subject line.

For developments, check  www.westinghousepark.org ) or ( http://www.pointbreezenorth.com).

You can also follow us on Facebook at Westinghouse Park and at Point Breeze North Development Corporation.

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