Repurpose, Renew & Reconnect in order to Revitalize: Pittsburgh gets new funding to expand their 1200-acre greenways network

As documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, many cities spend large amounts of money repurposing their natural and built assets by remediating brownfields, renovating buildings and restoring parks, but they still fail to revitalize because they neglect the third “re” in the popular 3Re Strategy: repurpose, renew, reconnect.

But not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On September 14, 2021, Pittsburgh’s mayor, William Peduto, announced the award of a $433,000, 2 1/2-year grant from the National Recreation and Parks Association for the city’s Greenways Partnership Program.

This grant was received and will be administered by the OnePGH Fund in close partnership with the City of Pittsburgh to enhance the city’s 1200-acre network of greenways.

The City will be using the funding to develop a model for public-nonprofit-community partnerships to maintain and improve greenways for residents and visitors through the Greenways for Pittsburgh program.

Pittsburgh will receive ongoing technical assistance, professional development and access to networks of like-minded park and recreation professionals throughout the country.

Greenways provide essential green space to help build strong, healthy and resilient communities,” said Mayor Peduto.

This grant provides the City the opportunity continue to build on over 30 years of community-led stewardship to ensure that our stewards have the resources to improve greenways, our greenways continue to get the attention they deserve and our communities have access to enjoy them,” he added.

The grant funding will be administered to the OnePGH Fund to work towards goals outlined in Greenways for Pittsburgh, managed by the Department of City Planning.

The City has long relied on unfunded volunteer stewardship groups to assist in the maintenance of the greenways, so the model will include expanding and empowering a network of community stewardship groups to work with the City to identify areas of need and improvement in greenways and creating a menu of partner organizations and contractors to conduct restoration and access work.

Additionally, the OnePGH fund will hire a greenway contractor to make the program financially and ecologically sustainable through preservation and restoration carbon credits.

The program will expand on the work started by an ongoing pilot program for the Hazelwood Greenway, funded by the Trust for Public Land.

The City is working with community partners to identify projects and priorities for restoring the greenway to a safe, high-quality and ecologically healthy green space. Their community partners include Landforce for trail maintenance, Allegheny GoatScape for weed management, Tree Pittsburgh for restoration planting and the Hazelwood Initiative for community events and engagement.

Featured photo of Hazelwood Greenway by Becca Halter.

Learn more about the Hazelwood Greenway.

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