ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy recently began working toward the development of a community-driven strategy for improving and activating Baxter Park in Homewood. The development of the plan is the first step in enabling the Parks Conservancy to move toward the design and construction of a vibrant, more accessible gathering place for Homewood residents.
The primary outcome of this project is to promote a safe, green, and more vibrant Homewood Community Park. The park was the highest-ranked space in need of investment on the Equitable Investment Strategy, which was created by the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh as a result of input from over 10,000 residents and an analysis of existing park conditions. Both the Homewood Community Plan and Homewood Clusters Plan recommend renovating and improving Baxter Park.
During the summer of 2023, the Parks Conservancy engaged with Homewood-based organizations for guidance on the most effective ways to listen and engage the broader Homewood community Parks through existing community events and meetings. Throughout the project, community support will be a vital indicator of success. Ensuring that the Parks Conservancy reaches as broad a group as possible is a crucial component of the work.
Upon completion of the community engagement process, the design team will develop a singular, preferred concept plan that responds to community feedback and in collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Public Schools. The result will be a grounded, realistic improvement plan that is constructable, maintainable, and responds to the needs of the community.
A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Catherine Qureshi, president, and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, underscores the importance of cultivating a plan that is responsive to and representative of the vibrant community surrounding Baxter Park.
"The first step toward achieving the goals of this critical project is to meaningfully engage and build trust with the community, collaborate with the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), and community organizations surrounding the park, and develop a unified vision for the future of the space," Qureshi explained. "The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is honored to lead this work and believes the steps taken in this project will improve the quality of life, overall mental and physical well-being of residents of Homewood and provide a more vibrant and livable neighborhood."
The development of the unified vision for the future improvement of Baxter Park will be driven by the feedback of Homewood residents, community organizations, and business owners.
“I'm so glad after four years to see the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy get involved with the Baxter Park here in Homewood,” explained Zinna Scott, Operation Better Block representative. “I, along with Operation Better Block are gladly supporting this project. We will work to get the community involved.”
The park’s adjacency to Student Achievement Center also provides an opportunity to center the voices of teenagers and youth, empowering students to be involved in the process and initiate change in their neighborhood.
“It’s important to have a safe and enjoyable place to gather and that is what the improved Baxter Park will be to Homewood residents. The collaboration between the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the community is ensuring everyone’s voice is heard for this green space redevelopment,” said Mayor Ed Gainey, City of Pittsburgh.