One For The History Books: An Extraordinary Year For Pittsburgh’s Parks


This last year was surely one for the history books. Before jumping into the new year, join us in reflecting on the tremendous things that have happened in your parks.

1 | Number of ultra-green municipal buildings that set a world standard

With great fanfare, the new Frick Environmental Center opened to the public on September 10th. A project of the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh, the Center is designed to be LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certified, and is on track to be the greenest building in the world. Oh, and did we mention that it's free and open to all? Learn more about the Center here. 

The new Frick Environmental Center. Photo: Jeremy Marshall

 2 | Number of incredible Pittsburghers publicly honored

Two Pittsburghers this year were publicly honored in parks. Cliffside Park was renamed for the Tony and Pulitzer-prize winning playwright August Wilson. The new park design includes American with Disabilities Act-compliant design that makes the park's spectacular views accessible to all. In Schenley Park, fifteen direct descendants of industrial icon George Westinghouse traveled from afar to see the full restoration of their namesake’s memorial. Discover more about August Wilson Park here and the Westinghouse Memorial here

A cutout of George Westinghouse in front of his memorial. Photo: Mark Simpson

10 | Years that Schenley Plaza has been a beloved public space

Nobody would have imagined ten years ago the phenomenal success that Schenley Plaza would become. Stop by the community spot that welcomes hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors right not to see it shine with 23,000 LED holiday lightsRead more about Schenley Plaza here.

Holiday lights in Schenley Plaza. Photo: Lindsay Dill

 20 | Years that we've been working in your parks

On December 17th, 2016, we kicked off our 20th year! On this auspicious year, we're looking back on some incredible accomplishments. Since 1996, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has raised $94 million (and counting) for 17 major park improvement projects. We have an unwavering dedication to greenspace equity. While building on all of our work to date, we look forward to an increased focus on community parks, environmental education, and green infrastructure to make your parks even more amazing in the coming years. 

We're 20!

emerald-view-box.jpg257 | Acres of new parkland where we'll be working 

Through a new alliance with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), we were thrilled to begin working in Emerald View Park in 2016. We welcomed MWCDC staff to our team as we started to take a primary role in park planning, fundraising and project implementation in this unique regional park.

Start exploring Emerald View Park here.

9,618 | Flowers, bulbs, shrubs and trees planted

While most were paid for by the Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh, 235 shrubs and bulbs were donated, many in honor of loved ones. Plant care doesn't stop when the temperature drops: Parks staff will be at it all winter, pruning and protecting the trees that burst into color each spring.

Kids help Parks Conservancy staff plant flowers in Schenley Plaza. Photo: Mark Simpson

7,651 | Hours that volunteers spent improving parks

Amounting to almost one year of 24-hour days, wonderful Pittsburghers gave generously through our volunteer programs in 2016. Whether they were weeding, planting, and building deer exclosures; organizing data and photos; tabling at events; or sharing special skills like coding, these volunteers made a huge difference in their parks. See more about our volunteer programs here. 

A volunteer working in Frick Park. Photo: Jeremy Marshall

15,212 | Hours of outdoor education

Our fabulous educators spent 15,212 hours inspiring kids age 3 – 18 to learn in parks. Youth from 58 classes in 23 schools got the opportunity to use parks as classrooms.