McKinley park Enhancing and rehabilitating 'Chicken Hill'

MCKINLEY PARK 'CHICKEN HILL' OVERVIEW Centered around green infrastructure, the project incorporated key community priorities for upper McKinley Park, also known as Chicken Hill.

In 2016 the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and American Planning Association (APA) awarded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy a $435,000 Great Urban Parks Campaign grant for this improvement project. While centered around green infrastructure, the project incorporated key community priorities for upper McKinley Park, also known as Chicken Hill. These amenities include restored historical sandstone stairs, a new pavilion and gathering space with a built-in slide, a universally accessible trail throughout the area, overlooks made from reclaimed stone, and benches made from the trees that needed to be cut down on site. Work is being completed by John Zottola Landscaping Inc., Beltzhoover-based contractor Go Supreme, and the Department of Public Works.  

Project Highlights

Sewer Inlets

rain gardens redirecting stormwater


native species

Custom Log Benches

crafted from trees salvaged on-site

Additional Park Highlights
  • GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Rain gardens redirecting stormwater from 4 sewer inlets.  
  • PAVILION: New pavilion at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Haberman Ave. with new concrete stairs and accessible ramp. 
  • SLIDE: New slide built into the hillside behind the pavilion 
  • STAIRS: 2 historic sandstone staircases, completely rebuilt with new stone. 
  • TRAILS: Accessible, crushed limestone trail throughout northern section of park, and improved connectors from Delmont Ave. and Eldora Pl. stairs. 
  • SIDEWALKS: repairs to sidewalk along Michigan Ave. 

Project Updates

August 1, 2020 

The last time rain fell on Michigan Street in Beltzhoover, it flowed in a new direction. Now, instead of heading straight for the sewers and contributing to overflows that pollute Saw Mill Run and the Ohio River, this rainwater flows into McKinley park. It cascades through a new system of green infrastructure − an engineered landscape that carefully manages water for multiple benefits. 

We continue to work with local contractor, Go Supreme, and the DPW to finish the remainder of the project, in anticipation of a Spring completion. 

Project Information

  • $1,100,000 
Consultant Team and Contractor


  • Phronesis
  • Mott MacDonald


  • City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works  
  • John Zottola Landscaping
  • Go Supreme
  • Delmont Avenue and Michigan Avenue 
Major Financial Assistance
  • Allegheny Foundation
  • City of Pittsburgh (in-kind services) 
  • National Recreation and Park Foundation
  • Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
Project Contact

Gavin White, Project Manager

Project Partners
  • Beltzhoover Consensus Group
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Hilltop Alliance
  • UrbanKind
  • Voices Against Violence

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