PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY RECEIVES GRANT TO IMPROVE CONNECTIVITY AND ACCESSIBILITY IN MELLON PARK
PITTSBURGH – MAY 31, 2023 – Thanks to the generous support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and the Friends of Mellon Park, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced today that it will invest $300,000 in improving the connectivity, accessibility, and safety on both sides of Mellon Park. This investment advances a key priority identified by the broader community in the Mellon Park Action Plan.
The Action Plan, which was finalized last September through feedback from thousands of park users and over two dozen community-based organizations, represents a unified vision for Mellon Park. Through this funding, the Conservancy will improve entrances and install signage throughout the park, with the goal of creating a more inviting, accessible, and welcoming experience for visitors on both the north and south sides of the park. Upgraded entrances and a comprehensive signage package will promote a safer pedestrian experience along Fifth Avenue and ensure consistency between both sides of the park.
Mellon Park, which primarily serves the residents of East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Point Breeze North, Point Breeze, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill, is bifurcated by Fifth Avenue, a major and busy thoroughfare.
“As we developed the Action Plan, we listened to the concerns of all users of Mellon Park,” explained Catherine Qureshi, President, and CEO of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “We heard it was crucial to connect and unify both sides of the park, which is where we will prioritize our next investment in this well-loved public green space. The implementation would not be possible without the generous support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and we are grateful for their continued partnership and dedication to Mellon Park and the communities it serves.”
The Richard King Mellon Foundation's recent grant to the Parks Conservancy adds $300,000 to the foundation’s legacy in Mellon Park. Gifted by Richard King Mellon and his sister Sarah Mellon Scaife to the City of Pittsburgh in 1942, the park has benefited from the deep and meaningful investment from the foundation. Recent contributions from the foundation have included the development of the Mellon Park Action Plan and assistance with the restoration of the Walled Garden in the park's historic southern section.
“When we invest into improving our parks it’s one of the many ways, we can help make our city feel safe and more welcome for everyone,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “This project will bring together communities and help end the divide that keeps neighborhoods apart. I’m thankful for the Richard King Mellon Foundation and for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on their work on making this a reality.”
The Parks Conservancy will soon work with the City of Pittsburgh, historians, landscape architects, and community organizations to create and install a consistent signage package throughout Mellon Park, as well as implement upgrades to existing entryways that improve accessibility and provide amenities, such as benches, trash receptacles and more.
“Mellon Park is a community treasure and this generous contribution from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will help it to remain a beautiful and welcoming space for all our neighbors,” explained Erika Strassburger, District 8, Pittsburgh City Council, “I'm very grateful to the Foundation for making this grant, and I appreciate the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's ongoing dedication to maintaining and improving our city's public resources.”
To solicit the priorities of the Action Plan, the Parks Conservancy collected feedback from the City of Pittsburgh, thousands of park users, and 26 neighborhood and community groups, including the Friends of Mellon Park, a grassroots community organization whose mission is to support, protect, and advocate for all of Mellon Park.
“Many people in our community are unaware that Mellon Park spans both sides of Fifth Avenue. This is about to change,” explained Elizabeth Seamans and Cindy Berger, Friends of Mellon Park. “We applaud the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the City of Pittsburgh for taking action to make the entire park welcoming and safe for everybody."
This announcement comes as the Parks Conservancy recently completed work to renovate the pathways surrounding the Walled Garden and moves to restore historic plinths and urns at the site. Originally restored in 2010, the Walled Garden honors the memory of Ann Katharine Seamans and features a one-of-a-kind piece of public art by Janet Zweig titled, 7:11 AM 11.20.1979 79° 55´W 40°27´N.
To learn more about the progress of the Action Plan, view it in its entirety, and stay apprised on opportunities to share feedback on this upcoming project, please visit pittsburghparks.org/mellon-park-action-plan/.
Contact: Alana Wenk
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy