PITTSBURGH – APRIL 8, 2021 – The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced today that it will assist the City of Pittsburgh and several local organizations in developing a master plan for Westinghouse Park, the well-loved but unpolished gem at the heart of city’s Point Breeze North community. The park’s 10-plus acres of open space connect the community with its neighbors in Homewood and Point Breeze and draws visitors from across the City.
Formerly the site of ‘Solitude,’ the estate of George and Marguerite Westinghouse, the park features many mature trees, but apart from a play area, its paths, facilities, and other features are outdated. These conditions limit the park's benefits to personal health, community, and ecology.
OpenSpacePGH calls for the development of a master plan that will identify ways Westinghouse Park can achieve its full potential to serve users better, strengthen community, improve environmental quality, and reveal an essential chapter in world history.
To establish a strong foundation for planning, the Point Breeze North Community Development Corporation and the Westinghouse Park 2nd Century Coalition have secured grants from the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA's) Neighborhood Initiatives Fund and private funders.
They have hired experts to hone in on critical aspects of the park: history, community, ecology, and recreation. These consultants include Christine Davis Consultants, Tree Pittsburgh; Grounded Strategies; and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. This neighborhood-driven process will value local knowledge, encourage broad participation, and define a shared vision to guide the park's future as part of the master plan process.
As a part of this process, Christine Davis Consultants performed an archaeological assessment of the park and submitted an application to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, recommending its historic eligibility. On March 12, the Commission concurred with CDC's assessment, stating that "archaeological site 36AL0525 (Solitude/Westinghouse Site) is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under Criterion A, B, and D for its potential to yield important information about George Westinghouse and his significant contributions to national, state, and local history."
The Commission further recommended that "the data gathered in previous investigations should be used in the Advanced Planning Projects as the basis to develop the proposed master plan."
The next step in this process is to get the park recognized as a listed resource with the National Park Service. An official listing will provide future funding opportunities from the National Park Service and national recognition to the park.
Tree Pittsburgh completed an updated survey and assessment of the trees in the park, many of which date to the original Westinghouse estate. Over 30 different species of mostly native trees dot the site. The Westinghouse 2nd Century Coalition has proposed designating the park as an Arboretum to serve as a place for recreation, education, environmental stewardship, historical learning, community involvement, and beauty.
Grounded Strategies has led the development of a park survey mailed to the three neighborhoods most directly connected to Westinghouse Park: Point Breeze North, Point Breeze, and Homewood. They will also conduct interviews with key stakeholders throughout April. Survey responses are due April 23.
Built around this survey, the Parks Conservancy has developed additional opportunities for community engagement and input. The Parks Conservancy and Grounded Strategies will synthesize community input from the survey and the community events to share and build upon at a community meeting on May 6.
Final and published documents for the Advance Planning phase will include a workbook that documents in sketches, maps, interview, survey excerpts, and graphic components the visioning process, outcomes, and priority projects identified in the process. This document will serve as a record for the community and a resource for the incoming consultant to move quickly into conceptual design. This will further the City's resources for park planning, potentially enabling the eventual design consultants designated for the project to create a final master plan including construction documents.
To sign up for updates and take the survey, please follow the project on EngagePGH at https://engage.pittsburghpa.gov/westinghouse-park
For questions or comments, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the park: www.westinghousepark.org.
For more information about the Point Breeze Development Corporation: www.pointbreezenorth.com
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
About Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy:
Now celebrating its 25th year, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh’s historic city parks. A non-profit organization, the Parks Conservancy works closely with the City of Pittsburgh under an official public-private partnership agreement to restore and improve the city’s park system to its full potential. To date, the Parks Conservancy has raised more than $130 million and completed 22 major park improvement projects. The Parks Conservancy works with thousands of volunteers, hosts hundreds of events, and provides programming for more than 7,500 children annually.