Above: The vacant lot that Kelly Day hopes to transform into a wellness park is owned by the City.
Brighton Heights resident Kelly Day wanted to improve her section of the neighborhood.
To start, she targeted two vacant, City-owned lots at the corner of Antrim and Flemming. Last spring, she filled the first lot with a rain garden, to help with the drainage problem on the street using Community Development Block Grant money from the City.
Now a GTECH ambassador, Day has big plans for the second lot as well and is collaborating with KaBOOM!, PNC Bank and the Brighton Heights Citizen’s Federation to make her vision a reality.
Day plans to replace the overgrown lot with a fitness park, which will include seating, a playground and a bike fix station, which will be a permanent fixture with a bike shelf and tools tethered to the station.
“It’s my best effort to bring a new amenity to the Brighton Heights area, something that’s new and progressive,” said Day, who noted that a park would give kids in the neighborhood somewhere to go so they wouldn’t be playing on the street.
To make the project initially possible, Day teamed up with fellow Brighton Heights resident, BHCF member and GTECH ambassador Vince Pallus. Together they pooled their GTECH budgets to create one larger project and are looking for outside funding as well.
GTECH Strategies is a Pittsburgh nonprofit that works to better neighborhoods with green practices by reclaiming vacant land and creating local green jobs. In the Northside, GTECH facilitates its efforts by selecting green ambassadors who are paid a small stipend to accomplish green projects with a $1,000 budget.
Day explained that the wellness park is larger than most GTECH projects, so teaming up with Pallus made it a realistic goal.
The bike rack was proposed because Antrim Street is often used by bikers, who follow Bike Pittsburgh’s map that suggests Antrim as a safe route.
The original plan for the park also includes a bocce court that was incorporated for the nearby retirement high rise and mile markers for walkers.
To fund the playground, Pallus and Day are working on a grant for KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit who installs playgrounds in city neighborhoods. KaBOOM! built a playground in West Park this June.
An added bonus is that the park would be near the site of new homes being built on the former site of St. John’s Hospital at McClure and Antrim.
The BHCF and GTECH ambassadors hope that the project compels homeowners to buy the new homes and that it helps create an identity and master plan for the lower section of Brighton Heights
Due to a gradient issue, working with the city and the long grant application for the KaBOOM! grant, Day anticipates this process of funding the project will be lengthy, but anyone with a Facebook account can help the project.
The project is listed in PNC Bank’s Neighborhood Wishlist program, and Northsiders can click here to vote for the wellness park to receive a $500 grant from PNC.