This month, Councilman Wilson shares the major investments that the City of Pittsburgh will make throughout the Northside.
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
This month, I would like to share the major investments that the City will be making across the Northside. I am very proud to have secured $7.8 million in the 2021 Capital Budget for critical infrastructure – parks, bridges, and neighborhood resources – across Council District 1.
During my first year in office, many residents expressed concern about the landslide eating away at Riverview Avenue by the Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park. My first priority during budget season was to allocate funds to fix the landslides in Riverview Park. I’m pleased we were able to earmark $1 million to stabilize the hillside and restore Riverview Avenue and another $900,000 to begin design work to remediate other landslides in the park. On the other side of Riverview, the City will also spend $237,500 to beautify the park’s Mairdale Avenue entrance with better signage, new sidewalks that connect the parking lot to the trails across the bridge, and robust stormwater management. The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) will invest an additional $1.23 million in stormwater infrastructure to better manage wet weather flow from PWSA’s combined sewer system in the park and the Woods Run corridor. Lastly, the Department of Public Works (DPW) is in the beginning stages of designing the new DPW Streets Division, to be relocated elsewhere in the district. This is the beginning of a multi-year plan to reclaim Kilbuck Road for park users.
In Allegheny Commons, another grand Northside park, I made a promise to neighboring families that the City would replace the Deer Pit playground after it was removed last year due to safety concerns. We will spend $200,000 to design and construct this playground, just down the road from Gus and Yia Yia’s ice ball stand, for a whole new generation of Northside families. DPW has already started working with surrounding neighborhoods on the design of this playground, and we’re hopeful construction will take place this summer. If you are interested in the future of this playground, please provide your thoughts here.
Bridges are another major focus of investment in the Northside this year. The Swindell Bridge (also known as the East Street Bridge), which connects Northview Heights to Perry Hilltop, will be renovated at a cost of $2.9 million over the next four years, thanks to a 95% matching grant from the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) at PennDOT. The City is just beginning the planning process, so residents should look out for community engagement meetings over the next two years. I am also proud to announce that the City allocated $1.5 million for the restoration of the 30th Street River Avenue Bridge, which connects Waterfront Drive on Washington’s Landing (Herr’s Island) to River Avenue. The replacement of the Lowrie Street Bridge in Troy Hill is also nearing completion. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of Troy Hill residents, we were able to allocate $150,000 to repair the elevated sidewalk on Troy Hill Road. The sidewalk is considered a bridge and requires more substantial structural repairs. Finally, the $4.9 million construction of the West Ohio Street Bridge is underway and should be completed this year, reconnecting the West Commons with Allegheny Circle.
The two-way conversion of the Allegheny Circle will begin this summer. This $3.7 million renovation will include substantial pedestrian safety upgrades and traffic calming measures and is funded by a previous Capital Budget as well as federal SMART and CMAQ grants. Check out the Department. of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI)’s current projects page to see the full project.
I was thrilled that the City was awarded a $1.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant to renovate the Brighton Heights Healthy Active Living Center. We have matched this grant with an additional $1 million for this critical project. This is in addition to the $500,000 we have invested to remove lead and asbestos and make other necessary improvements. Currently, seniors meet in the basement of the building while the two upper floors of the building are unusable. I’m looking forward to working with the Brighton Heights community to make this building a true community center.
I worked with the Department of City Planning (DCP) to earmark $80,000 for a joint Neighborhood Plan for Marshall-Shadeland and Brighton Heights. Of the 90 neighborhoods across the City, these two neighborhoods were the only ones to receive these funds in 2021. I’m excited to work with DCP and the community to create a strategy for the future of these neighborhoods.
Much more funding is allocated to Northside projects than we have space to talk about in this month’s article, but I hope this list inspires you to think about projects for the 2022 Capital Budget and participate in this year’s community input process. A capital project stands the best chance of being funded when there is broad and demonstrated community support. Explore the 2021 Capital Budget here.
The Office of Management and Budget holds two Capital Budget Deliberative Forums in the summer and also shares a survey and a budget simulation tool to collect additional community feedback. Sign up for the Office of Community Affairs newsletter for updates here. Council members typically submit Capital Budget requests in July. Please also contact my office to share your neighborhood’s Capital Budget priorities via phone at (412) 255-2135, email us at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to hearing from you.
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1