Fourth River Development’s Mark Schneider left the marks of his talents and creativity in city development throughout the City of Pittsburgh, but perhaps nowhere as profoundly as the Northside.
Schneider, who died on July 25 in a bicycle accident at the age of 55, played a key role in the development PNC Park, Heinz Field, Penn Brewery, Washington’s Landing and, more recently, Columbus Square in Manchester.
He is remembered by Northsiders as having a significant impact on the neighborhood a very active participant in Northside’s reclamation.
Schneider first became involved with the Northside in the late ’70s as a Vista volunteer in East Allegheny.
Through Vista, an AmeriCorps program designed to help fight poverty in America, Schneider became involved in development on the Northside, where he continued his innovative development work until his death.
“I would always tell people, my claim to fame was giving Mark his first job here,” said Barbara Burns, who worked with the Vista program and worked on many other projects in the Northside with Schneider.
Burns described the late ’70s as a “coming of age” for the Northside when individual communities began to realize the power in unity and directing development projects in their neighborhood.
She explained that Schneider was a part of a group of “bright, energetic people who wanted to do the right thing and really played an important role at the time.”
As well as working on various Northside projects with Vista, Schneider gained experience in community development, attended national conferences, lived in Fineview and played on the Northside recreational baseball team The Spaldines.
From Vista, Schneider moved to the Northside Civic Development Corp., which served as the development arm for Northside communities and played an especially large role in Penn Brewery’s development.
With Northside Civic, now Riverside Center for Innovation, Schneider continued his hands on and progressive approach to dealing with development issues until he moved into the private sector.
“Northside has lost a partner and friend. Our sincerest sympathies are extended to his family, friends and all who worked with him through the years,” said Mark Fatla, Northside Leadership Conference executive director.
“I just remember him as this tall, skinny guy sitting on our church office as a Vista volunteer,” said Burns. “But what an impression and footprint he left in this community.”