Northsiders came together for National Night Out, an annual community initiative to highlight police-community relationships and build neighborhood fellowship.

Story and photos by Ashlee Green

National Night Out (NNO) 2019 was a hit. This nationwide initiative to put a spotlight on relations between police and community members happens annually on the first Tuesday of August. It brought residents together in Northside neighborhoods including Historic Deutschtown, Marshall-Shadeland, Allegheny City Central, Fineview, Perry Hilltop, and Spring Garden.

Northsiders had the chance to meet and greet officers from the Zone One Police Department, and firefighters from Engine House 38 in Northview Heights. Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office were also present. Each event included food, games, music, vendors, community representatives, bouncy houses, children’s activities, and more.

Members of the East Commons Community Garden were present alongside their garden beds for the Historic Deutschtown NNO meetup. Garden beds are located on the site of the old tennis courts, adjacent to the Sue Murray Swimming Pool.

Dennis Ginther, chair of the Community Garden Committee for the East Allegheny Community Council explained that funding for the garden beds, which members made from kits of pre-cut wood, lined with landscape paper, and filled with soil and compost, was mainly raised through an ioby crowdsourcing campaign and a fundraiser held at Allegheny City Brewing. According to Gina Grone, executive director of the North Side/North Shore Chamber of Commerce, while there are just 17 garden beds on site now, including two community beds, this is only half of what members of the East Commons Community Garden plan to install. The rest of the beds, Grone said, will be built next year.

Phil and Leslie Hake are members of the community garden and said that every Wednesday night serves as a work night for the group, and a representative from Grow Pittsburgh is present to answer questions.

“The community really came together,” said Leslie Hake. “It’s hard work, but fun.”

To find out more information about NNO, visit natw.org.