Action Team ACTION – Green Up

Here’s information from the Green Up Action Team captain Craig Marcus about implementation of the Team’s first project:

I wanted to keep you up to date with my progress at 6544-6546 Frankstown Ave, the corner lot next to the pool hall. I cleared a large portion of the lot of weeds and high grass, and have constructed 5 containers for raised beds made from white oak and stainless steel screws. These containers should last a very long while. Three of them are 4 x 10 feet x 18 inches high, and in these, I’m planning on planting some veggies and herbs. The other 2 are 2-1/2 x 10 feet x 12 inches high nearer the border along Putnam St. These will contain flowers and ornamental stuff. I got 8 yards of topsoil delivered today, which wasn’t quite enough – 1 of the thinner beds will need more soil.

(below) A couple of pictures as the lot looked 2 weeks ago.

(below) These show the current state of the lots: there are 5 containers for raised beds, Enough of the lot has been cleared to allow easy access to the beds. One of the gentleman at the pool hall gave me permission to use their water.

Larimer Green Up Team

Co-Chairs: Carolyn Peeks, Craig Marcus

Facilitators: Danae Clark

Next meeting – June 12, 2008, 6:00pm @ Marcus Studios, 6545 Hamilton Avenue

June 5th Meeting Notes

Attendees: Malik Bankston, Danae Clark, Fred Denorscia, Robert Germany, Kyle Holbrook, Thomas Jackson, Craig Marcus, Evelyn Peeks, Nate Wildfire

Introductions

Several project ideas emerged during the introductory segment of the meeting:

-side lot beautification

-residential assistance for seniors

-commercial corridor beautification

-gateway area beautification

-passive parks

-mural project

-public art/sculpture

Several project ideas were discussed in depth:

Commercial corridor beautification

Craig Marcus has cleared the lot located at Frankstown and Putnam and is ready to install raised beds for planting. Only half of the site is City owned, and we discussed the ramifications of planting on the adjacent delinquent lot and/or trying to acquire that lot. Craig is pursuing an application for a garden waiver and will work in conjunction with ELCCC. We discussed possible stakeholders for this lot including Lincoln School. Malik Bankston recommended that we contact Dr. Holly at the school and arrange for a “BlitzBuild” community day at the site.

Mural project

Kyle Holbrook, artist for the mural project, was in attendance. He and Malik reported on the project’s current status and emphasized the need to pin down two possible locations so that additional funding can be sought. Project need is $30,000 with $10,000 committed from Senator Ferlo’s office. Possible locations include: Meadow Street bridge, building on NE corner of Meadow and Larimer, laundromat on Larimer, East Indian restaurant on Larimer, and Beckwith Machinery building. The existing mural committee must also determine the content or themes of the mural. “How do we want Larimer to be remembered? What do we want Larimer to be known for in the future?” We agreed that the mural must make a positive and permanent impact in the community. Many felt that the mural would have the greatest impact if it were to be combined or integrated with a greening project. The goal is to start the mural project with youth in September.

Gateway beautification

We explored the idea of targeting gateway areas as a way of building on the greening efforts already completed by Penn State Cooperative Extension. The Meadow Street bridge area would benefit from more plantings, and it is a possible location for a mural. The Larimer Avenue corridor has been cleared between Carver and Mayflower and is ready for a green up project. The East Liberty Blvd underpass is a major gateway that needs lighting, signage, and a clean and green overhaul. This project location would include both sides of the underpass, the median on the boulevard, as well as the lot at East Liberty Blvd and Frankstown across from the Kingsley Center. Youth involved in the Penn State horticulture program have already created a landscape design for this lot, and Malik will get a copy of it for the next meeting. We will decide if we want to follow up on this design as a first project. A possible funding source for implementation is Walnut Capital. Nate Wildfire suggested that we also consider the long-term possibilites along East Liberty Blvd. The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh will be posting an RFP in the near future for projects that address “multi-neighborhood corridors.” He suggested that ELDI and ELCCC could partner on this project. Many street trees need to be replaced along the median. Funding is available through the Treevitalize program, but more community residents need to be trained as tree tenders in order to make this project possible. We will explore the possibility of working with Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest to enroll youth in this program.

Passive park

Robert Germany introduced the idea of creating a park in the Lincoln area bordered by Turrett and Armstrong. His church is a stakeholder there, and it’s difficult to keep the vacant area free of litter. We will keep this project idea on the table and discuss it further.

Side lots and residential lawns

Evelyn Peeks discussed the need for making side lots available to residents and assisting residents in landscaping the lots. Seniors also need assistance with their front lawns. The action team agreed to look into ways to facilitate the side lot acquisition process and address this issue as an ongoing project.

We discussed the importance of developing short-term projects with a long-term vision in mind. While we didn’t pin down a project at our first meeting, we seem to be leaning toward working on gateway beautification areas.

Goals for next meeting:

-identify sites of interest on map

-pin down project idea

-develop plan for involving community

-set a date for starting project

Next meeting will be Thursday, June 12, 2008, 6:00-7:00 pm at Marcus Studio.

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