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Pittsburgh Regional Parks

Landscape Management

Pittsburgh Regional Parks
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The City of Pittsburgh has a multi-strand emerald and silver necklace of parks, trails, and water. Within the City there are 171 park facilities comprising 2,800 acres with four historic, valuable, large parks, Schenley, Frick, Highland and Riverview Parks making up 60% of the overall parkland serving as the jewels in the city system. Allegheny County has nine exceptionally large parks, comprising 12,000 acres to form a ring just outside the city limits. Together the city and county parks are accessible within 20 minutes insuring ready access for each Allegheny County resident. The parklands are complemented throughout the region with the silver strands of lakes, streams and rivers, many of them in the parks. It is through ongoing efforts of Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh Officials along with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC) that these amenities enhance the quality of Pittsburgh City life, making it an enviable place to live and work.

Heritage Landscapes is part of the multi-disciplinary, experienced, expert consultant team formed in the summer of 2005 to evaluate the track record of the city's public-private partnership with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. This partnership was strengthened in 2000 by the management recommendations made in the Heritage Landscapes led Preservation and Management Plan for Mellon Park . This current assessment is being made by the PPC expert consultant team in communication with representatives from the City of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County and the Financial Oversight Board, and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The team prepared background documents on a two-day agenda of meetings and work sessions to explore options for extending the partnerships, making site visits to view completed capital projects and overall park conditions. Sessions were conducted with various city and county representatives to discuss the status quo and potential directions. Renewal efforts looked at included: successful well-managed capital projects, initiatives for hands-on staff and volunteer efforts; increased expert knowledge, staff capability, skill development & training; effective community engagement and education through membership programs. Opportunities considered included: regional district asset funding, business model structures for private-not-for profits and revenue generation in Pittsburgh and beyond. The expert panel included comparisons to other public-private operations such as the Phipps Conservatory and Pittsburgh Zoo, to address successes, failures and the fragile nature of the public private relationship which needs to be further strengthened. The management assessment is already being used as a tool for PPC initiatives in their ongoing partnerships on behalf of the Regional Parks.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Pittsburgh Regional Parks Management Assessment, World Class Assets to Steward More Effectively

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, with Teeter Associates, Inc, ETM Associates, LLC, with experts Ralph Cryder, Los Angeles Parks , Brigid Sullivan, Louisville Metro Parks