6 Vacant Land Projects that Need Your Help NOW!
By: Sara Innamorato
Check out these 6 grassroots crowdfunding projects that are making the Pittsburgh area even better place to live.
1. Ayanna Lee-Davis– The Perry Hilltop Beautification Garden
Ayanna wants people enter her neighborhood and not see an ugly vacant lot, but a beautiful community gathering space in her Perry Hilltop neighborhood.
“It’s an eyesore of open space that says, ‘Where am I?’ I thought it would be a good place for something beautiful.”
2. Dana Jackson– The Reservoir Retreat
There are 2,700 vacant lots in McKeesport and Dana is helping reclaim one of the largest–in fact, it is our largest Ambassador project ever! She volunteered to fundraise for a toolshed that will live her site, but will be accessible to all of her fellow ReClaim McKeesport Ambassadors and neighborhood do-gooders to help clean up vacant lots.
3. Cynthia Levy Mendoza – A Place for Moms, Welcome Corner
Cynthia’s mother had a huge influence on her life. In 2012 Cynthia started Pgh Brown Mama’s with the goal of “assisting African-American mothers in enjoying their motherhood journey.” For Cynthia, she saw a natural connection between her vacant land project and her organizations. She plans to use her project site to run Mastering Motherhood workshops, which will focus on giving mothers the skills and tools to more efficiently run their households.
4. Nicole Flaherty – The Biggs Hillside Garden
Nicole’s site in Fineview is a 7,000-square-foot lot that once housed a home that burned down in the 1980s. It is her vision that the space will be a revitalized gathering space (and restful place to sit after climbing all of those stairs!). The site will contain a bench, bird feeders and native plantings. For a donation of $20, you can buy a cubic yard of new planting soil.
5. Bridget Little – The Mary Cassatt Garden
Bridget Little of Manchester has plans for a traffic-calming garden on a triangle of land on Ridge Avenue that’s girded by a Route 279 on-ramp and off-ramp. Informally it has become a path used by hundreds of students a day going to and from the CCAC Campus. She wants to use the space as a way to connect visitors to all of the other amenities that the Northside has to offer. She plan on incorporating whimsical signage, trees and native plants onto the site.
6. Shari Leidig-Holland – Library District Gateway Garden
Shari’s hope is to transform a vacant lot at the entry of the neighborhood to a beautiful gateway garden with perennial flowers, ornamental grasses and knockabout roses. She is well on her way – Shari has raised all of her funds for her Free Little Library (she’s a rockstar). Her project site is still in need of volunteers and excited McKeesport community members to help out on workdays!
All crowdfunding projects are hosted on the ioby website –ioby believes that it should be easy to make meaningful change “in our backyards” – the positive opposite of NIMBY. We agree!