ReClaim Ambassador Projects: McKeesport and Northside

By: Jibran

Residents share their ideas with their neighbors for filling vacant lots in Pittsburgh and McKeesport.

Rochelle ReClaim McKeesport Ambassador Presents
Nicole at ReClaim Northside presentation

ReClaim Northside Ambassadors pose after their presentation.

The ReClaim McKeesport group posing with the Mayor and other City officials.

Linda and Riley of ReClaim Northside, presented their Asylum Park idea.

Rochelle smiles as she presents her "Empty to Established" project.

Nicole will be installing a parklet next to a set of City stairs in Fineview.

Both the ReClaim McKeesport and ReClaim Northside Ambassadors had the opportunity to present their proposed projects to their communities. Friends, family and prominent public figures came to support the Ambassadors by attending and offered help in whatever ways they could – donating money, signing up to volunteer or offering up words of encouragement.

Below is a brief description of each ambassador’s project. You can learn more about an individual by clicking on their name and you can learn the details of their project by clicking on their design.

McKeesport Ambassadors

Dana Jackson - Dana is transforming a once troublesome reservoir into a flourishing community space. The space will utilize recycled materials for seating and art pieces.Dana design

Alandra Kahl - Alandra and fellow PSUGA Professor, April, have teamed up to turn a vacant piece of land at the entrance to campus into a more welcoming community and outdoor learning space.

Julie Fleckenstein - Because the Great Allegheny Passage trail is a big tourist attraction for McKeesport, she is focusing on a vacant lot right alongside the popular biking and hiking path.

Kim Brownfield - After asking her neighbors, she discovered that the residents would like to see a community gathering space and a safe place for youth to play. She strives to create that space for her community.

Rhonda Moorer - She will be turning a vacant lot into a youth-centric community space. Her site will boast checkerboards, picnic tables and a gazebo on a lot where the Hitzrot House once stood

Sharon Soles - With her project she aspires to share personal connection and history with current residents and new comers. Sharon is creating a space that local organizations can use as an outside meeting and event space.

Rochelle Williams - She is transforming land once home to an abandoned apartment building into an embellished oasis that will enhance the beauty of Myer Park.

Shari Holland - Shari is building a garden on a former abandoned property that will act a space that will build connections and relationships between community members

Walt Yager - Walt is transforming a space that was once a bustling railroad crossing into a spontaneous gathering space for the community. 

Northside Ambassadors

Ayanna Lee-Davis - Ayanna lot project begins with removing invasive plants. The design incorporates native perennials, as well as open areas for neighborhood gatherings. Benches and planters on the lot will be build from reclaimed and recycled materials.

Matthew Yurkovich - As a way to bring the great outdoors to his community and connect his Pittsburgh neighbors to the greater ecosystem, Matthew came up with the idea of the Allegheny Mountains Lot – a micro woodland and wildflower meadow full of native plants and an intersecting trail.

Nicole Flaherty - A vacant lot in Fineview where a house once burned down has stood empty for many years. Nicole plans to transform the space, which is adjacent to the Biggs Avenue Stairs, into a peaceful garden for relaxing and enjoying nature.

Riley Baker and Linda Wallen - Working as a team, Linda and Riley put their heads together with their neighbors and came up with a design for the lot that has something for everyone. The design includes a picnic area, natural play space, pavilion for events, community garden and maypole.

Cynthia Levy-Mendoza - Cynthia will be working alongside those part of her organization, Brown Mamas, to create a welcoming corner lot with benches for those waiting for the bus, a Little Free Library and a beautiful flower garden.

Douglas Deckert - It’s Doug’s goal to create an outdoor space that encourages connectedness in Observatory Hill. His design for the space includes garden beds for the community, a campfire pit, lawn games and creative gardening spaces.

Angela Williams - Angela’s design focuses on creating a space as she puts it, “where life grows, and peace rests”. It will include a pathway into the lot, garden beds, a yoga area, a picnic table and a small pond.

Bridget Little - Every day hundreds of CCAC students walk through a vacant lot from the T stop to their campus. Bridget aspires to make this lot and safe and inviting place for Northside visitors. The updated design for the Mary Cassatt Garden will add trees, a defined path and whimsical, directional signage to the site.

Mark Rawlings - Mark’s design for his vacant lot incorporates its interesting topography by using each of its terraced section for different purposes, like vegetable garden beds, a brick patio, a bioswale to capture rainwater, a fish pond and a small open grassy space.

Read a Trib Live article about the McKeesport presentations here.

Read a Post Gazette article about the Northside presentations here.

What projects are you looking forward to? Tell us below!

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