ReClaim McKeesport Ambassador Program 2014-2015

Program Area: Ambassador Project, ReClaim

Topic: Community Engagement, Education & Training, Vacant Land

Year: Current

Neighborhood: McKeesport


ReClaim McKeesport is a year-long education program that assists community members in implementing change on vacant land. In McKeesport alone, there are over 2500 vacant lots. Program participants serve in the role of Ambassador to implement a green project on a vacant property of their choosing. Green projects may include food gardens, parklets, or playspaces.Using the tools, resources and knowledge gained over the past 6 months, Ambassadors will begin to ReClaim McKeesport.


As of October 2014, our cohort of community Ambassadors have been attending educational sessions and workshops, learning about the ways that vacant lots impact the community and thinking about ways to transform these vacant properties in ways that benefit everyone.  These educational sessions range from how to structure site access agreements to volunteer recruitment and management that will empower and equip Ambassadors to transform a parcel of vacant land in their community. Ambassadors will receive a micro-grant to implement their project, and throughout the spring and summer of 2015 will make their ideas come to life.

Meet the Ambassadors


ReClaim McKeesport Ambassadors 2015


What our Ambassadors are up to


Julie is beautifying a Trail Garden along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Alandra and April are engaging students on their En GAGE  garden at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

Hank is working on all of the sites.

Shari is creating a bright spot for her neighbors with her Library District Gateway Garden.

Rhonda is creating a community space on her Noah’s Ark Community Park.

Kim is playing on her Bouquet site.

Rochelle is turning an empty lot into an embellished oasis.

Sharon is attracting butterflies at the Palisades Butterfly Garden.

Walt is continuing to work at his historic downtown Railroad Crossing site.

Dana is storing all of the tools in new shed at her Reservoir Retreat.



Want to learn more about ReClaim McKeesport? Email James.

“My main idea is for there to be beauty – so when children and adults alike walk by they notice beauty rather than blight or disrepair”

— Shari Leidig Holland, ReClaim McKeesport Ambassador

McKeesport, PA, United States

ReClaim McKeesport Volunteer Day
Julie Site ReClaim McKeesport

Julie's site after a June volunteer day.

Alandra's site in May.

Dana's site after a June workday.

Digging out a flower bed on Walt's site in June.

Split rail fence being installed on Shari's site in July.

The entrance to Rhonda's site during a June workday.

Topsoil being delivered to Kim's site in June.

Hank planting a flower bed in May.

Volunteers work on Julie's garden bed

Julie's corner bed.

Julie's completed site.

Alandra & April posing on their site.

Shari stands next to her chalkboard sign, which will be use for community announcements.

Shari's nearly-complete site

Bricks line the entrance to Shari's site

The front bed, planted and mulched on Shari's site.