Seeding Prosperity and Revitalizing Corridors (SPARC)

Program Area: ReClaim

Topic: Community Engagement, Community Gardens, Education, Vacant Land, Workforce Development, Youth

Year: 2011, 2012, 2013

Neighborhood: East Liberty, Larimer

Seeding Prosperity and Revitalizing Corridors (SPARC) combines the expertise of various organizations to manage the city’s vacant lots using green approaches. These strategies have the potential to drive economic development, remediate environmental hazards such as excess storm water, prepare empty sites for future development, and work with the neighborhoods of Larimer and East Liberty to transition vacant land to productive reuse.  SPARC provides a unique opportunity to provide work for youth and teach youth about horticulture, and job readiness.

The space that is now referred to as the Larimer Village Green was the centerpiece of the SPARC project.  In 2008 it was a GTECH sunflower garden that was transitioned into a community garden of 39 beds.  As community planning processes identified the space as the community’s civic greenspace, GTECH sought to increase interaction and programming on the site.

SPARC piloted six different scenarios on eleven sites along Larimer Avenue corridor. As redevelopment discussions continue, we take pride in our efforts and hope our participation has contributed to community awareness and engagement. The partners involved in SPARC are complementary organizations who have worked on vacant land issues throughout the county. They contributed the knowledge and technical assistance to work with community organizations to determine the right green strategies for Larimer Avenue. This project wouldn’t be possible without volunteers that contributed over 500 hours to carry out the implementation of these projects, creating a cornerstone within the Larimer and East Liberty Neighborhoods.


3C after 2012
Mennonite Volunteers on Site 12
Youth crew at work

Sunflower harvest at the intersection of Larimer Avenue and Meadow Street - 2011

Constructing fence at the Larimer Village Green - 2011

The Larimer Community Garden - 2010

Gateway Garden at the intersection of East Liberty Boulevard and Larimer Avenue - 2013

East Liberty Boulevard medians - 2012

Fence building crew - 2011

Student Conservation Association crew in action - 2011

Working with Starbucks and Manchester Bidwell volunteers to cleanup the corridor - 2013

Starbuck volunteers and GTECH construct a pop bottle greenhouse - 2013

Larimer Rain Garden - 2012


The Greening of Larimer  Pittsburgh City Paper | May 2, 2012

The plan is ambitious; there might not be another one in the region like it — certainly not in a neighborhood so touched by poverty. Yet Larimer has already seen tangible results, including a community garden. Moreover, this year Larimer became the first city neighborhood to join the … [read more]

 Support Funding

We want to thank RK Mellon, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund, and an anonymous funder for their support for SPARC.

Special Thanks

We also want to thank Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Grow Pittsburgh, Student Conservation Association, The Kingsley Association, The Penn State Center, and K.R.J. Landscaping for their support, ultimately helping to implement the visions of the Larimer Consensus Group, The Larimer Green Team, East Liberty Development Inc, and residents of Larimer and East Liberty.


  • Penn State Extension

  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

  • The Student Conservation Association

  • Grow Pittsburgh

  • The Kingsley Association