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Investing in our urban forests creates a healthier, safer, more vibrant community

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

A message from Tiffany Taulton, Hazelwood Initiative director of community initiatives

I am so excited to share this special April edition of Earth Day news coverage! The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the start of a new series of community initiatives focused on the environment and sustainability here at Hazelwood Initiative.

In the spring of 2020, TreeVitalize awarded Hazelwood Initiative 25 trees to plant on the former YMCA site on Chatsworth Avenue, and the Lytle Land playground. That fall, we began a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, thanks to support from the Trust for Public Land, to rehabilitate the Hazelwood Greenway. That partnership grew in 2021 to include Landforce - which hoped to train and hire residents from the community to do the work - as well as Allegheny Goatscape, Tree Pittsburgh, and Councilman Corey O’Connor.

Tiffany Taulton, Hazelwood Initiative director of community initiativesPhoto by Ray Gerard

2021 was a big year! We completed two community surveys using the internet, phone calls, and volunteers who went door-to-door and tabled at events. We heard from more than 300 residents who told us which parks you visit, how often, what you like to do there, and what you would like to see in Greater Hazelwood’s green spaces.

Dozens of you showed up for hikes, cleanup events, and our monthly environmental development meetings to voice your concerns about the environmental impact of proposed developments and to give input on how our com-munity should look in the future. Together, we planted over 200 trees in our community last year. And your energy inspired other communities, from Turtle Creek to Churchill to Aliquippa and beyond!

By late 2021, we were named a finalist in the Climate Challenge Cup, with Greater Hazelwood being featured in a video presentation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in our sister city of Glasgow, Scotland. What’s more, the National Recreation & Parks Association awarded the City of Pittsburgh’s OnePGH Fund a $433,000 grant to continue improving the city's greenways as a tool for social and climate justice. Lastly, Mayor Bill Peduto requested that our Hazelwood Greenway, along with five others, be designated official city parks as one of his final acts in office.

Hazelwood has shown the world how investing in the health of our urban forests can create a healthier, safer and more vibrant community. Community development isn’t just about housing, or education, or jobs, or health or public safety. It’s about all those things. IT’S ABOUT ECOSYSTEMS.

The Greater Hazelwood community plan emphasizes preserving affordable housing and protecting it from floods. It prioritizes improving public safety and health. It expresses our concerns about mental health and preparing for the jobs of the future. These issues are related and must be addressed together.

Join us Saturday, April 23, to celebrate Earth Day and our recent successes. Join us to learn how we plan to build community health and community wealth even further this year through our green space and new Healthy Homes initiatives.


For more information on the Earth Day celebration in Hazelwood, visit https://www.facebook.com/hazelwoodinitiative.

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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