by Ziggy Edwards
Summer is almost here and playgrounds will soon be filled with kids. A few playgrounds in the fifth council district have been tagged for repairs or upgrades. To get the latest updates, I spoke with Councilman Corey O’Connor and other neighbors working to improve their nearby recreation facilities.
Bud Hammer Field/Playground
Councilman O’Connor said during a May 9 phone call that the playground at 140-198 Bigelow Street is being rebuilt and currently under construction. An unused court where neighbors walk their dogs is being converted to a grassy area. But the biggest improvement will be lighting on the baseball field. According to Councilman O’Connor, installation of the lights is set to begin in the fall after baseball season ends. He said he secured $550K for the lights thanks to a budget amendment that redirected funding from the Mon-Oakland Connector shuttle road.
Burgwin Field/Recreation Building
The same budget amendment is funding a $25K rebuild of the steps around Burgwin Field. Councilman O’Connor said he plans to request about $150K in next year’s budget for work inside the building, such as locker room improvements for the Hazelwood Cobras football program.
James “Papoose” Cole, president of the Greater Hazelwood Youth Sports and Mentoring Organization and the Hazelwood Cobras, said during a May 10 phone call that he’d like to see “top to bottom” renovations to address safety issues. Noting that Burgwin Rec also hosts the Cobra After-School Program, he added, “The building should be brought up to code for a daycare.”
Mr. Cole said he met with City officials at Burgwin to begin discussions on the needed renovations the day we spoke.
Four Mile Run Playground
In 2021, Carnegie Mellon University donated $250K to the City of Pittsburgh that is earmarked for Four Mile Run Playground and Lewis Playground. Four Mile Run’s playground renovation is in the early planning stages. Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works launched a webpage and on April 7 held a virtual meeting to solicit ideas from the community. The City plans to hold another meeting this summer. “They will be coming back in July with a concept design,” Councilman O’Connor said.
As with Four Mile Run Playground, improvements are still being planned for this playground on Irvine Avenue between Minden and Berwick streets. “We redid the play area a couple years back,” Councilman O’Connor said. He added that the City was gathering cost estimates for improvements that would address needs already reported by playground users. In particular, the playground lacks a drinking fountain. Councilman O’Connor also mentioned stabilizing the wall that runs along Irvine Avenue. He said there has been discussion about removing the deck hockey rink. There may be a public meeting to get community ideas for replacing the rink, although no date has been set.
Pittsburgh Greenfield K-8 Playground
This school is one of the few in our area with no playground at all. But fundraising efforts to build one are gaining momentum, thanks in part to a recent $50K grant from the Heinz Foundation. Greenfield School PTO member Marianne Holohan reported that so far, the PTO has raised an additional $17K from other organizations and community members toward a $150K goal.
When we spoke on May 10, Ms. Holohan was preparing for the school’s May 13 playground fundraising kickoff featuring an obstacle course race and block party.
“We’re hoping to boost donations and generate excitement about the playground,” she said of the event. She hoped neighbors who attend the kickoff or donate would encourage others to get involved.
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