Allegheny Land Trust was awarded a $69,400 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) 2021 Community Conservation Partnerships Grants Program on December 30, 2021, toward two community conservation projects in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood, and successfully closed on the Healcrest project.
Since 2019, ALT, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC), and surrounding community members have been working together to permanently protect the green space that was formerly home to the Healcrest Urban Farm. The entirety of the project will protect 1.5 acres and is made up of 15 individual parcels. The land ALT closed on in December is the first phase and protects 7 of the 15 parcels.
We’re grateful that, with community leadership and support, we’ve completed phase one of this unique project – which is ALT’s first completed green space project under out Community Conservation initiative,” ALT community conservation senior director Alyson Fearon said. “DCNR’s funding was crucial to the success of phase one, and we’re excited to bring that funding into the city to protect urban green space.”
The group’s draft plans re-imagine the small parcels of farmland as a gathering space for Environmental Charter School (ECS) Middle students, and the surrounding community, that could help preserve the land’s organic soils, apple trees, and other vital amenities. This vision was guided by the Garfield Green Zone Plan, the Garfield 2030 Plan, and the Garfield Community Trail plan, all of which were created by local stakeholders with neighborhood goals in mind.
ALT and a select group of stakeholders – comprised of neighbors of the green space, the BGC, Grounded Strategies, and ECS Middle – worked together to secure the land under contract, draft a vision plan, kick-start fundraising efforts, and begin minor site clean-up.
“The BGC is thrilled to see this land protected and preserved as a green space for Garfield,” BGC’s Greenzone Coordinator Madeline Weiss said. “Health green spaces are vital to a thriving community, and we are looking forward to this opportunity to nurture the natural ecosystem while providing usable outdoor space for residents.”
Now that phase one is complete, Weiss is leading the additional site clean-up, neighborhood events, trail planning sessions, and trail-building activities as ALT works toward protecting land in the second phase of this project.