In addition to the five historic Regional Asset District parks (Riverview, Highland, Schenley, Emerald View, and Frick), the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy works alongside community groups in a variety of neighborhood and community parks.
Allegheny Commons Park
Built in 1867 by what was the City of Allegheny, Allegheny Commons is Pittsburgh’s oldest park. Known in part for being home to many of the city’s oldest trees and its wide Victorian-era promenade (to accommodate large hoop skirts as ladies passed), Allegheny Commons has long been the front yard for several of Pittsburgh’s most socio-economically and racially diverse neighborhoods. In 1999 citizens formed a group, the Allegheny Commons Initiative, and completed The Master Plan for Allegheny Commons.
The park originally featured four spectacular fountains. Over time each fountains was filled or shut down due to city budget and staffing constraints. As part of the third phase of the master plan, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the Allegheny Commons Initiative and the Northside Leadership Conference, will oversee design, construction, and restoration of the fountain and surrounding areas in the North Commons.
Arsenal and Leslie Parks
Arsenal and Leslie Parks serve Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhoods. The 20-acre Arsenal Park is a well-used community space with a rich and visible heritage. The park sits at the location of the historic Allegheny Arsenal, established during the War of 1812, and site of the nation’s largest civilian disaster during the Civil War: the explosion of September 17, 1862. A bronze plaque located at the main entrance of Arsenal Middle School commemorates the 78 lives lost from the disaster.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was invited by community partners Lawrenceville Corporation, Lawrenceville United, and Friends of Arsenal Park to help develop a park master plan in 2014. An exciting next step for these two greenspaces seeped in local history, the master plan is a collaborative effort shared by the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, Friends of Arsenal Park, and the Leslie Park Collective.
August Wilson Park
Before 2009, the status of August Wilson Park (formerly Cliffside Park) could have been described as lost but not forgotten. After witnessing years of the park’s decline and deterioration, residents rallied to preserve and reimagine this important community asset. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Hill District community organizations, and the City of Pittsburgh, are excited to present a completely renovated August Wilson Park!
Opened to the public on August 6th, 2016, the new August Wilson Park features a number of improvements and an expanded view of the rivers. The rolling, fully accessible park features public art inspired by neighborhood children; an installation of vintage photographs from Pittsburgh native Charles "Teenie" Harris and the Oliver M. Kaufmann Photograph Collection; and quotations from beloved Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson.
This 78.5-acre community park is a gathering place for the neighborhoods of Beltzhoover, Knoxville, Bon Air and Allentown. McKinley Park has been a public asset since the 1870s, in its heyday featuring a handsome bandstand and shelter house, groomed trails, and its own park ranger. By the beginning of the 21st century, much of this had been lost and residents sought to revive the park by focusing initially on an entrance project.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy completed the McKinley Park Entrance and Rain Gardens project in 2013, which reconnected the community with the park via accessible pathways, restored an historic stone wall and steps, and constructed a porous asphalt parking lot with rain gardens, lighting, and seating. Presently, the Parks Conservancy is working with community partners and the City of Pittsburgh on a green infrastructure project in the Chicken Hill area of McKinley Park.
Originally a piece of farmland owned by William Sheraden, this 88-acre park was set aside for public use by the City of Pittsburgh in 1914 and has been a part of the fabric of the Sheraden community ever since. Situated in a wooded valley, quietly secluded from the surrounding streets, Sheraden Park includes picnic areas, ball fields, sports courts, a swimming pool and playgrounds.
South Side Park
Nestled on all sides by neighborhood streets, South Side Park is unique in its location and topography. A hidden 64-acre gem just up the hill from the bustling Carson Street, this neighborhood park has been chronically under utilized. The park is a major focus of revitalization efforts through the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association. More information about South Side Park's history and restoration.