In City Parks, We’re Showing That Green Infrastructure Works

Sep 18, 2016 11:00:00 AM by Heather Sage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is aiding efforts to fix outdated sewer infrastructure (“A Sewer Solution for Pittsburgh, Now,” Aug. 28 Forum). Partnering with the city of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Alcosan and others, we are demonstrating the effectiveness of green infrastructure within Pittsburgh’s parks.

We’ve been a leader in protecting trees, plants and soils that hold and filter stormwater and in constructing landscape elements to naturally manage stormwater for nearly 15 years. Examples can be seen in Highland Park (Babbling Brook and seasonal pools); Schenley Park (Visitor Center and Cafe, Beacon Street meadow, Bob O’Connor Golf Course, Westinghouse Memorial); McKinley Park (upper park entrance and rain gardens); and at the newly opened Frick Environmental Center. With experts at the University of Pittsburgh, we’re documenting how our projects work to reduce water entering our sewer system. Simultaneously, we’re improving the health of park ecosystems, creating new wildlife habitat, reducing flooding and supporting community health and development goals.

Cleaning our rivers is possible by investing in our parks. Enhancing natural systems can become operational quickly and effectively. That happens with committed partners and smart plans — like the “green-first” approach called for by Mayor Bill Peduto, maximizing opportunities to invest in greenspaces first, then right-sizing any gray infrastructure years later, after dramatically reducing the need and overall costs.

Parks offer myriad benefits for all, and so too does green infrastructure. As we celebrate our 20th year working to improve the quality of life for Pittsburgh, we’re proud to stand with regional leaders in calling for effective green solutions to our flooding and water pollution challenges, and we’re honored to help offer those solutions.

HEATHER SAGE
Director of Community Projects
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
South Side

Read the original letter here