Hill District masterplan's almost ready

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Work is almost finished on the Greater Hill District’s masterplan, a tool that has been built by the community to proactively shape, guide and attract investment.

This plan included consideration of about 15 smaller, site specific plans within the Hill over the past decade. One is the Greenprint that landscape architect Walter Hood from Oakland, Cal. was hired to design.viewfromhill

Against the backdrop of continuing drama over the Civic Arena’s fate, this plan calls for development to replace it, to reconnect Downtown and the Hill.

The Historic Review Commission will consider whether to recommend historic status for the Igloo next month.

That would delay its demolition; the measure has to make it through the planning commission and city council.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle encouraged all residents and stakeholders in the Hill and Uptown to protect their own interests by getting involved in the process of the masterplan, which has one more phase — implementation.  A community meeting will be called for late March to present the plan to the public. The date will be posted on the site in the link above.

The cornerstones of the plan begin with the imperative "to build on the legacy" of the neighborhood.

Its goals include housing that ranges from affordable to market rate for renters and owners, making sure that current and displaced residents can stay and return; improvements to the existing swaths of greenspace and reuse of vacant lots in the development of recreation; transportation options that include bicycle lanes, and to return Centre Avenue to its former "Main Street" glory.

After about a year of meetings, changing consultants and more meetings, the steering committee is "in the process of vetting what should go into the final version," the councilman said.

The plan can be implemented in parts -- by neighborhood planners as funding becomes available and as development presents itself. The Greenprint is one of the "tangible steps we can work on right away," he said.

The councilman’s number is 412-255-2134 if you want to talk to him or his staff about the plan.

Urban designers from Sasaki Associates and Stull + Lee managed the planning process, with support from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Heinz Foundation, the Pittsburgh Community Foundation and Allegheny County.

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