This project evolved into truly a community effort. Approximately 20 residents volunteered their time to construct the playground area, and township employees also contributed extensive labor. Bankson Engineers donated their professional services to design the space. Furthermore, the community raised approximately $5,000 in cash donations. With all of these in-kind, volunteer, professional services, and cash donations in place, the township was awarded a Keystone grant of $47,000 in 2002 and an additional $5,000 was amended to the contract in 2003. By 2004, the playground was completed.
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile trail between Pittsburgh PA and Cumberland MD, where it joins the 184-mile C & O Canal Towpath, extending the off-road experience all the way to Washington, DC. The trail provides a safe, clean and motor traffic free expedition through spectacular water gaps and historic tunnels and over breathtaking viaducts, taking full advantage of the railroad engineering expertise to find the easiest grade. It is bringing hope, pride and opportunity to economically depressed towns. New businesses are springing up in these “Trail Towns” catering to visitors and the local residents.
The Ghost Town Trail is designated as a National Trail by the U. S. Department of the Interior and offers many interpretive opportunities. Trail users can learn about the importance of riparian areas and see the impacts of acid mine drainage, and explore historical sites like the Eliza Iron Furnace, which supplied crude iron to southwestern Pennsylvania communities in the mid-1800s.
Allegheny Commons Park is a short walk from major churches, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the National Aviary, a public school, and several daycare centers. Thousands of children take advantage of the space on a regular basis. However, the park’s aging playground had become unsafe over the years. The City of Pittsburgh led a community engagement process to provide the public with the opportunity to help design a new playground, including input from neighborhood children. Thousands of children ages 2-12 now enjoy a safe, up-to code place to play, including safe, age appropriate equipment for 2-5 year olds.
The Special Kids Zone in Butler County provides a playground for children with special needs, a group that has been underserved for years. The playground was planned by a committee of professionals who work with children with special needs daily. Families and organizations now come from throughout the county and region to use this facility.
The Scottdale Public Library has become a community hub and has filled a real need for the residents of the borough and surrounding communities. A common comment heard is “the library is a warm and welcoming place and represents the efforts of so many individuals and groups, a true example of money well spent!”
Built in 1895, the Allegheny Observatory is one of the major astronomical research institutions of the world. The observatory’s exterior was in need of repair; pieces of the terra cotta surface were breaking off, there was cracking and erosion of mortar joints, and water infiltrated through the deteriorated parapet, damaging the terra cotta pieces. The Observatory restoration is part of the ongoing renewal of the Pittsburgh’s Riverview Park.
The Roxbury Bandshell is one of just a handful of remaining bandshells built throughout the Country by the Works Progress Administration. The use of Keystone funds to restore the roof of this building that had been proposed for demolition sparked a renewed interest in the bandshell. It now hosts a variety of events, including local theatre productions and weekly summer concerts.
In an area with limited protected open space, Dead Man’s Hollow Wildlife Preserve is 400 acres of peace and quiet. Once immersed in the wooded stream valley, the nearby factories, strip malls, and traffic seem to be a world away. The work done on the preserve, including constructing two-and-half miles of trails and clearing out twenty tons of old tires and trash, was accomplished with the help of U.S. Steel workers and local supporters.
Lawrence County established a greenway and recreation plan, which will facilitate the protection of sensitive conservation areas and enhance recreational opportunities for its residents. The new plan develops a county-wide rural recreation plan for municipalities with little or no access to recreation lands and facilities. It calls for the community to develop a trail system, aid in the preservation and reclamation of natural floodplains to enhance water quality, and protect wildlife habitat and open space.