A MORE VIBRANT UPTOWN Our nationally recognized Main Street has everything: a well-known foodie scene, a collection of unique shops, professional offices that help keep us healthy and a central parklet for gatherings, performances and celebrations.
You knew there was a “but” coming. But the exposed aggregate sidewalks are cracked. There’s not enough power to successfully run a food truck, much less a concert soundstage, and the lighting is spotty. If you didn’t already know where the Mt. Lebanon T Station was to catch the light rail, you could wander around a bit before locating it. And the folks who get off the T for a Mt. Lebanon destination? Well, they get treated to a vista of dumpsters, pigeons and the backs of our Uptown buildings, without much direction on how to get to Uptown.
In three years, that will all change, as the municipality gears up for a public space improvement project called Vibrant Uptown. The $3.5 million plan includes more than $2 million for infrastructure improvements to Washington Road—such as sidewalks, lighting and electrical conduit—plus seating, planting areas and reconfiguration of spaces in front of the Mt. Lebanon Station and the Municipal Building. The project also calls for $553,552 for renovation of Parse Way, the “landing area” just above Mt. Lebanon Station. Another $903,000 is allocated for a placemaking plan, which includes public art and other enhancements to the streetscape.
Funding came from several sources; more than $1 million came from state grants and much of the rest came from a $5 million bond commissioners voted to issue this summer.
Leading the charge is Commercial Districts Manager Eric Milliron. As the primary link between the municipality and the business community, Milliron also serves as the liaison to several volunteer groups, including the Mt. Lebanon Partnership, a nonprofit development corporation that runs our Main Street program, and the Economic Development Council, which helps to attract businesses and keep everything running smoothly. The Partnership and the EDC both have a goal of keeping Uptown vital, beautiful and functioning at peak level.
Milliron also has gathered a new group, the Public Space Improvement Steering Committee, a collection of municipal officials, municipal engineers, Port Authority representatives, business owners, representatives from the Partnership and EDC and other community leaders to create the vision for the project. Mt. Lebanon’s Historic Preservation Board, Environmental Sustainability Board and Economic Development Council will also have seats at the table.
The committee will help guide the decisions to be made over the next three years, but the first task was to set a vision for the project. At its first meeting, the committee envisioned a project that would use best practices in urban design, using leading-edge design principles to create a community-serving public space. Among the principles the group embraced are: accessibility, connectivity, sustainability, innovation and inclusivity.
That may sound like a lot of buzzwords, but the project boils down to this: Uptown needs to serve all residents and guests in as many ways as possible.
The Mt. Lebanon public information office will be following this project from start to finish. Keep informed by reading your issues of Mt. Lebanon Magazine and checking in with lebomag.com and our biweekly e-newsletter, The Seven Ten, for additional updates.
VOLUNTEERS WELCOME Have some free time? Mt. Lebanon could use a little help. The municipality has plenty of opportunities for community-minded people who want to share their time and talents.
You may already know about Mt. Lebanon’s 18 boards and authorities, covering everything from zoning and planning issues to traffic, parks, sports and historic preservation, among others, but you may not be aware of the scope of volunteer opportunities available here.
The recreation department relies on hundreds of volunteers to keep costs down and make its programs run. Basketball, soccer and hockey coaches, ski chaperones, Club Lebo helpers and summer camp volunteers. If you’re interested in one-time events, the department needs help for the Pumpkin Patch Parade, Father/Son Campout, Egg Hunt and July 4.
The Mt. Lebanon Public Library has positions open for gardeners, or for staffing the Book Cellar, the library’s used book shop, or helping with shelving and pulling books and videos.
If you’re looking for something a little more action-oriented, the Mt. Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department has slots for combat firefighters, fire prevention inspectors and for community outreach.
The Mt. Lebanon Partnership, in cooperation with the Mt. Lebanon Commercial Districts Office, needs volunteers to help with a number of special events—The Uptown Farmers Market, First Fridays, the Artists’ Market and Lebo Light Nights.
Any volunteer positions that involve contact with children require a clearance under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.
You can pick up a volunteer application at the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building, 710 Washington Road, between 8:30 and 5 on weekdays. You can also download one from Mt. Lebanon’s Volunteer Connection page, www.mtlebanon.org/3396/Volunteer-Connection.
NEW HISTORY CENTER HOURS The Historical Society of Mount Lebanon’s history center has tweaked its operating hours to better reflect visitor preferences. The center, at 794 Washington Road, is now open Wednesdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 to 3.
Previously, the center was open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, but few people stopped by and the society had difficulty scheduling volunteer staff. The society will track visitation under this new schedule and will review attendance periodically.
The center’s next exhibit, “Spires Against the Sky: Houses of Worship in Mt. Lebanon,” opens early this month.
GRANT FOR ST. CLAIR CENTER The St. Clair Hospital Foundation received a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation for the construction of the hospital’s Dunlap Family Outpatient Center. The center, is named for Ed and Anna Dunlap, whose gift for the center was the largest in hospital history, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020.
The total projected cost of the center, including infrastructure, is $142 million. The hospital foundation has raised more than $28 million, including the Mellon grant. Tax exempt bonds and retained earnings will meet remaining costs.
The six-story outpatient center will house state-of-the-art clinical spaces, including pre- and post-operative suites, comprehensive diagnostic services and multidisciplinary physician offices, providing one-stop health care services. As part of the project, North Wren Drive was realigned to better connect with Bower Hill Road, increasing public safety and reducing traffic congestion.
“The Richard King Mellon Foundation has a long and storied history of philanthropy that enhances health and welfare throughout the region,” says G. Alan Yeasted, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer emeritus at St. Clair Hospital. “St. Clair is honored to be recognized with a grant from such an august organization.”
STUCK ON YOU
By popular request, all magazines delivered to homes contain a sticker for you to put on or near your trash can to remind you what is—and is not—recyclable. You also can leave the backing on and use a magnet to put that sticker on your refrigerator or on a bulletin board—wherever your family will see it. More detailed information is always available, 24 hours a day, at www.mtlebanon.org.
ID THE TREES The Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy is hosting a tree identification walk, 5:15 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 10, at the Cedar Boulevard entrance to Bird Park. Learn tree identification skills by investigating the leaves, bark and flowers. Joe Stavish, Community Education Coordinator for Tree Pittsburgh, will lead the walk.
Mt. Lebanon’s Environmental Sustainability Board will have a recycling or sustainability tip in each Mt. Lebanon Magazine.
It’s pumpkin month, but long after the Trick or Treaters have gone, you still have gourds to spare. What to do? Here are some suggestions:
Eat it Puree the flesh, make stock from the insides, roast the seeds.
Use it as a bird feeder.
Decorate it Put it on your Thanksgiving table filled with cut flowers or use as a planter or serving bowl.
Compost it Also, try decorating for fall, rather than just Halloween, to extend the decorating season. Try not to use disposable decorations like spider webbing. Try a local thrift shop for other decorations.