So what are you doing on Tuesday evening? Our May Civic Council membership meeting saw plenty of both new and old (only in terms of regular attendance) faces — all gathering to get the latest scoop on the many new projects about to get underway in our community. We will all be getting together again on June 13th at 7:30 pm to find out what’s going on. This is where you get the straight story and ask questions, where you can bring your local issues or problems, and most importantly where you and your neighbors decide what we’re going to do about them.
Of course, praise for work well done — and ideas for the future—are always welcome too. At our June meeting we’ll be saying “THANK YOU” to the great many homeowners, tour guides, organizers and volunteers — and, of course, chairperson Carol Gomrick — who made our annual Wine & Garden Tour last weekend a rousing success!
This monthly meeting is where and when we make decisions about our neighborhood — decisions that, in ways both small and large, will affect you. And we always have a good time socializing and enjoying refreshments while we’re at it.
Everyone is welcome – second Tuesday of each month, 7:30 pm, in the Calvary Church social hall, corner of Beech and Allegheny (use the Beech Avenue entrance). The meeting’s usually over by 9:00. It’s also a great way for newer folks to meet your neighbors and get involved! We hope to see you on Tuesday evening.
On June 25th of 1962, the second organizing meeting was held for the group that would become the Allegheny West Civic Council. Held in the social room of Calvary United Methodist Church — where the AWCC has met ever since — this session focused on identifying what types of civic action were possible, and how best to be effective as an agent for positive change in a world that seemed hellbent on eradicating the tiny community.
Problems with liquor licenses in the neighborhood were a major concern, as was a perception that a large number of properties generally appeared to be rundown. While those attending the meeting were largely neighborhood residents and local businesspeople, many of those whose properties were problematic were absentee owners without a direct local presence — some just waiting to be bought out for “redevelopment.”
Of particular note was a discussion regarding “state of mind,” in which it was agreed that there was a distinct difference between those who “cared” about the community — now and in the future — and those who simply used it without regard, often causing damage in the process.
Concluding that the solution to this was two fold — educate those who are willing to learn, regulate those who aren’t — a twin path was adopted. The new organization and its members would take “…an objective look at the neighborhood and your own property. Assess assets and liabilities. What are available resources?” At the same time, they would initiate contact with the City Planning Department and local officials to solicit assistance in changing the direction.
Already by this second meeting, there were names in attendance that will be familiar to long-time Allegheny West residents: Shelton, Pusateri, Porter, Smith, Floyd, Davin, Gallagher, Gilbert, Dickenson, Watson, Wirth, Bianconi, Vonfeld, Hite, Johnson, Collins. At this earliest stage, it would have been impossible for these folks to imagine that for some of them the battle that they were undertaking would last thirty or forty years — literally the rest of their lives.
On Sunday, June 25th, beginning at 9:00 am, Open Streets will be coming to the Northide! OpenStreets provides traffic-free streets for various types of outdoor activities: walking, biking, skating, etc. And you can attend any number of wellness events from salsa to yoga! The June route will take you from the West End, through the Northside before ending downtown. For more information, and to see the schedule of events and route, visit openstreetspgh.org.
We’re seeking a neighbor/neighbors who can volunteer to oversee the Second Annual Alleys, Axles & Ales tour. The target date is September 23rd. In the short term, we need someone to start seeking cars, soliciting car clubs, and establishing a list of volunteer homes. Please contact Carol Gomrick at email@example.com if you are able to help.
Babb, Inc. on Ridge Avenue once again participated in a “Day of Caring” on May 23, 2017, allowing about 22 employees to care for the AW parklet at Brighton Road and Western Avenue. These enthusiastic colleagues worked hard to help Diane Caruso and Trish Burton begin to implement a long-term plan for the garden. Twenty-five bags of weeds, overgrown foliage, tree prunings and trash were gathered that morning. Many perennials were re-planted in different areas, including a grouping of hosta varieties that now ring the tree. Flats of multi-colored annuals were then planted in the beds and in tree wells along Western Avenue.
Thank you, Babb employees: We couldn’t have done it without you!
Thanks to everyone that came out for the Memorial Day picnic. It was another great success! I wanted to remind all the “smokers” in the neighborhood that the 2nd Annual Allegheny West Rib Cook Off will coincide with the 4th of July neighborhood picnic. Dust off your favorite BBQ sauce recipes and secret wood selections, and get ready to face off against your neighbors. Good news… Last year’s winner, Tom Barbush, will be sidelined in an effort to make things a little easier for the rest of us!
Please feel free to give me a call with any questions. Scott: (216) 832-1299
Approximately 130 works of art were on display for the third annual Allegheny West Art Show, with the majority of the artists hailing from the Northside. Our neighborhood welcomed art in all shapes and sizes, and artists of all professional levels and backgrounds, working in a number of different mediums, including an Ikebana floral design (by neighbor Ritsu Shimizu). SMARTsolution Technologies, owned by neighbors Elaine and Mitchell, once again generously provided the perfect venue, newly expanded and improved this year. Two hundred and fifty guests enjoyed the diverse array of art. There was also delicious food provided by skilled neighborhood chefs, sandwiches from the Allegheny Sandwich Shop, and additional food and beverages, as well as retro DJ music made possible by a generous donation from Joe and Linda Ianotta. The Allegheny West Civic Council hosted this unique neighborhood event. Beyond being an enjoyable evening, an art raffle on opening night (benefitting the Northside Common Ministries) raised over $400.
Dennis Bergevin (show founder and producer) and Sara Beck Sweeney (co-producer) would like to thank all of the hardworking friends and neighbors that made this event possible, including: Doug Schreck, Cheryl Towers, Jonathan Steinhauser, Dan Bolick, Catherine Drapkin, Holly Pultz, Catena Bergevin, Eleanor Coleman, Shannon Pultz, Heather White, and the senior fine art students at CAPA. A special thank you to City Books and K. S. Kennedy for distributing art applications; F. L. Haus for printing our wonderful poster; and neighbors Doris Short and Greg Coll, of Gc Graphic Design, for skillfully designing it.
Thank you all for making the 2017 tour and tasting event such a wild success! The weather was perfect and the comments throughout the event were extremely positive! I continue to get requests for the tapas recipes and compliments on the wine pairings. Look for these pairings and recipes on the Allegheny West website soon!
The tour was made extra special this year with the addition of Thaw Mansion and Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The history, lore and beauty of these two properties cannot be overstated and I know the guests really enjoyed learning more! I’m so grateful to the vicar and parishioners at Emmanuel for volunteering, and to the Carusos for their incredible efforts in their home and garden, so lovely. Thank you the Whitmers, Mitchell Schwartz and Elaine Stone, Rob Johnson, and of course John DeSantis for your willingness to open your wonderful homes. I cannot think of a better cross section of homes to demonstrate how wonderfully diverse the properties are in Allegheny West and to show what makes this neighborhood such a gem. I have to say, the homes are why we get tour-goers to visit the neighborhood, but it’s the homeowners who made it such a joy to live in the neighborhood. Thank you!
None of this would have been possible without the efforts of Mary Callison, Deb Kelly, Doug Debelak, Fran Barbush and Nonie Knaus, who collaboratively cooked the food, chose the wine, and are the reason guests are asking for the recipes! It was a ton of work, but executed perfectly! Gene Wilson and Doug Sprague, thank you for corralling the tour guides! Cathy Serventi is the “wizard behind the curtain,” making sure the machine is working: thank you. Trish and John Burton always go above and beyond and this year was no different. Thank you for a perfect ending by opening your home for the after party. The tour guides, you make our history come alive for the guests. (See you on the Christmas tour!) I really enjoyed working with you all. Please share with me any positive and constructive feedback to continue making the Allegheny West tours a ‘must do’ in Pittsburgh
This month’s neighborhood cleanup will take place on June 17 at 9:00 am. Meet at the AWCC office at 806 Western Avenue. This event is BYOB – bring your own broom, that is! (And gardening gloves, too!) Contact Trish Burton with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 523-9402. We’ll see you on the 20th!
Allegheny West Civic Council proudly announces our 2017 Neighbor of the Year, Dr Daniel Strinkoski. Dr. Dan, as he is fondly known, is a resident and business owner on Western Avenue in Allegheny West. Since moving to the neighborhood in 2003, Dr. Dan has taken on the litter problem with determination and enthusiasm.
Every morning throughout the year, and frequently on breaks during the day, Dr. Dan walks Western Avenue, Allegheny Avenue and Brighton Road, greeting neighbors and picking up litter. His beautiful smile and friendly nature brighten the day for everyone he encounters. On street cleaning days, Dr. Dan coordinates his walk with Elmer, the city maintenance crew driver, and uses a blower to push litter into the street so Elmer can sweep it up – on EVERY street in Allegheny West. Dr. Dan is on his 4th blower in the time he’s lived in Allegheny West. As Dr. Dan says, because of the stadiums, the Marathon and our proximity to downtown, “We probably get more visitors than any other neighborhood in Pittsburgh and our neighborhood needs to be clean and welcoming to our visitors.” His pride in Allegheny West is contagious.
In addition to his work keeping the streets of Allegheny West looking pristine, Dr. Dan also participates in the PennDot Adopt a Highway program and is responsible for maintaining a parcel of land by the entrance/exit to I-279, near Allegheny and Ridge Avenues. You can often spot Dr. Dan mowing that highly visible plot, which is above and beyond normal responsibilities of the program but is typical of our Neighbor of the Year. We are so lucky that Dr. Dan decided to live and work in our neighborhood and every day he makes it a better place.