SSSNA Statement on Quarry Field Vandalism

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) stands in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Black and brown communities in saying unequivocally that Black Lives Matter and that we will not tolerate the vile hate speech and acts of racism on display in the vandalism of Quarry Field. 

Quarry Field, in the heart of South Side Park, is the home of the South Side Bears, a youth football and cheerleading community organization that supports the development of young majority Black and brown children in the South Side Slopes and surrounding neighborhoods through sports. The Bears are the last remaining youth sports team in the Hilltop Neighborhoods. We are exploring ways for us to meaningfully engage and support the Bears as a SSSNA community – and we also urge you to consider donating to the South Side Bears by reaching out directly to its president, Kevin Alton @

We also acknowledge that we must move beyond words of support into action – and cannot do that without addressing our own biases and inequities.   

As an all-volunteer neighborhood association in the predominately white South Side Slopes, we must address head on the privilege of our organization and our neighbors and reflect on how we contribute to the continued segregation of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. From a review of our mission and the activities and priorities we undertake – to the makeup of our board and membership – we will strive to eradicate the vestiges of racism, misogyny, ableism, transphobia, and xenophobia within our organization. We will work to become a model of what it means for neighborhood associations to live our values and contribute to a vision of Pittsburgh that is truly most livable for all. 

As President of the Association, I don’t have all the answers of how we’re going to move forward. As a 41-year-old white man, I know that I have not yet done all the work I need to do to fully understand how I benefit from, and contribute to, white supremacy and systemic racism. I commit to holding myself accountable and ask that you help hold me accountable as the leader of this vibrant and evolving organization. 

A big part of that will come from listening and learning. In the city of bridges, I’m committed to building new ones and look to you to help inform how we can better align our work with the needs of the community. 

Please join us in this process so together we can identify and undertake tangible actions that move us and the South Side Slopes forward – now and in the future. 


Blake M. McLaren


South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association

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2021 Slopes Board Changes

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association welcomes Jami Szalla to the Board of Directors. She is a fifth-generation Pittsburgher who was born and raised on Wellington St. in the South Side Slopes. A proud Carrick High School graduate, she attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where she received a degree in forensic accounting. Later, she earned her CPA while working as an internal auditor for the Department of the Navy in Washington, DC. Missing family, friends, and the city she loved, Jami returned to Pittsburgh in 2017 to take an accounting job with UPMC. Over the next year, she and her now-husband, Dan, purchased and renovated their 1888-built home on Eleanor St., just a few blocks from her childhood home. Recently, Jami and Dan opened Hilltop Coffee – a community-focused café on the corner of Eleanor & Arlington. In her spare time, Jami enjoys participating in community events, reading historical fiction, gardening, traveling, and running.

The Board is thankful to the years of service from Candice Gonzalez and Donna Tarkett who have both stepped down.

There is now one opening for a Board position. Please contact if you are interested in joining the Board or a committee. You must have attended 2 meetings or events in the last year to be eligible to join the Board of Directors.

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March 2021 Meeting Agenda

When: Tuesday March 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM

Where: Zoom (via URL or phone)

Don’t have a laptop or smart phone? You can dial into the meeting: 1-646-558-8656

Meeting ID: 893 1850 3168
Passcode: 651985

  1. Welcome
  2. Ways to connect w/ SSSNA
  3. Zoom meeting guidelines / Agenda Overview
  4. Julie Hecker; VP of Operations Mercy Hospital
    • Pandemic and Vaccine Response/Updates
    • Q/A (5-10 min.)
  5. Cmdr. John Fisher: Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Zone 3
    • Introduction
    • Zone 3 Updates
    • Q/A (5-10 min.)
  6. Rep. Jessica Benham; PA House of Representatives 36th District
    • State Updates
    • Jamie Piotrowski Introduction
    • Q/A (5-10 min.)
  7. Councilman Bruce Kraus; City of Pittsburgh, 3rd District
    • 18th St. Lighting Updates
    • Speed Bumps: Salt Boxes
    • District Updates
    • Q/A (5-10 min.)
  8. Board Member Elections
    • Retiring Board Members
    • New Board Nominee Introduction(s)
    • Vote
  9. Committee Updates
    • South Side Park
    • StepTrek
    • Beautification
    • Outreach
    • Zoning
    • Governance
  10. Open Floor / Questions / Additional Announcements
  11. Adjourn
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Congratulations to our gift card winners!

  • Peggy S.
  • Ralph D.
  • Pierce M.
  • Gina D.
  • Stephen Z.
  • Mia S.
  • Natalie A.

Hope you enjoy some great items from our local businesses: 350 Bakery, Culture Shop, Carson Street Deli, Double Wide Grill, Fat Heads, and Hilltop Coffee!


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Your Favorite Part of the Slopes

Thanks to everyone who filled out our survey and entered the Slopes Holiday raffle. We will be announcing the winners soon, but we wanted to share why you love the Slopes!

This has been a difficult year for all of us, but we still appreciate the views, neighbors, and the convenience of living in this green neighborhood!


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Pittsburgh Snow Angels 2020-2021

The City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Community Affairs is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 Snow Angels Program. This program pairs older adult residents and residents with disabilities with nearby volunteer Snow Angels to help them shovel and salt their sidewalk and property throughout the winter.

Snow Angels make sidewalks safer for those who are outside during the winter weather like postal carriers, firefighters, police officers, and other neighbors.

To request help from a Snow Angel, neighbors must:

  • Be at least 60 years old or have a physical disability
  • Live within City of Pittsburgh limits
  • Lack other resources (financial or family/friends nearby) to assist with snow removal

Volunteers and neighbors in need can register for the program online at or by calling the City’s 311 Response Center.

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South Side Slopes Gives Big

Normally, the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) celebrates the holiday season with a holiday party inviting all of our neighbors and asking neighbors to bring a toy for the annual Brashear Association Toy Drive benefiting area children. This year, due to Covid-19, we can’t hold our party, but we still want to help build our community. What are we doing instead?

  • Today, on #GivingTuesday, the SSSNA is donating $4,000 to the Brashear Association for their annual Toy Drive.
  • We are also donating $1,000 to the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community “The Table” program which provides free meals to our neighbors every week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. If you are in need, please stop by!
  • Finally, we are hosting a local business gift card giveawaySign up here by December 31st to enter to win!

If you have extra this year, we encourage our neighbors to also donate to these programs and shop local this holiday season. Together, we can help each other through this difficult time and spread some joy. #GivingTuesday

Check your mailboxes for a special holiday card from the SSSNA announcing these holiday plans!

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SSSNA Development Activities Meeting for South Side Park Improvements

Who: South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association is hosting a Development Activities Meeting (DAM) on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm to review one development project.

What:  South Side Park Phase 1 Improvements – Presentation by Sara Thompson of Pashek + MTR

Why:  SSSNA is a Registered Community Organization (RCO) through the Department of City Planning to provide input and feedback on local development activities and planning procedures in partnership with community stake holders.

For more meeting details, visit

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October 2020 Meeting Agenda


SSSNA October General Meeting  (via Zoom Video)

When: October 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Where: Zoom Virtual Meeting

  • Welcome

    Ways to Connect w/ SSSNA

    Zoom meeting guidelines / Agenda overview

    1. Zone 3 Police Update – Cmdr. Dixon to report on:
      1. Recent Slopes shootings : American Legion & Arlington Spray Park
      2. Zone safety
      3. Public safety resources
      4. Q/A (5-10 min)
    2. Bruce Kraus
      1. District 3 Updates
      2. Misc. Info.
      3. Q/A (5-10 min)
    3. Recognized Community Organization (RCO) and Development Activities Meetings (DAM) Overview
    4. Committee Updates
      1. South Side Park
      2. StepTREK
      3. Beautification : Garbage Olympics Report
      4. Outreach
      5. Zoning
      6. Governance
    5. Open Floor / Questions / Add. Announcements
    6. Adjourn
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SSSNA 2020 Virtual Picnic

SSSNA Virtual Picnic Meeting – July 14, 2020 (via Zoom Video)

When: July 14, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Where: Zoom Virtual Meeting

  • Welcome
  • Ways to Connect w/ SSSNA
  • Zoom meeting guidelines / Agenda overview
  • Committee Updates – South Side Park, StepTrek, Beautification, Outreach, Zoning, Governance
  • Raffle for Gift Cards to Giant Eagle & StepTrek sponsor Carson Street Deli
  • Photo Montage of Previous Slopes Picnics and Events
  • Open Floor / Questions / Additional Announcements
  • Adjourn

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. All registrants who attend the meeting will be entered for a chance to win gift cards to Giant Eagle and Carson Street Deli.

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