StepTrek 2018

StepTrek is Saturday October 6, 2018! 

Buy Tickets! – https://www.showclix.com/event/steptrek

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Looking back: The origins of the SSSNA

Submitted by Beverly Bagosi Boggio, founding board member 1998-2008, past president and past StepTrek chair

bev bagosi boggio

On Memorial Day weekend 1998, there was a fire in a home on Holt Street that destroyed three homes in the time that it took the Fire Department to arrive and stage their equipment. Due to the unique topography of the South Side Slopes, narrow hilly streets and tight corners, the fire won. Because of this, a group of active Slopes neighbors were galvanized. Throughout the summer, several meetings were held and by October 1998 a Board of Directors was chosen and the South Side Slopes Association was born. The initial slogan was “SOS/Save Our Slopes”. Thanks to the partnership with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, the Firefighter’s Union and several Fire engine manufacturers, within a year, the City had the plans to order 4 smaller pumper trucks with a tighter turning radius and narrow wheel span to safely travel all of the hilly City neighborhoods, not just the Slopes. This was ambitious and the Board was focused. Keep in mind that the internet of 1998 was not what it is today. We got our first “AOL” email address in 2002, followed by our first website, later that year.

In those early days, the SSSNA Board was tenacious and committed – a spirit that carries on in today’s Board. The projects were large and the budget was shoestring. Each month, the Board members addressing and mailing the newsletter would bring stamps, as there was no funding. The first grant was $250 from the City and we felt like millionaires. In the beginning, we partnered with the former South Side Local Development Company/SSLDC under their 501(c)3 nonprofit umbrella. That is how we were able to obtain grants to improve the Slopes. We were also able to survey housing stock and catalog our steps and their condition. We received 501(c)3 designation in 2005. We continued our partnership until the SSLDC completed their mission in 2012. We received an Elm Street designation for five years to feather into the Main Street designation that SSLDC had from the State. (Learn about Elm Street and Main Street designations here: https://padowntown.org/programs/elm-street-program)

SSSNA also became a member organization of the South Side Planning Forum. We gave input for the South Side Works development and participated in the new land use designations of MAP Pittsburgh. We attended City zoning hearings and invited developers with plans to build/restore in the Slopes, to share their plans and get our input from the community at our meetings. We began long‐standing relationships with City, County and State agencies and officials, as well as the Pittsburgh police. Many of the City partnerships and projects involved public safety. In 2002, we worked to get two pedestrian footbridges over the railroad tracks at 10th and 15th Streets replaced with Core ten steel, adding safety lighting three years later. We also had safety lighting installed under the railroad underpasses on 18th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 26th and 27th Streets.

Another big focus was, and still is, beautification. We began gateway garden developmental by partnering with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC). We built gardens along Josephine Street at Greeley and Barry Streets in 2000. More gardens followed along 18th Street, then Brosville and continue to be created throughout the Slopes. There were thousands of cleanups over the years that continue today. Thousands of discarded tires have been removed, as well as tons of trash and recyclables.

What was our most successful, hair‐brained idea? StepTrek. While other neighborhoods had home tours, we knew that the Slopes was unique and should be showcased differently. Author Bob Regan and photographer Tim Fabian were collaborating on a book (The Steps of Pittsburgh: Portrait of a City)  about the public stairways throughout the City – which would create some buzz about the steps. Slopes residents Ed Jacob and Mike Milberger brought an idea to the board that the City steps should be celebrated. The fledgling board decided to give it a try, and StepTrek was a go. In 2000, we held the first StepTrek. Hundreds of people paid money to walk miles of steps – for a good cause. We got the City to repair steps and clean up the routes each year prior to the event. We changed the routes every year to keep up maintenance on all of our stairways. Now in its 18th year, StepTrek has enabled thousands of people to experience the amazing views that we get to see every day.

It has been an amazing journey. It is hard to imagine 20 years ago how much would be accomplished. The loss of homes to the fire in 1998 was terrible, but from that tragedy came a community focused on safety, advocacy and continuous improvement. Since 1998, the SSSNA board has had dozens of amazing neighbors who have served and added to the energy and progress of this community. Thank you to all who served, partnered, volunteered, cleaned, photographed, documented, shared, trekked and donated. The success of SSSNA and the neighborhood is because of you! Cheers to the next 20 years!

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Save the Dates 2018

Here are the (actual) dates for the 2018 South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association General Meetings and Parties!

  • Tuesday, January 9 at 7 p.m. – General Meeting at Henry Kaufmann House*
  • Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. – General Meeting at Henry Kaufmann House* CANCELLED (Please stop by the South Side Park Master Plan Meeting on March 15 between 5 and 8 p.m. at Arlington Rec Center at 2201 Salisbury St, 15210)
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. – General Meeting at Henry Kaufmann House*
  • Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. – Summer Picnic at Bandi Schaum Community Garden
  • Saturday October 6 at 11 a.m.- StepTrek
  • Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. – General Meeting at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat House (148 Monastery Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15203)
  • Tuesday, December 11 at 7 p.m. – Holiday Party (UUBU6 at 6:30 p.m. )

* Henry Kaufmann House is located at 2201 Salisbury St, Pittsburgh PA  15210

All South Side Slopes residents are invited to attend. Join us to meet new people or reconnect with long-time neighbors, learn what’s happening and what is planned for the community, and share your ideas, concerns and love for the Slopes.

In order to be a voting member of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, you must attend at least 2 meetings and/or events per year.

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2017 Board Elections

Jamie Balser & Elizabeth Heidenreich

Jamie Balser & Elizabeth Heidenreich

Welcome to Jamie Balser to the Board of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association. Jamie has been a vocal and active participant in the Friends of South Side Park and many many volunteer days for South Side Park and other Slopes events.

Dawn Lorincy, Denise Filip, Dawn Lorincy, Brian Oswald, and Cara Jette were re-elected for additional 2-year terms as well.

Thank you to Elizabeth Heidenreich for her year of service on the Board!

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Small Business Resource Fair

Interested in starting or growing a small business? Stop by the South Side Market House on Wednesday September 6 from 4:30pm to 7pm!

small business resource fair flyer

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StepTrek 2017

pittsburgh-steptrek

In its 17th year, the Pittsburgh StepTrek will begin Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at 11AM at South Side Park (Josephine & 21st Streets) on the South Side. The event has lasted this long due to the backing of individuals with a curiosity as to what lies at the top or bottom of the numerous public stairs in the neighborhood.

BUY TICKETS AND T-SHIRTS 

The routes will take a tour of the hillsides and spectacular views that distinguish Pittsburgh. The family-friendly event combines photography, historic narrative and a sense of a neighborhood dependent upon steps. The Trek itself is self-guided. Each pre-registered trekker receives a map and a course narrative. The course narrative points out the landmarks and gives a history of the stairs and buildings, counts the steps and also provides instruction as to the route. Arrows along the course provide direction as well.

StepTrek is what the trekker makes it. Participants may choose to use this noncompetitive event as a test of fitness or a leisurely stroll. The benefits of a stirring walk through the Slopes have earned this event the heart-healthy rating of the American Heart Association. Special pricing makes the walk an attractive way to experience the city on an autumn afternoon.

Proceeds from the StepTrek benefit the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), an all volunteer organization committed to improving this unique neighborhood and providing a unified voice for slopes residents. Primary areas of focus are public safety, neighborhood development and beautification.

This event also helps to benefit The Brashear Association’s Food Pantry. Please remember to bring a canned food item to help stock the Brashear Association Food Pantry. Top items needed include: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Spaghetti Sauce, Tuna, Cereal, Baby Food

Interested in volunteering for StepTrek? Volunteers get a free t-shirt and can participate in the event before or after their shift. Sign up here:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090c44a4ac2da6fa7-steptrek1

 

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Pittsburgh City Steps Plan Kick-Off Meeting

Kick-off Meeting

July 27, 2017 from 6-8pm

William Pitt Ballroom

959 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Pittsburgh’s public stair network is comprised of more than 700 staircases which vary in size, age, construction material and condition. Join us at our citywide kick-off meeting to learn about the project and provide your input on how these treasured assets should be repaired and maintained!

Steps Survey

You can also provide input on our project webpage by following the link to the Wikimap Survey and answering a few questions about any set of steps in the city:

 

UPDATED WEBSITE: http://wikimapping.com/wikimap/Pittsburgh-Citywide-Steps-Assessment/l-1130836_40.42115793049957_-79.96315240859985_16

 

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South 21st Street Complete Green Street Project

Come and learn about the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s plans to transform South 21st Street with trees, grasses, bioswales and pedestrian improvements. They will present concept designs and seek feedback from you, your friends and neighbors to help inform the final design. Light refreshments will be provided. Registration is not required. For more information, please email 21street@paconserve.org.

When: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: The Brew House – 711 21st Street, Pittsburgh, 15203
Who: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Final South 21st Meeting Flyer

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Welcome New Board Members

Congratulations and welcome to the newest members of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association Board of Directors:

  • Elizabeth Heidenreich
  • Blake McLaren
  • Donna Tarkett

Thank you to our departing members: Sarah Alessio Shea, Laura Officer, and Pavel Yakovlev. 

 

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Oakley Street Mosaic Steps

Finished-Oakley-Mosaic-Steps

Through a crowdfunding campaign conducted primarily through social media, we raised more than $6,500, allowing us to hire an artist to design and lead the project. Dozens of community members tiled the 77 step risers in 2016.

Click here to see more details about the project: http://www.southsideslopes.org/oakley-street-mosaic-steps-public-art-project/

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