The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition met Monday night to discuss new details of their “master plan” for the area.
Rich Feder, vice president of the SHUC, and head of the Master Plan Committee, alluded to new projects that will be popping up in the near future, the most prominent of which will be a revitalization of the entranceway to Squirrel Hill.
“We are planning on increasing the beautification of the entrance to Squirrel Hill off the Parkway East,” Fader said.
This plan includes brand new light fixtures and various plants and trees, which will make the area more appealing to drivers.
SHUC also is making plans for the new O’Connor Corner Park. Named in honor of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor, the park will serve as a place for relaxation for members of the community.
According to SHUC, the proposed mini-park would be constructed on a site along Murray Avenue. There was no word on funding for project.
After the opening statements by Fader, the group broke up into several different committees, each with a specific focus for the community. These committees included transportation, public safety, housing and education.
During the meeting on public safety, members of the group praised the citizens patrol program started by Andy Dlinn 10 years ago. This program serves as an “extra set of eyes and ears for the police force,” according to Mitch Maizlech.
“The neighborhood saw a need, and we fixed it,” said Maizlech.
Currently the program has more than 25 volunteers who patrol the streets Wednesday through Saturday nights. Maizlech said that this program is currently one of the largest watchdog efforts in the country.
Activities for young adults between the ages of 16 and 20 were another topic of discussion, as the community no longer wants these kids to simply roam the streets. Fader noted that the loss of the Squirrel Hill movie theater was a critical blow to efforts to maintain a teenage-friendly aspect to the neighborhood.
“We already have enough coffee shops as it is,” said Fader. “How much time can these kids spend at these coffee shops?”
The point of the meeting, Feder said, was to generate new studies that will help the coalition construct their final copy of the master plan. The coalition will hold more meetings in June, September and October to generate new ideas to insure the future of Squirrel Hill.
By January 2011 the coalition plans to have adopted the final version of the master plan.
(Brandt Gelman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)