I first visited Pittsburgh in the fall of 2005, on a business trip — a trip that would forever change my perception of the area and the people living here in the Emerald City.
Most Americans are aware that Pittsburgh is a city proud of it’s sports teams and filled with people dedicated to earning a living the old-fashioned way — by the sweat of their brows. I would learn during my initial visit, and subsequent trips, a ton of neat things about Pittsburgh. Here are a few of the things I love about Pittsburgh and its people.
During my month-long visit in 2005, I discovered many things about the Steel City and the residents, known as Pittsburghers.
I quickly learned that Pittsburgh is a true blue-collar city — overflowing with polite, passionate and genuinely kind people. Despite it’s intimidating size and “big-city” reputation, Pittsburgh is nothing more than a sports-crazy town filled with Yankees that have a southern attitude.
Pittsburghers aren’t any more different than my neighbors or my friends back home in Orlando. Everyone I have met during my five visits has been friendly and down to Earth. My encounters may have been with strangers initially, but I left Pittsburgh with many new friends. Friends I still have today, as I returned to live here, nearly 6 years later.
A New Start
Recently divorced and searching for a new beginning, I relocated to Pittsburgh to focus on my career and prepare to apply for admission to one of Pittsburgh’s great colleges or universities. The morning after I unpacked, my friend and I headed out for a 5-mile walk along his usual route through Mt. Washington and along Grandview Avenue.
My friend, Wally Weidenhof, is a life-long resident of the Mt. Washington area. In his 52 years, Wally has seen the area change and, as a longtime property owner, glad to know that the City of Pittsburgh and the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, just to name a couple, are working together to improve the community and attract more businesses to the area. MWCDC Program Manager, Greg Panza, says that great things are on the horizon for Mt. Washington. I can see it happening when I walk around the neighborhood.
A Casual Walk
As we walked along Boggs Avenue, headed to Shiloh Street, then on to Grandview Avenue, Wally explained that the local authorities had finally made significant progress on the proposed 235-acre park I had heard about during my visit in the fall of 2005 — when the project was created. I was excited to know the Emerald View Park was quickly becoming a reality despite the city’s financial issues and budget shortfalls.
When the trails are complete, I will be able to enjoy over 19 miles of trails throughout the Park — compared to the existing 10 miles of fragmented trails currently available.
About the Park
Overlooking downtown Pittsburgh, Emerald View Park is Pittsburgh’s newest Regional Park. The Park envelopes the neighborhoods of Mt. Washington, Allentown and Duquesne Heights. The Park combines existing parks, trails and greenspaces with land that was once heavily mined and otherwise abused and neglected.
Residents and tourist alike flock to Mt. Washington to see the spectacular views from Grandview Avenue, The Mon Incline or one of the observation decks in the Emerald View Park — Grand View Park on Bailey Avenue has a great one. Annually, more than one million people visit Mt. Washington to view downtown Pittsburgh, the three rivers, PNC Park and Heinz Field from Emerald View Park.
Once completed, Emerald View Park will provide “pedestrian, bicycle and non-motorized commuting connections with Downtown Pittsburgh, the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the Great Allegheny Pasage, Beechview Greenway, the West End, and South Side.” Until then, please stay on the existing trails — they are marked. For a map of the park, visit the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation at 301 Shiloh Street.
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Mr. Alphonso Randolph, Mt. Washington Community Development Center (MWCDC)
Mr. Greg Panza, Mt. Washington Community Development Center (MWCDC)