Hazelwood Neighborhood Eco Walking Tour

Last Saturday, August 30th, we continued our walking tour series in the Hazelwood neighborhood. We were joined by great community members and guest speakers who shared with us the green infrastructure that has been implemented, plans for future projects and what they hope to see happen in the community.

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The group gathers at the Operating Engineers building to learn about their bioswale and permeable pavement.

Our tour started at the Operating Engineers building on Saline Street. The group of about thirty gathered to hear from Clean Rivers Campaign Director Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy who introduced the campaign, the tour series and Hazelwood. Each participant shared with the group their name, where they were from and whether they had visited Hazelwood before. Many in the group had not been to the neighborhood but all were excited to learn more about it and see the projects it had created.

While at the Operating Engineers, the group stopped to see the bioswale and permeable pavement which surround the building. Interestingly, the Clean Rivers Campaign kicked off at that very building two years ago.

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The group on the ALMONO site with the building RIDC hopes to rehabilitate and use for light manufacturing to the right.

Next, the group travelled to the ALMONO site. This site was home to a steel mill which closed many years ago. Since its closing, several local foundations partnered to purchase and revitalize the site. Nate from the Regional Industrial Development Corporation, or RIDC, was nice enough to join us that morning and take us on a tour of the ALMONO site. The organizations involved in the project hope to bring mixed used buildings and light manufacturers to the site and they hope to add green infrastructure in the process. Currently, a building from the old steel mill still stands on the land. RIDC hopes to rehabilitate that building for the light manufacturers. Hazelwood residents on the tour hope the rehabilitation of the ALMONO site benefits Hazelwood and brings things the community needs like a grocery store and jobs for residents.

The group then moved on to two different community gardens in the neighborhood. Jim McCue, a long time Hazelwood resident, helps to manage the community gardens in the area and joined us on Saturday.

Participants check out the first of two community gardens in Hazelwood.

Participants check out the first of two community gardens in Hazelwood.

From there, the group moved to an empty lot below Second Avenue in Hazelwood. This lot was formerly a popular playground for kids. At this site, Hazelwood residents and Action United members Ms. Hazel, Crystal and Jenny spoke about what they hope to see happen in their community. Jenny grew up in Hazelwood and fondly remembers playing at that playground. All three women want to see the lot become a safe place for the neighborhood kids to play. They also hope to see proposed green infrastructure be installed alongside the playground.

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Hazelwood residents and Action United members share what they hope to see happen in their community.

Once on Second Avenue, the group stopped at another lot the community hopes to transform. There, Ms. Hazel shared her hopes to see green infrastructure be utilized in her community, especially permeable pavement. Situated along the Monongahela River, Hazelwood is prone to flooding and has experienced devastating effects of it in the past. Ms. Hazel explained how installing permeable pavement in that very lot could help alleviate the community of its flooding problems.

Finally, the group stopped at the Hazelwood Carnegie Library. The new library has many green amenities including several rain gardens in the front and back of the building. Librarian, Mary Ann McHarq, joined us to talk about the library and the gardens. The community hopes these gardens can also help with the flooding Hazelwood experiences.

From there, many tour participants stayed later to see a community festival with music and a farmer’s market as well as the community garden at the local YMCA and a food forest created by community members.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our tour in Hazelwood! With our largest group so far, it was a great and interactive experience.

Don’t forget! We don’t have many walking tours left. Be sure to catch one before the series ends. This month, September, we will revisit Millvale. Millvale was the first tour in our series. The tour encompassed many impressive green infrastructure projects that the community had installed. They have accomplished even more since then so be sure to check it out. Head over to our events page to register.

Also, check out more pictures from this and other events on our Facebook page.