Tastes & Sounds of Summerset
At Crescent Park
Crescent Park was alive with food and music on Saturday, October 15, 2011. Neighbors and the community at large enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon filled with fun and food.
Children, and adults took carriage rides, pulled by miniature ponies, through the neighborhood. Local chef, Charles Smith, of Culinary Arts Gourmet Catering Group gave a live cooking demonstration and provided samples a delicious couscous and grilled vegetable dish that he created for the audience.
Local restaurants, Smoke Taqueria and The Tango Café, were on hand selling their signature fare. Building New Hope Coffee sold brewed and bagged coffee. The Peddlin Company, who usually sell their homemade, organic pierogies on bicycles, offered their unique and delectable pierogies. The Dozen Food Truck and The Goodie Truck had lots of tempting treats on hand.
Impressive musical acts, including the Allderdice Drum Line and the CAPA Jazz Quartet provided musical entertainment. The local group Besamé, headlined the afternoon with their upbeat Latin American sound.
Another unique feature of this event, perhaps less noticeable, was that the organizers, Summerset Land Development Association, partnered with Zero-Waste to minimize the waste at this event. When Zero-Waste cleaned up, they had large bags of compost-able and recyclable materials and a trash bag that was just the size of a watermelon. This fun-filled and unique event was planned with the help of Sterling Events.
Proceeds from this event and donations received benefited the Kate and Peter’s Treehouse, a project of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. More information about this project can be found at: http://www.pittsburghparks.org/naturespace
Opting for City Living
“Renny” and Linda Clark discuss why they left the suburbs and opted for city living.
Read it at Pop City.
Taking to the Trails
Biking in Frick Park
Crisp fall air and changing leaves signal the perfect time for heading out for a bike ride. Bike riding in Frick Park is a great way to have fun and get some exercise.
Before you head out on the trails, make sure that your bike is is good working order. Check brakes, tires, seat, chain and make sure your helmet fits securely. While riding in the park is a usually safer alternative to riding on the street, there are still some important points to keep in mind to stay safe on the trails. Frank Bruno, bike enthusiast and owner of Biketek in Squirrel Hill, offers some pointers for biking in Frick Park. He warns that the narrower, single-track tails are not a good choice for beginners or young families. If you do want to try these trails, remember “Frick is very rough in spots so mountain bikes are a must, no hybrids,” says Bruno. He also cautions that when riding with children that “the off-road entrance on Beechwood is too steep for kids.”
Instead of taking a risk on unknown trails, Bruno suggests sticking to the flatter multi-use gravel trails by the Frick Nature Center when starting out or riding with children. Most types of bicycles will do fine on these trails. These multi-use trails are designed for a variety of uses, biking, walking and jogging. Pittsburgh Park Conservancy provides an map of Frick Park trails in the link below. Also, it is important to share the trail and be careful when passing people walking and their pets. It is courteous to announce that you’re approaching someone and to slow down when passing them.
The group, PTAG (Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group) has been working with the city and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to find a way to label the single-track trails by degree of difficulty. PTAG plays an important role in maintaining the multi-use trails and organizes volunteer work days to clear debris, remove invasive plants, and fix drainage issues. You can learn more about their efforts to maintain the park, or get involved, by following their link below. Despite some trails being advanced in difficulty, Lewis says that there are still plenty of options for families and non-expert riders who wish to ride in Frick Park. He offers these “thoughts on family riding in Frick Park:
- For planning purposes, it’s nice to know that if you start riding at Blue Slide Playground you will likely have to end with a climb out of the Park.
- Some of the single-track trails are a bit closer to intermediate skill level than expert and are probably rideable by more intrepid family riders. This includes the Iron Grate Trail which starts behind the Lederman Ball Field and descends all the way down to near the Irish Center. That said, there are some sections that feel ‘exposed’ so newer riders might walk in a couple of spots.
- Riders can easily pedal from Summerset at Frick Park to the new trail out to Duck Hollow, then back across Commercial Street into the core of the park.”
Have fun taking to the trails, just remember to take time to get to know Frick Park trails and start off with the wider, flatter trails if you’re new to trail biking or have young children. Frick Park offers many trails, with varying degrees of difficulty, to try as you gain experience. The links below provide more information about Frick Park and biking in Frick Park:
From a Vision to Reality
How It All Began
One day, many years ago, a father was bike riding with his son through an area of Squirrel Hill known as “The Slag Heaps.” He turned to his son and said “Someday there are going to be houses here.”
That father was former Councilman and Mayor, Bob O’Connor talking to his son Corey. Corey O’Connor recently shared this story with Summerset Living about how his father had envisioned what is now Summerset at Frick.
Turning that vision into a reality took many years and required many stakeholders coming together. Today, 16 years after the project started, Summerset at Frick Park is the largest new residential construction project within the city since the 1940‘s. It’s success is attributed to an on-going partnership between public and private entities. Councilman Doug Shields, whose district includes Summerset at Frick Park, explains what partnerships had to be formed and how Summerset at Frick Park became a reality.
It happened during what was referred to at The Squirrel Hill Renaissance. Several organizations in Squirrel Hill were planning moves or expansions. In order for the pieces to all fit, various groups and organizations in the Squirrel Hill area had to compromise and change plans for expansion. Councilman Doug Shields, who was O’Connor’s Chief of Staff at the time, recalls, “ Bob O’Connor called me from the slag heap. He set it all out and he said “Here’s how we’re going to do it.” so I took notes and constructed a letter for him to hand out because we had to change everyone’s religion on this whole renaissance project.” Councilman O’Connor worked with the various organizations and eventually made all the pieces fit and got the community on board with the Summerset at Frick Park project.
The project proved to be a great success. Shields explains, “McMansions were in full glory in the suburbs, but you didn’t have that in your housing market [in the city], that new home, cable ready, computer ready, so there was a market for it, it just wasn’t being met.” This project has brought added tax revenue to the city through additional property taxes. Despite the economic turbulence in recent years, homes at Summerset at Frick remain in demand. The home built here are an attractive option for people wishing to return to the city or relocating from out of town because of their proximity to downtown, cultural organizations and conveniences. Unlike the traditional Pittsburgh housing stock, they also offer residents a new, lower maintenance and higher energy efficiency home within the City. Today, Summerset at Frick Park has approximately 180 homes, 36 condos and 40 apartment units in its neighborhood and will continue to bring more people to the city as building begins on 125 new homes and up to 132 apartment units.
A New Phase Begins
On September 9, 2011, Summerset at Frick Park celebrated the beginning of the next phase of building.
The partners of Summerset Land Development Associates (The Rubinoff Company, Montgomery & Rust, Fourth River Development, Pennrose Properties, Ralph A. Falbo, Inc. and EQA Landmark Communities) invited Dan Frankel, Barbara Daly Danko, Rich Fitzgerald and Corey O’Connor to join in the ceremonial ground breaking. Dan Frankel addressed the crowd and told them “It’s incredible to me to see what has taken place. The vision, not only of Tom Murphy, Bob O’Connor, the late mayor, many of us in the public life, who were committed to seeing a new neighborhood take place here, and it wasn’t that easy in the beginning.” He continues,”There were all kinds of concerns about environmental quality, traffic, housing value–none of that panned out. In fact, the opposite panned out. It’s been a blessing.”
This next phase of Summerset at Frick Park will soon be underway and will include 125 new homes, up to 30,000 square feet of commercial space and up to 132 rental units. It will continue the work started in 2009 that will provide a road at Brownshill Road. This road will serve as another access point into the community to make shopping, dining and entertainment even more convenient to the residents of Summerset at Frick Park.
In addition to the traditional ground breaking, a Linden Plane tree was planted at the corner of the development site. This tree was planted to symbolize the extension of Frick Park, approximately 3.5 acres, which will be included in this next phase. County Council member, Barbara Daly Danko commented on this much anticipated next phase of development. “I have enjoyed watching Summerset become a wonderful part of Pittsburgh’s East End over the last ten years. It has gradually become a real “neighborhood” and I am looking forward to the next phase of development.
Summerset at Frick Park is currently taking reservations for the new homes. For more information on this next phase of homes, please visit the website at www.summersetatfrickpark.com