Oct 30: Public meeting about Frick Environmental Center

The Frick Environmental Center Needs Our Help!

As we head toward the start of construction of the new Environmental Center at Frick Park, we need to rally to protect the fantastic programs that have been operating since the old Center burned.  It's hard to believe we've been waiting more than 11 years for this day, and it's hard to believe that we might be made to wait longer.  The construction documents are done.  The City of Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy are almost ready to begin construction.  But, there's a catch, which you may have read about it in the paper recently. If not -- click here.

During the construction period, education programs will need to be held at a temporary location in Frick Park.  The City of Pittsburgh Departments of Public Works and Citiparks, along with The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy,  have identified a location behind the Blue Slide Playground that is suitable to house temporary classrooms similar to those currently being used near the old, burned-out facility.

Now, a group of vocal neighbors have raised objections to the location of these temporary classrooms, and the City has now decided to open a public process to review the site.  They’ve created a petition that’s growing in strength and it’s time to hear from the other side.  Delaying placement of these temporary classrooms to have a lengthy debate about their location will delay construction (no doubt costing even more) AND cause interruption of the education programs underway.  There are now 14 schools, with over 800 children, participating in programs in this year alone. There are also more than 1500 people that participate in family programs, and another 500 children that participate in camps annually.

I (Maren) helped found one of those school programs, and my kids and many of yours have enjoyed many of the summer camps and community events the FEC organizes.  My older daughter has been a camp counselor, a great experience in its own right.

Your help is needed to communicate how critical and valuable the environmental education programs are to children, schools and families — and to ask that every effort be made to ensure that programs are not interrupted and that the project not be delayed any further.

Here are the first three action steps I hope you'll join me in taking: 

1.  Contact Councilman Corey O’Connor to let him know how valuable these programs are and that you do not have any objections to the current temporary classroom location.  I’ve added some talking points at the bottom to help with your statement of support.

2. Post a comment with the article on the Post-Gazette’s website: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/classroom-trailers-draw-flak-in-frick-park-707135/

3.  Attend the public meeting
 being proposed by Councilman O’Connor on Wednesday, October 30th at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill at 6:30pm.

TALKING POINTS re: the necessity of the temporary classrooms to facilitate the continuation of programming at the Frick Environmental Center:
  • Storm Shelter. Outdoor programming necessitates rain plans in order to ensure child safety. During severe storms students should not be out in the park.  Often, storms come on quickly and shelter needs to be readily accessible. Nearby schools, and even parked busses, are not close enough for a group of 25 6 year olds to reach quickly.
  • Outdoor Time. Program sessions range from 2-6 hours and are designed for maximum time outdoors. Delivering the programs in the schools is not feasible. They are designed to be in the park.
  • Camp Cancellation. For summer camps, space could be rented from a nearby school between the end of June and early September.   This would require that cancellation of 3 weeks of summer camps (over half of the early childhood camps for 3-5 yr olds).

  • Winter Programs. Winter programming ranges from 2 – 4 hours and is delivered both indoors and outdoors.  During cold weather, young children especially, need an inside space to warm up while they access to the park for short explorations. This is essential to achieving the educational objectives.

1 comment:

poshe said...

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