WPC's PARK(ing) Day Event Transforms Downtown Parking Spaces into Park

Thu, Sep 15th 2011, 09:30. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Sept. 15, 2011 – For the second year, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) and its partners will transform part of a downtown Pittsburgh parking lot into a public park for one day on Friday, Sept. 16 as it participates in PARK(ing) Day, a global event that turns parking spaces into mini parks.

The PARK(ing) Day event will be carried out in partnership with Direct Energy, a primary sponsor for WPC’s urban greening work, as well as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Beginning early in the morning on Sept. 16, the Conservancy and a group of volunteers from Direct Energy will create a parklet – complete with grass, benches, trees and flowers – at the Cultural Trust parking lot on Penn Ave. and 8th Street. The parklet will be finished and ready for visitors by mid-morning and will remain in place until approximately 5 p.m.

At the event, the Conservancy will distribute information about volunteer opportunities and the benefits of community greening. The parklet itself will provide a snapshot of the many types of urban greening that WPC brings to communities in Western Pennsylvania: community flower gardens, hanging flower baskets, trees, quiet green spaces for schools, perimeter greening for parking lots and community food gardens.

The Conservancy will give away 500 evergreen seedlings in honor of its work with TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, a major tree planting effort in the city and surrounding region. Also at the event, Direct Energy will distribute energy conservation tips that homeowners can easily implement to reduce energy consumption as the cold weather hits.

“Park(ing) Day is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how green can transform even the most built-up environment into a living landscape,” said Judy Wagner, senior director of WPC’s community gardens and greenspace program. “Every piece of green space can help capture storm water, cleanse the air, moderate temperatures and provide visual and physical respite for people who live and work in urban places. With our transitory park we showcase some of the many ways that we are working with our corporate and community partners to green our local environments.”

PARK(ing) Day originated in San Francisco in 2005 and is now an annual, international event in which participants transform space intended for vehicles into shared, public spaces. The event is intended to inspire fresh thinking about public spaces and how they are used.

Maura Clark, president of Direct Energy Business, said, “Our employees have come to truly value our relationship with WPC over the past two years. We have had approximately 450 volunteers donate near 900 hours of their time, helping to result in a more beautiful, vibrant, sustainable downtown. This is reflective of our mission to invest in the community in which we live and work.”

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s participation in PARK(ing) day aims to raise awareness about numerous opportunities, year-round, to create green spaces that improve the quality of life in our region. The Conservancy invites the public to join its more than 10,000 volunteers in making a difference: plant or maintain one of WPC’s approximately 135 community gardens located in 20 counties; plant trees or register a newly planted tree with TreeVitalize Pittsburgh; or support healthier learning environments through the School Grounds Greening Initiative, among other opportunities. To learn more, visit the Community Gardens and Greenspaces section of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s website: WaterLandLife.org/243, or contact Volunteer Coordinator Lynn McGuire-Olzak at 412-586-2324 or lolzak@paconserve.org.



About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 230,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is North America’s largest provider of heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical services and a leading competitive energy provider with over six million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, please visit www.directenergy.com.


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductable as allowed by law.