WHO: Allegheny Regional Asset District, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy have partnered to create the first ADA-accessible community flower garden in Pittsburgh specifically designed for people with physical challenges and disabilities.

WHAT: A ribbon-cutting ceremony and planting will be held at the Conservancy’s new Accessible Flower Garden at Centre and S. Aiken avenues in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood. Featuring six raised flower beds and wheelchair-accessible pathways, this new garden is an expansion of the existing community garden at this site.

About 10 students from The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh will plant nearly 100 pansies at the garden following an opening ceremony. Ceremony speakers include County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, RAD Board Chair Dan Griffin, The Children’s Institute CEO Wendy Pardee, FUMC Pastor Jim Walker and WPC President and CEO Tom Saunders. Students from the school will also assist the garden steward, Deb Shearer, with ongoing care, planting and weeding of the garden throughout the current and upcoming school years.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 10 a.m.
A ceremony will be followed by students and event attendees planting flowers and mulching.

WHERE: First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh at the corner of Centre and S. Aiken avenues in Pittsburgh (Shadyside). The church is located at 5401 Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh.

WHY: This new Accessible Flower Garden will provide opportunities for people with disabilities in Allegheny County to participate in community gardening. The Conservancy received a $28,000 grant from RAD in the spring of 2017 to expand and transform a section of the existing community flower garden at the church to be ADA-accessible. The existing community flower garden was first established by the Conservancy in 1996 and is financially supported by the church, RAD and UPMC.

The ADA-accessible expansion of this garden includes the installation of six raised flower beds to accommodate adults and children in wheelchairs. The beds are connected by flat, smooth pathways made of crushed limestone rock.

The grant was also used to purchase specialty gardening tools to help volunteers with disabilities, arthritis or other physical limitations. These tools, which include long-reach hoes, trowels and forks, are equipped with arm-support cuffs and easy-grip handles to make planting and accessing flower beds easier, convenient and safer. The tools are available for use by volunteers who want to plant at any garden site in Allegheny County.

The Conservancy invites community members with disabilities and physical challenges to volunteer at garden planting and pull-out events each spring and fall.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 10 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 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 132 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit or

Media Contact:

Carmen Bray
Director of Communications