Pittsburgh, Pa. – Oct. 25, 2023 – Buzzing bees on pollinator-friendly plants, redbuds and other native trees, and leafy veggies on roots were perfect complements to community residents and school students who helped cut the ribbon to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s new Page Street Community Accessible Vegetable Garden on October 25.
A festive fall community celebration marked the official opening of the garden located at 1323 Page Street in Pittsburgh’s historic Manchester neighborhood. Originally established in the 1980s, the garden had fallen into disrepair and community members asked the Conservancy for help and support to reimagine the space and reestablish the natural vegetation.
Conservancy staff worked closely with community members and organizations to create a garden that is open for all to enjoy gardening, especially those with physical disabilities, mobility limitations and special needs.
With the generous financial support from the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust ($75,000) and Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation ($25,000), the Conservancy, with the help of community members and volunteers, was able to enhance the space with the following amenities that include:
• 30 feet of curved backless bench and 4 reclaimed wooden stools
• 8 raised garden beds and 7 accessible garden beds
• 2,080-square-foot accessible, permeable pathway made from recycled rubber tires (perkEpave)
• Several native trees, and hundreds of shrubs and pollinator-friendly perennials
The raised vegetable garden beds stand three feet off the ground, permitting gardeners in wheelchairs easier access to plant flowers and vegetables without the need to stand or bend.
At the event, students from Pittsburgh Public School’s Conroy Early Childhood Center planted lettuce and other cold-hardy veggies and flora in the planting beds alongside their teachers and community members. Located across the street from the garden, Conroy serves nearly 200 students requiring life skills assistance, autistic support and multiple disability support needs. The center’s students will use the outdoor space to gain skills and participate in educational opportunities during garden planting and maintenance events.
Over the next year, Giant Eagle will provide sustaining financial support for plants and other needs as the current garden sponsor. “We’re pleased to support the important work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy as they continue to make gardening more accessible to individuals who are living with disabilities,” said Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle spokesperson. “Thanks to their efforts, the Page Street Community Vegetable Garden will be a beautiful, welcoming, and inclusive green space for the Manchester community.”
Other community partners that participated in the creation of, and will continue to use the garden, include Bidwell Training Center, Manchester Academic Charter School and City Connections CCAC Campus.
Conservancy staff will continue to work closely with the center, community residents and partners to keep the Page Street Accessible Community Vegetable Garden thriving. If you have questions, want to learn more or interested in volunteering, please contact Community Greening Project Manager Marah Fielden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands, protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, and assessed thousands of wildlife species and their habitats. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces and thousands of trees that are planted with the help of more than 7,000 volunteers. The work of the Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.
Senior Director of Communications