Pittsburgh – September 24, 2019 – Government and nonprofit leaders gathered today in Homewood to open the City of Pittsburgh’s second ADA-accessible community flower garden. This new Western Pennsylvania Conservancy community flower garden, located at Frankstown Road and Bennett Street, will expand gardening opportunities for people with disabilities or other physical limitations. The Conservancy’s first ADA-accessible flower garden opened in May 2018 at First United Methodist Church in Shadyside.

Students from The Day School at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh placed mums within five raised wheelchair-accessible flower beds, which are connected by crushed limestone rock pathways. An expansion of the existing community flower garden at this site, this new accessible flower garden will feature native perennials and annuals that will provide colorful blooms during growing seasons. A $20,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District funded the expansion to make the garden accessible.

WPC ADA-Accessible Garden - Frankstown and Bennett“One of RAD’s primary goals is ensuring that our regional assets are for everyone,” said Daniel J. Griffin, Board Chair of the Allegheny Regional Asset District. “For many years RAD has provided grants to improve physical spaces for enhanced accessibility and to make programming more inclusive. We are thrilled to support the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in opening a new ADA-accessible flower garden in Homewood, making it possible for people of all abilities to enjoy the experience of community gardening.”

As part of their outdoor classroom and nature curriculum, students from the institute will visit the garden regularly to assist the garden steward, Mary Savage, and members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority with ongoing care, planting and weeding during the upcoming school years. The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh CEO Wendy Pardee said the garden offers a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy the beauty and satisfaction of gardening.

“The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is once again delighted to partner with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy on their latest accessible garden,” Pardee said. “As an organization that supports children with disabilities, we strongly believe in an accessible community and this garden is something that can be enjoyed by everyone. We applaud the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for being intentional in creating a world that is just a little bit bigger for everyone.”

This existing garden, established by the Conservancy in 1993, is financially supported by the RAD, the city of Pittsburgh and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Grant funding also was 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 with disabilities and physical challenges who want to participate in any Western Pennsylvania Conservancy garden planting or cleanup event in Allegheny County.

“This is the second ADA-accessible community garden in the City of Pittsburgh and we are thrilled to provide this wonderful opportunity in Homewood,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “We are very appreciative of all of the project partners, but especially RAD for funding this garden, which eliminates barriers and provides tools to ensure that people of all abilities can experience community gardening.”

The Conservancy invites community members with disabilities and physical challenges to volunteer at garden planting and cleanup events each spring and fall. For more information about volunteering in this or any of the Conservancy’s 132 community gardens, please contact Lynn McGuire-Olzak at 412-586-2324 or gardens@paconserve.org.


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 11 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 Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, a UNESCO World Heritage site, 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 more than 11,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 9,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Kissel
Communications Specialist
412-586-2328 (office)
412-335-7227 (cell)