Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Weed 'Em&reap: Pwsa, City Prune a Park

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Weed 'Em&reap: Pwsa, City Prune a Park

Article excerpt

The gathering Sept. 5 in a Hill District park is unlikely to rank with the Yalta Conference or the Paris Agreement in the annals of intergovernmental summits, but it got a landscaping crew to the park before the week was out.

Those other conferences didn't work nearly that fast.

If the sound of mowers and hedge trimmers seems no big whoop to you, then you don't live around Robert E. Williams Memorial Park. More commonly known as Herron Hill Park, most of its hillsides have looked more like cow pastures for much of the summer, and weeds have grown high enough to block a previously glorious view of the Golden Triangle.

"We'd like everyone to see what we've been complaining about for years," Lynnel Nunn told the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and city officials who came to the park eight days ago at residents' urging.

Mike Gable, the city's director of public works, didn't waste any time in pointing out that his little triangular slice of the park fanning from the corner of Adelaide and Milwaukee streets is in good shape.

The problem is the lion's share of the park surrounding the Herron Hill Reservoir is expected to be maintained by the PWSA. With all its water woes, it hadn't paid much attention to flora.

But the day after the meeting, the PWSA had a crew clearing the walkway around the reservoir - just in time for that water tank and its cover to be inspected. A rip in the cover at Lanpher Reservoir in Shaler led to a boil-water advisory for the city's North Side and neighboring boroughs last month, and nobody wants to go through that again.

Split maintenance duties at the park stem from the city's decision to spin off its 259 water department workers to the PWSA in 1995. An agreement at that time shows the PWSA is responsible for about 90 percent of the park area's upkeep, Mr. Gable said.

But residents who have lived around the park for generations naturally see it as one seamless greenspace. The split duties look like little more than a handy way to shift blame.

"I know Highland Park Reservoir doesn't look like this," said Gail Carter, whose uncle was the longtime magistrate and ward chair Robert E. …

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