PITTSBURGH’S SECOND ADA-ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY FLOWER GARDEN opened in Homewood on Sept. 24. (Photos courtesy Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)
by Courier Newsroom
The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that the City of Pittsburgh’s second ADA-accessible community flower garden opened in Homewood on Sept. 24. It’s located at the corner of Frankstown Road and Bennett Street, as you enter Homewood.
The new Western Pennsylvania Conservancy community flower garden 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, the new accessible flower garden will feature native perennials and annuals that will provide colorful blooms during growing seasons, according to a release from the conservancy. A $20,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) funded the expansion to make the garden accessible.
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 in the press release. “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.”
The 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 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, in the release. “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.”
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