The Punch List – 7/20/18

We Pittsburghers love our parks. Preservation Pittsburgh, along with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City are teaming up to add three Pittsburgh parks to the National Register of Historic Places. Pittsburgh’s largest – Frick Park, Highland Park which houses the Zoo and a vital water reservoir, and 124-year-old Riverview Park are all candidates. The expected one year process to have them named will involve compiling data and photos, then presenting them to the State Historic Preservation Office, the Board, and finally the National Park Service. 

Pesky, and alarming, too. The spotted lanternfly has been spreading through the southeastern Pennsylvania area for the past several years and is quickly moving westward. The fly feeds on the “Tree of Heaven,” a Chinese native, but doesn’t limit its meals to that tree, and that worries researchers. The pest could especially affect grape (wine!) crops and is believed to be the worst pest since the gypsy moth 150 years ago. Scientists and state officials are working hard to quarantine the fly to those 13 southeastern PA counties while the USDA researches the fly’s feeding habits in China in hopes of erradication.  

A new home for some of Pittsburgh’s key offices. Offices for the City of Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and the Pittsburgh Housing Authority will likely move from the Robin Civic Building to the former Art Institute building on Boulevard of the Allies. The three organizations will each own a third of the building that will be purchased for $27 million, with an addition $13 million projected for additional renovations (the building was recently gutted and given new interior systems). The organizations say buying is a better alternative to building or renting, with their current space quickly deteriorating. URA is the first of the three to approve the sale.

It’s been raining a lot – maybe this will help. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority completed its second stormwater management project as part of the City-Wide Green First Plan series. Two completed projects, and many other future projects including in Shadyside and the Northside, will help prevent sewers from overflowing and dumping diluted sewage into the rivers (an estimated 9 billion gallons end up in the rivers each year). The recently completed project in the Hill District includes rain gardens and bioswales, and is expected to annually divert 1 million gallons of water alone.  

Projects galore. Two new projects on CMU’s campus will complete the university’s “maker-ecosystem” by 2020. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson announced designs this week for TCS Hall, which will house the School of Computer Science, and Ansys Hall, the future hub for the College of Engineering featuring a lab, glass enclosed workspaces, and green space. The buildings will blend into CMU’s historic campus but have a contemporary flair. Some other recent project team selections: Jacobs as program manager for the Allegheny County Airport Authority renovations, PJ Dick Construction for Pitt’s Scaife Hall, and Turner Construction for UPMC Hillman/Shadyside renovations.  

It’s getting tropical in Pittsburgh. The National Aviary reopened its tropical rainforest room after a $1.2 million renovation. Elements of the renovation included the installation of a 15-foot waterfall and replacement of over 3,000 glass panes with bird-friendly glass that follows the 2×4 rule and will protect birds from collisions both inside and outside. The designers modeled the room to replicate the birds’ natural habitat as closely as possible by choosing glass that allow UV rays in. The birds, along with three sloths, are gradually being reintroduced to the room.

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