The Next Page: A conceptual plan for The Hill
Share with others:
The arena reborn as park and civic center.
1) Reinvent Mellon Arena as an innovative community anchor. Find new uses that can be the focus of a new, surrounding development of homes and businesses. As shown above, it could be opened up to become a park or public open space for the Hill, a place for pregame tailgating, performing arts events, a farmer's market, festivals and community gatherings.
Think of it as a giant bandstand -- like a small version of the Hollywood Bowl, only with a skating rink and restaurants, maybe even a boutique hotel.
2) Tweak the location of the new Penguins arena. Move the arena up the street just a half block to save the historic buildings on Fifth Avenue. This would allow Mario Lemieux Way (which bends behind Mellon Arena now) to extend down to Fifth Avenue. On game days and during special events, the street could be closed to fully activate the whole district from the old arena to the new.
3) Take a holistic approach to the Hill. The plan shown at the bottom of the page is drawn all the way to Kirkpatrick Street for a reason that is the foundation for this plan: All of the red buildings are key cultural and historic landmarks.
There are many more that need to be added to trace the history of the many cultures and ethnic groups that have inhabited the Hill for more than a couple of centuries. It envisions a supermarket, more affordable housing (Crawford Roberts is gentrifying quickly), a library (on the way), the restoration of the New Granada Theater and the Crawford Grill. Kirkpatrick is important because it ties into ideas put forth by Find the Rivers!, a collaboration of Hill advocates, the Riverlife Task Force and Carnegie Mellon University's Urban Lab. The Hill never has been celebrated for its fabulous views, but Find the Rivers! is out to change that by defining Kirkpatrick as an attractive connector between the South Side and Polish Hill, with public art, innovative lighting, water features and so on.
4) Strengthen connections to the city and adjacent neighborhoods. We propose that Wylie Avenue becomes a key pedestrian connection to Downtown, as others have proposed. But in our plan, you actually walk right through the arena civic space. The path would continue through a new park and mixed-use space built over the Crosstown Boulevard -- just like in the original plan for the Civic (Mellon) Arena.
5) Rebuild Fifth Avenue. Let's not forget the Fifth Avenue business district, which should be a strong, pedestrian-oriented place that emphasizes historic facades and high-quality infill construction. Imagine that some of these would be tucked along the side of the new arena, where you could buy or rent a sports- or music-themed loft. Invite people to be as close to the action as possible.
6) Make sustainable design and historic preservation our guides. They should anchor the philosophy that would catapult the Hill into the destination we all know it can be.
A holistic approach to The Hill could catapult the neighborhood to a leadership position. Click here for a larger, scalable version of the Hill District proposal above in .pdf format.
First Published February 11, 2007 12:00 am