and Involvement of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition: 1972 – Present
The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) is a non-profit corporation
founded in 1972. It’s mission, as set forth in the By-Laws is “… to
improve the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh through educational
and cooperative endeavors of individuals and groups from the area seeking
to enhance the physical and social attributes of the community.” Key
milestones in the history of SHUC cover a range of issues, including
but not limited to, Education, Public Safety, Business District Improvements,
Land Use, Parks and Recreation, and Long Range Planning. A timeline
of some of these milestones is set forth below.
- Organized and implemented cooperative efforts between the City and
the Forbes Avenue businesses between Murray and Shady to replace the
water and sewer infrastructure, repave Forbes, and widen and repave
- Opposed the construction of a ten story high rise on Northumberland
Street across from the Schenley Park Golf Course, which led to the
present townhouse development.
- Organized the opposition to the City's plan to lease the Schenley
Golf Course to a nine-hole commercial venture that proposed fencing,
a lighted driving range, and liquor license. This opposition effort
ultimately facilitated the restoration and the management of the Golf
Course to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
- Developed a Cooperation Agreement between SHUC and CMU for an aesthetic
and neighborhood friendly parking garage at Forbes and Beeler Avenues,
as well as provided for community review and input into other building
projects on its campus.
- Acquired the Wightman Elementary School for use as a Community center
for multiple community based activities and programs. Subsequently
sold the building to the Carriage House Children’s’ Center, who rehabilitated
- Successfully opposed the Pittsburgh School District's plan to stop
bussing students to Colfax Elementary School from the western part
of Squirrel Hill
- Initiated a long-range planning process, which resulted in the publication
of a long-range planning and development proposal for the City of
Pittsburgh's 14th Ward.
- Introduced the concept of the extension of Frick Park to the Monongahela
River and the residential development of the Nine Mile Run slag dump,
which was part of the long- range plan, to then, City Councilman,
Bob O’Connor. O’Connor brought this development concept to the attention
of Mayor Tom Murphy who implemented the Summerset Development at Frick
Park and Parkland Nature Preserve along Nine Mile Run.
- Successfully opposed the Pittsburgh School District plan to eliminate
the Scholars Program at Taylor Allderdice High School.
- Working with the City, developed and implemented a pedestrian safety
traffic light and crosswalk along Forbes Avenue in the business district,
as well as a crossing system at the Forbes and Murray, and Forbes
and Shady corners.
- Developed and implemented the Squirrel Hill Citizens Patrol, a neighborhood
crime prevention program, with the City Police Department.
- Represented the community views and concerns in order to retain
the Giant Eagle grocery store on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, which
led to a store renovation.
- Represented the community concerns and interests regarding building
proposals by the Jewish Community Center (JCC), the Jewish Education
Institute (JEI) and the Jewish Agency on Aging (JAA) which resulted
in a reconfiguration of the originally proposed expansions. The final
plan resulted in the Darlington Avenue JCC building, Weinberg Terrace,
an assisted living facility on Bartlett Street, the renovation of
the former St. Philomena School into the Community Day School, and
new and renovated facilities on Browns Hill Road, at the Charles Morris
1996 - Present
- Organized the opposition to the original development plan for the
Summerset Development at Frick Park, resulting in a less dense and
more aesthetic residential community.
- Lobbied against changes in Title I funds allocation that would have
distributed funds based on the socioeconomic level of the neighborhood
in which a school was located, and not on the actual population of
the school. Minadeo, Colfax, Linden and Reizenstein would have been
deprived of any such funding based on that funding formula.
- Supported the creation of the Colfax Spanish Academy and expansion
- Successfully worked to reduce the density of the Beechwood Commons
- Organized and supported the CAN IT program, which contributed to a
cleaner business district.
- Helped to orchestrate the design and implementation of the mural
located in the Starbucks parking lot on lower Murray Avenue.
- Instrumental in reinstating the Bach, Beethoven and Brunch Sunday
morning concerts in Mellon Park (2005).
- Organized and supported the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol, a grassroots effort by community residents to eradicate litter from the business district and residential streets.
For thirty-five years, the SHUC has been an active and important link
in the community. It has served as a sounding board for new ideas, as
well as a “watchdog” in the areas of public safety, education, residential
quality, the business district, and parks and open space. With its focus
on the quality of life in the 14th Ward, the SHUC continues to monitor
activities and future developments in the community through a range
of standing committees.