So what would make 60-odd people gather downtown early on a Saturday morning? Service, of course! This morning the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Pittsburgh Cares organized a group of volunteers, mostly from the various Pittsburgh AmeriCorps program (or significant others of AmeriCorps Members), who spend the morning exploring Pittsburgh. There were six sites and each of six teams of volunteers trekked to four of the sites. They sorted clothes for Dress for Success, removed graffiti, swept up trash (and snow from the recent Batman movie) and generally tidied up public spaces. The weather was wonderful. Two of the sites were on the river and those in the group who were new to Pittsburgh found themselves in often overlooked corners that showcase how beautiful Pittsburgh really is.
One of the conversations that was common among the Pittsburgh natives was just how much the city has changed for the better. Walking down Liberty is a completely different experience than it was ten years ago. The paths along the river are no longer filled with trash, they are populated with joggers and dog walkers. There are so many new businesses and even the empty properties have been spruced up. The city still has a long way to go, but the changes are amazing.
Other interesting conversations included the discussion about passerby’s who assumed that a group cleaning Market Square should”stay out of trouble from now on.” The idea that some people do service because they want to, not because they are forced to has not occurred to everyone. The other interesting discussion was whether all graffiti should be removed, whether some of it could actually improve an area. (Note: They did remove the graffiti they were asked to).
It was a great experience that anyone interested in getting to know downtown better while improving it a little should partake in. If this piques your interest visit http://www.downtownpittsburgh.com/get-involved/pdp-volunteers. Every Saturday volunteers gather and you too can be a beautification volunteer.
Thanks again to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Pittsburgh Cares for a great day.