“A lot of times you hear about all of the bad things that go on here, right?” says Davis of a neighborhood that, besides being one of the poorest in the city, has also struggled with higher crimes rates compared to its neighbors, like the more affluent Highland Park and Shadyside, and the quickly developing East Liberty. “But never do you hear about any of the great things going on.”
In 2012, Pittsburgh City Paper reported on the beautification efforts in the neighborhood. And more changes are happening.
Davis, who serves as the vice-chair of the Larimer Consensus Group, cites the construction of Liberty Green Park, a new 3.25-acre park at the corner of Larimer Avenue and Station Street in East Liberty. The park will not only provide a public space with open lawn, picnic, and playground areas but also feature green infrastructure with the capacity to manage up to 4 million gallons of stormwater annually, an important addition in a neighborhood that has long struggled with flooding.
As a bonus, the park will also be adjacent to the recently completed 85-unit Larimer/East Liberty Choice Neighborhoods mixed-income housing development, and a 150-unit mixed-income housing development.
To bring attention to these projects, Davis helped organize Larimer Alive, a celebration sponsored by multiple community partners, including Bakery Square, Google, PNC Bank, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.
Taking place on Sat., July 27, the community festival features a full day of family-friendly activities, including a Healthy Ride community bike ride and a showcase by Trash to Thrash, a local nonprofit that upcycles old skateboard parts and teaches skateboarding to underserved youth. There will also be food trucks and live entertainment.
Davis says the festival partly serves to welcome the “new families” moving into the completed Larimer housing development but stresses that the event is open to people from throughout the city.
“It’s celebrating the Larimer community, but we want other areas to participate,” says Davis.
Larimer Alive Community Festival. Sat., July 27. 12-6 p.m. Between East Liberty Blvd. and Meadow St., East Liberty. Free. facebook.com/LarimerCG