Hill District

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Normally, playing on a highway is a bad idea, but a project to physically reconnect Pittsburgh’s Hill District to Downtown will soon install a walkable, bikeable park overtop the I-579 / Crosstown Boulevard Corridor. 

The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority is spearheading the I-579 “Cap” Urban Connector Project. It will erase a significant barrier in the city, said executive director Mary Conturo.

Wikimedia Commons

A rehabilitation effort in the commercial corridor of the Hill District is one step closer to opening its doors.

Once a performance hub for artists like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, the New Granada Theater has sat empty on the 2000 block of Centre Avenue for more than a decade. Planning and fundraising are underway for a full rehabilitation of the historic Art Deco-style building built in the 1920s.

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a measure Thursday to help fund new affordable housing units near PPG Paints Arena. 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Renowned composer Kathryn Bostic first worked with Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson in 2003, scoring the Broadway production of “Gem of the Ocean.”

“Being a part of that process and being in rehearsals and hearing his words, the cadence in his words and his writing is to me are very musical and symphonic,” said Bostic, who lives and works in Los Angeles. “That’s when I began to first get this idea to try to create a symphonic piece.”

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A 40-foot tall wind turbine has been unveiled in the Lower Hill District to help power the former Connelley Trade School. The building now houses a collection of sustainability-focused organizations, including the Energy Innovation Center and the Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Details of Pittsburgh’s Amazon headquarters proposal won’t be released to the public because the city signed non-disclosure agreements with private developers.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A nearly 80-year-old public housing complex in the Hill District is in the running for millions of dollars of federal redevelopment funds as the community nears the end of a two-year planning process.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board has voted to move forward with an amended development deal between the city and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. The proposal narrowly passed three to two, with Councilman Daniel Lavelle and former state Senator Jim Ferlo voting against the deal. Lavelle represents the Hill District.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he expects to have an agreement with the Penguins on the first phase of development on the Lower Hill by Wednesday afternoon.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

In October 2013, the Hill District held a triumphant groundbreaking: the opening of Shop n’ Save, the neighborhood’s first grocery store in 30 years.

Teenie Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Heinz Family Fund

The year 1954 was a significant one in Pittsburgh: Jonas Salk administered the first polio vaccine to students in Lawrenceville, Roberto Clemente was drafted by the Pirates and Hill District resident Paul Jones became the first black man to sit on Pittsburgh City Council.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Robert Bowden grew up in the Hill District, watching his mother struggle to move her family from a housing project into a nicer neighborhood.


Later on, as a young man, Bowden said he was “just a typical guy on a corner.” He had never considered college, and held a job as the janitor at a jewelry store. Bowden said his attitude changed after an incident during one of his breaks on the job.


Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

On a Friday afternoon in April, David Lyttle pieced together his drum kit on a patch of grass in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

New research from the Rand Corporation shows that who you are – including your race, education and income – is a big predictor of how healthy you eat. But where you live matters, too.

Since 2011, Rand has compared the health of residents in Homewood, a food desert, with the Hill District, which went 30 years without a grocery store before finally getting one in 2013.

David Bachman Photography

When Sean Gibson was first approached by a musician wanting to write an opera about his great-grandfather, he was a little skeptical.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds gathered in the Hill District Friday afternoon and pledged to uphold civil rights in Pittsburgh at the People’s Inauguration.

Representatives from social justice groups, including Fight for Fifteen, Planned Parenthood and the Black Lives Matters movement addressed the crowd about the importance of inclusiveness going into the administration of President Donald Trump.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This is the second in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2017 with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here.

Council members Deb Gross, Corey O’Connor and Daniel Lavelle represent three very different districts, but the issue of equitable development looms large for each of them. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A few decades ago, Terri Baltimore tagged along with a group of architecture students and their professor while they were visiting the Hill District.

“And what they said about this neighborhood broke my heart,” she said. “That it was dirty.

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

Nearly one-quarter of Pittsburghers live without internet access in their home. Without the web, many families are cut off from job opportunities or educational advancement. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A team of graphic designers and marketing consultants are working their way through five neighborhoods to help local entrepreneurs.

The group Up To Know Good is spending its third year setting up pop-up storefronts in less-affluent neighborhoods. This week Up To, as its known for short, will pop up in the North Side and the Hill District the following week. 

United Way

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is partnering with a dozen local organizations to focus on the academic and social needs of kids.

Since the five-year United for Children plan was announced in December, the organization has chosen local agencies to receive funding, volunteers and business support to help an estimated 300,000 children.

Scott Roller / Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

August Wilson Park opens in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood Saturday after years of planning and construction. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Residents of the Hill District would have a much easier time walking or biking to downtown Pittsburgh after the construction of a proposed three-acre park with pathways on a platform raised overtop of I-579 in the Lower Hill.

The project, which has already undergone a year-long planning and design process, will be ready for construction after the federal government releases $19 million in grant funding for the effort this October, officials announced Tuesday.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Film crews are turning back the clock to reflect the Steel City of 1957.

The old cars and vintage clothing come courtesy of the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "Fences," starring the play's Broadway duo, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

Though based on events that occurred in the Hill District, the Paramount film has been on location in neighborhoods across the city, including Pittsburgh's West End early Friday.

Prevention Point Pittsburgh Celebrates 20 Years

Apr 15, 2016
Todd Huffman / flickr

Since they began in the Hill District in 1995, Prevention Point Pittsburgh has been providing needle exchange services to help stop the spread of injection-related diseases. Twenty years later, the organization has spread to three counties and has served more than 5,000 injection drug users. We’ll ask Overdose Prevention Project Coordinator Alice Bell how PPP has evolved over the years and how they measure success. We’ll also hear about the many services they provide to users. 

Nelson Harrison / Pittsburgh Jazz Network

Nelson Harrison isn't shy about his passion for Pittsburgh's prominence in the history of jazz music.

“Pittsburgh is the jazz capital of the world," Harrison said. "A lot of people don’t know that. The last hundred years of jazz wouldn’t have happened at all if it hadn’t been for Pittsburghers who innovated almost every major movement in Pittsburgh.”

daveynin / flickr

Nearly six years after CONSOL Energy Center's completion, officials say it still doesn't have the public art that was promised along with the building. 

Chancelor Humphrey

The rapper Mars Jackson grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. He’s been performing for about six years and said he wants people to know about the dynamic artists who make up Pittsburgh’s rap and hip hop scene.

Jackson says many wrongly believe that Pittsburgh’s pool of talent begins and ends with superstars Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. Jackson stopped by the station to talk to Larkin Page-Jacobs about the music he creates to address real life issues.


The Changing Face Of Pittsburgh

Jan 5, 2016

As the city continues to earn accolades as an example of urban reinvention, how will the changing face of its neighborhoods impact the city and will everyone benefit? We’ll pose those questions to Diana Nelson Jones who writes the Walkabout column for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and John Conti, freelance architectural columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.