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Community members combat frigid temperatures to see Allegheny Commons Park upgrades

Community members combat frigid temps to see Allegheny Commons Park upgrades
Community members combat frigid temps to see Allegheny Commons Park upgrades 02:10

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Gusty winds and freezing temperatures Sunday made it feel like the single digits in some places across Western Pennsylvania, but at Allegheny Commons Park on Pittsburgh's North Side, some folks braved the cold to take in several new upgrades between Federal Street and the George Washington Monument.

In the bitter cold, Richard Johnson went on a run in Allegheny Commons Park.

"It's a little windy," Johnson said. "But it was okay."

The weather didn't stop him.

"At my age, if I stopped running, I won't start it up again, so I've got to keep it up," Johnson said.

However, before now, some other problems did, at least at that spot.

"The lights weren't working at night," Johnson said. "You wouldn't really want to walk through the park because it was very dark."

This was the case for Ann Miller-Burke, Sean Burke, and their dog, Benny, who also were frustrated by the mud at the park.

"There wasn't any paths," Miller-Burke said.

Now, that's changed. This week the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced it completed the second half of the restoration of the city's oldest public park with updates, including resurfaced paths, new trees, benches, garbage cans, and 15 energy-efficient lights.

"The paths are really nice because then his paws don't get as muddy," Miller-Burke said.

"It's definitely like, 'Hey, we could actually make it a point to walk through there,'" Burke said.

The nonprofit also added mobility and pedestrian upgrades, like a new crosswalk with a traffic-calming median.

"It slows things down and makes it easy to cross," Johnson said.

While the trees may not be grown, and they're not able to see the full scope of the changes, they're already recognizing the improvements.

"It makes a big difference," Miller-Burke said.

"I think, aesthetically, they've done a lot of work," Burke said. "You're seeing a lot of different revitalization, but the park especially it's kind of been an eyesore. Now it's definitely one of the nicer parks of the area."

According to the conservancy, these latest upgrades were paid in part through a $1 million contribution from Duquesne Light and $800,000 from the Pittsburgh Parks Tax Trust Fund.

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