About Us

 

The Neighborhood

The South Side is a great place to live, work and play and is an important Pittsburgh neighborhood with a tax base that contributes significant revenues to the City and Allegheny County. The neighborhood has a rich, historic past, which many residents have called home for decades. The main business district, E. Carson Street, is a National Historic District, home to the longest Victorian business district in the United States with 15 blocks of Victorian architecture. Other sections of the South Side, including Jane and Sarah Streets, also hold significant historic value and need to be recognized.

The South Side is home to a burgeoning arts community, including WESA/WYEP and the iconic Fredosaurus Rex, City Theatre, Steeltown Entertainment Project, the Brew House artists’ lofts, along with a number of art installations and galleries.

South Side residents are a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds. It’s hard not to bump into someone at the coffee shop who has been a lifelong resident of the neighborhood and can share stories from working the steel and glass factories. With three large universities in close proximity, the South Side is also home and playground for college students. Phillips Elementary attracts young families seeking exemplary education. Empty nesters are moving to the neighborhood for its walkability and vibrancy. The South Side also includes a number of elderly and low-mid income residents who need to be brought into the fold. It’s important to preserve and protect each of these demographic groups as the older residents share the rich history of the community while younger citizens will become the future of the South Side, both as business owners and residents.

Too often, the fabric of the South Side – the history and the arts – are overshadowed by the challenges of its diversity. Increasing crime, lack of adequate parking, the high percentage of rental versus owner-occupied housing, lack of programming and disengaged residents risk the vitality of the neighborhood. The South Side Community Council is committed to strengthening the neighborhood through this community-based strategic planning initiative. In order to strengthen and preserve the foundation of the South Side, our priorities are to tackle many of the challenges that plague our residents while reestablishing a sense of community pride and connectedness among all demographics. The South Side is at a pivotal point. If we fail to counter the problems that are occurring, we could become a neighborhood in decline. The SSCC is taking a proactive role in addressing these issues and engaging the community to ensure the stability of the neighborhood.

Our Mission

Founded in 1939, the South Side Community Council gives a voice to the residents of the South Side Flats neighborhood and strengthens the community by celebrating and embracing its history and its arts and cultures. Through collaboration and community partnerships, it will address the challenges facing the South Side while improving the quality of life and economic vitality of the neighborhood.

Our Vision

By 2020, the South Side will be a healthy and vibrant community where families and individuals choose to live, work and play. We will accomplish this vision by:

  • Recognizing the neighborhood’s commitment to the arts, with the South Side’s rich history taking center stage through venues and events.
  • Providing urban parks filled with activities and events that regularly bring residents together and celebrate the community’s diverse demographic groups.
  • Making East Carson Street a featured destination for the entire region where a public spaces initiative will transform it into an attractive and walk-able avenue with unique retail shops and restaurants.
  • Creating an environment where residents and businesses are mutually-supportive and share a sense of community pride.

Our Goals & Accomplishments

2017-18
  • Document local voices through an oral history project in conjunction with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – South Side.
  • Build on the SSCC website to make it a resource to South Side residents
  • Address South Side graffiti by engaging local artists to design and fabricate murals (public art) that highlight South Side’s history
  • Work with the South Side Chamber of Commerce and the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association to do the following:
    • Manage ways to reduce the negative effects of the nighttime economy
    • Develop ways to increase the number of retail businesses that are more inclusive of the needs of the residents.
    • Continue to promote and market the positive qualities of South Side
2016-17
  • Document local voices through an oral history project in conjunction with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – South Side.
  • Address South Side graffiti by engaging local artists to design and fabricate murals (public art)
  • Begin the first code compliance meeting (South Watch) in September and continue to meet monthly
  • Work with the South Side Chamber of Commerce and the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association to do the following:
    • Manage ways to reduce the negative effects of the nighttime economy
    • Develop ways to increase the number of retail businesses that are more inclusive of the needs of the residents.
    • Continue to promote and market the positive qualities of South Side
  • Showcased 9 homes and the Oliver Bath House during the 26th annual Historic South Side Home Tour
  • Completing the work with South Side residents in the purchase and installation of gates in order to prevent entrance into their alleys and yards. (Community Development Block Grant)
  • Working with the city’s public works department to address concerns around crosswalk painting and traffic signage.
  • Working with city officials to keep Riverfront Park Trail free of train jumpers
  • Working with Friends of the RiverFront to clear the brush on both sides of the Riverfront Park Trail
  • Communicating the council’s work with the South Side community through the South Side Pittsburgh Reporter and recently developed “community news” eblasts
  • Working with Engineers without Borders to redesign and refresh Esser’s Plaza
  • Assisted in the formation of a parking task force made up of residents and business owners to identify potential solutions for daytime parking for businesses.  Enforcement on numbered streets now begins at 4:30 PM and on name streets at 2:30 PM.  On all streets enforcement continues until 2 AM
  • Developing 3 additional block watches
  • Continuing to remove graffiti through monthly paint outs
  • Planting at Ormsby Park (Love Your Block Grant)
  • Began the code compliance meetings (South Watch) in March
    • Educating residents about refuse regulations
  • Convened four community meetings around zoning changes
  • In attendance at Zoning Board of Adjustment hearings when South Side properties are requesting variances and special exceptions
  • Partnered with Tree Pittsburgh to plant 17 trees in the South Side and weed and add mulch to over 30 more
  • Working with PittServes and Duquesne University students to assist with community projects
  • Working with Duquesne University’s Office of Commuter Affairs to assure that the students are responsible residents.
  • Working with the South Side Chamber of Commerce, South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association on the neighborhood plan
  • Supporting the Spring Gala and Neighborhood Block Party
  • Provided sponsorships to other community organization events
  • Supported Brashear Association and Ormsby Community Center in their holiday toy drives
2015-16
  • Showcased 10 homes during the 25th annual Historic South Side Home Tour.
  • Working with South Side residents in the purchase and installation of gates in order to prevent entrance into their alleys and yards. (Community Development Block Grant)
  • Working with the city’s public works department to address concerns around crosswalk painting, traffic signage, catch basins and sewers, handicap ramps, sidewalks and curbs, street patching and paving and street closures.
  • Working on a community process for new/transfer liquor license applications to review and engage the community in new license requests/transfers.
  • Assisted in the formation of a parking task force made up of residents and business owners to identify potential solutions for daytime parking for businesses.  
  • Working throughout the year on various beautification projects, most recently the planting at Ormsby Park (Love Your Block Grant)
  • Partnering with the South Side Chamber of Commerce, the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association and other community groups to improve the quality of life for local residents.
  • Working on a code compliance group to address code violations within the South Side.
  • Working with PittServes and Duquesne University students to assist with community projects.
  • Working with Duquesne University’s Office of Commuter Affairs to assure that the students are responsible residents.
  • Provided sponsorships to other community organization events.
  • Supported Brashear Association and Ormsby Community Center in their holiday toy drives.

Executive Board

Barbara Rudiak

Barbara Rudiak

President

Michael Clark

Michael Clark

First Vice President

Joseph Bielecki

Joseph Bielecki

Second Vice President

Jane Yanosick

Jane Yanosick

Treasurer

Kathleen Petrillo

Kathleen Petrillo

Secretary

Board of Directors

 Sa'ed Al-Olimat

Sa'ed Al-Olimat

Board Member

Mary Dowd

Mary Dowd

Board Member

Daniel Gigler

Daniel Gigler

Board Member

Jacky Kaiser

Jacky Kaiser

Board Member

Sonya Kohnen

Sonya Kohnen

Board Member

Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith

Board Member

Ryan Vanston

Ryan Vanston

Board Member

Francis Vitali

Francis Vitali

Board Member

Ed Wallo

Ed Wallo

Board Member

Our Action Groups and Committees

Graffiti Watch
Dedicated volunteers prevent and remove graffiti from the South Side. Keeping our community free of graffiti requires a sustained effort. Graffiti is a public safety issue that contributes to blight, increased criminal activity, reduced property values, and added expenses. Graffiti Watch works in partnership with residents, businesses, property owners, and the City of Pittsburgh.
Green N'at
Volunteers are dedicated to creating and stewarding public parks, gardens and green spaces, including efforts to revitalize existing outdoor spaces. Outreach efforts also include community clean-up days, litter management, and providing education to the community.
South Side Garden Tour
This self-guided, rain or shine tour features unique and beautiful gardens throughout the South Side neighborhood. The gardens include courtyards, large lot gardens, rooftop gardens, and more! Join us on this annual tour to see traditional, modern, and “green” gardens and support public green spaces in the South Side.
South Side Home Tour
For more than 20 years, dozens of the South Side’s most unique residences and buildings have opened their doors for this annual self-guided walking tour. From distinctly re-purposed lofts and brand new condominiums to beautifully restored homes, each is a reflection of the owner’s own style and tastes. These homes tell a story not just through their unique architectural features but also the personal collections of art, family heirlooms, memorabilia, and travel treasures housed within.

Our Partners

City of Pittsburgh
The Brashear Association
South Side Chamber of Commerce
Zos Xavius Photography
Zos Xavius Photography

We're here to serve the South Side.