Work Starts to Reconnect Hill District to Downtown Pittsburgh

$32 Million Park Will "Cap" Crosstown Expressway

Joe DeStio
June 14, 2019 - 4:46 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Officials and community leaders broke ground today on a $32 million park to be built on a bridge or cap over Pittsburgh’s Crosstown Expressway. The I-579 “Cap” as it’s called is designed to reconnect the Hill District to Downtown. That connection was destroyed some 60 years ago in the name of urban renewal and the build the Civic Arena.

Congressman Mike Doyle headed the effort to obtain $19 million in federal TIGER funding for the project. “Building this cap isn’t the end of the story, it’s the beginning of the story,” said Doyle. “We have to make sure we are continuing this economic development up to the lower Hill and the upper Hill.”

Once complete in late 2021, the 3-acre green space will include bike and walking trains, rain gardens and embedded art.

State Representative Jake Wheatley fought for community involvement. “We’re going to reconnect the Hill to center city Downtown. We’re going to have the opportunity to leverage what happens in this lower Hill property to continue to do the great things we want to do beyond Crawford Street.”

An estimated 8-thousand Hill District residents were displaced in the 1950’s and 60’s to make way for the Crosstown Expressway and the former Civic Arena.

Margaret Watson who turns 99 next month has lived in the Hill District all her live. She was one of the people there to help break ground.

Joe DeStio/ KDKA Radio

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