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Community Spotlight—New Parklet in Monongahela

By June 15, 2023June 16th, 2023Blog, Community Spotlight
Three women and a man pose for a photo while holding paint rollers on extension poles. They are standing over a blue painted pavement that is clearly in progress.

Volunteers Asriel Barnabei, Tom Higgs, and Rebecca Carter join program administration Ashley Kyber (center, right) in painting the pavement for a new parklet outside the Mon Valley Alliance building in Monongahela, PA.

Community Spotlight—Monongahela

The Community Spotlight series features the efforts of Rivers of Steel’s partner organizations, along with collaborative partnerships, that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the communities within the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

By Carly V. McCoy

A blue on blue spiral is painted on the surface of the pavement in front of a one-story building. The area is shaded by several types of trees.

Progress is made on the new pavement mural outside of the Mon Valley Alliance building.

New Parklet Debuts in Mon City

Rivers of Steel is excited to partner with the Mon Valley Alliance and Monongahela Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the opening of a new pocket park during the City of Monongahela’s annual 4th of July Celebration. Join us at 235 West Main Street in Monongahela between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. on July 4, 2023, to see this colorfully reimagined downtown space!

A time-lapse video featuring the painting of the pavement mural.

Unveiling New Artworks

Covering the grounds of the entire Mon Valley Alliance property, the space is designed from the ground up! A bright-blue pavement mural provides the foundation for new public sculptures that were inspired by columns from early twentieth-century street fairs in Mon City. New planters featuring sustainable plants and greenspace will be complemented by orange sun sail installations that offer shade as well.

Nearby, be sure to check out a new vinyl mural measuring 100 feet wide mounted on the Aquatorium fence line. This massive mural is based on an Appalachian Cranky, a traditional story scroll, and was created with students at Ringgold Elementary and seniors from the Mon Valley Senior Center in collaboration with artist Katy DeMent.

Five women gather around a table working on a collaborative art project.

Ashley Kyber, right, collaborates with women at the Mon Valley Senior Center on an artwork that will be incorporated into a new mural near the city’s Aquatorium.

These public artworks and design interventions are part of Rivers of Steel’s Creative Leadership Program, which helps heritage partners throughout southwestern Pennsylvania develop and implement long-term placemaking strategies for their communities. Realized over a nine-month period, this new pocket park was the culmination of an action planning process led by Ashley Kyber, who oversees the Creative Leadership Program.

Two people are shown in silhouette against a twilight sky with fireworks. Copy reads Monongahela Area 4th of July Celebration!

A Celebration in Monongahela

This exciting event coincides with the city of Monongahela’s annual 4th of July celebration downtown that includes food trucks, vendors, games, and live music followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the Monongahela River. The event is hosted by the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts.

About the Creative Leadership Program

The Creative Leadership Program is one of four key strategies in Rivers of Steel’s Partners for Creative Economy initiative. Presenting a long-term vision for the future of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, the program fosters transformational opportunities for communities left out of recent economic growth and prosperity as seen nearby in the city of Pittsburgh. This initiative unites Rivers of Steel’s approach to placemaking by investing in the future success of the region’s cultural and heritage assets and building up local leaders through a range of promotional and professional development strategies, including workforce development, technical assistance, and funding. Support for Partners for Creative Economy is made possible by a grant from the National Park Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

If you’d like to know more about community projects supported by Rivers of Steel, check out other stories in the Community Spotlight series.