PHCA-sponsored yoga class bids farewell and good luck to a great teacher!

We often asked residents what sort of classes they’d like to see at West Penn, and the most common response was “yoga!”.  The PHCA was able to deliver on this in 2009, when we worked with local yoga teacher Lauren Williams and West Penn to arrange a day, time and space.  To make the class accessible to all residents, it was agreed that it would be on a donation basis, and West Penn agreed not to charge for the room.

Two and a half years later, the class is still going.  Another Polish Hill resident, Ilona Auth, took over the class in September 2010.  Ilona’s positive energy, humor, and supportive attitude have created a great class environment where students feel comfortable trying new things.  The class has remained small, with about four regulars and other attendees who come occasionally.  This year, the class was moved to a quiet, carpeted, air conditioned room off the gymnasium.

The yoga class will soon be undergoing another transition:  this evening is Ilona’s last class.  She will be moving to Rochester, New York to attend film conservation school.  After this evening, the class will go on hiatus until September, when we resume with a new teacher.

If you’ve been thinking of coming to yoga, please consider coming this evening.  The class is from 6:30 – 7:30, and it’s a suggested donation of $7.  If you cannot attend, but would like to know when the class starts up again, email us and we’ll put you on the contact list.

(Photo of Ilona Auth by Leslie Clague for the PHCA)

Aerobics class starting at West Penn Recreation Center on July 2

A new class, aerobics, is starting up at West Penn Recreation Center.  The class, which will be taught by a certified aerobics instructor, starts on July 2 and will be held on Monday nights from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  The fee is is $10 for 8 weeks, or $2 per class.

West Penn staffer Ryan Deloplaine tells us that this instructor also teaches Zumba, Pilates, cardio kickboxing, and more.  They hope that this program takes off so they can keep her around and expand class offerings.

West Penn Recreation Center is a Citiparks facility.  For more information or to sign up for the class, call West Penn at 412.622.7353.

(Illustration by Olivia Decaris, a British artist.  She made this quirky sketch at an aerobics class in London.)

Citiparks new events

West Penn staff called to let us know about a couple of Citiparks events coming up that Polish Hill residents might be interested in.  First, on Saturday May 12 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., there’s Pitch, Hit and Run, for boys and girls from 7-14.  Participants have a chance to win a trip to see the Pirates, or to the 2012 All-Star game.  The event will take place at McKinley Park; call West Penn (412.681.1950) for more information.

Further ahead:  with the goal of offering something new, Citiparks is planning to have a rowing (for all ages) activity this summer.  The group would meet at West Penn and drive over to Washington’s Landing as a group.  They don’t have a date yet, but  if you are interested in trying rowing, call West Penn (412.681.1950) to sign up.

Cherry blossoms at West Penn Park, and other signs of spring

The last post on this blog about West Penn showed illegal dumping; this view is more like it:  the cherry trees are blooming down near the field.

Around the neighborhood, the first daffodils and tulips are blooming; we’ve seen crocuses and violets, and there are showers of tiny white petals from the the pear trees along Brereton Street.

For those of you who asked if we found out who the culprit was in the dumping at West Penn: it turned out that at least some of those piles of refuse — the ones in the lower parking lot — were left there temporarily by City crews.  Those piles have now been cleared away.  Lots of other refuse, including bags of trash were left by various other people.  We are working with the City and local environmental groups to discourage this dumping and hope that the people dumping their garbage in our park can be identified and charged.

(West Penn photos by Terry Doloughty, tulips by Leslie Clague for the PHCA)

This weekend is the end of the season at West Penn Pool

The lifeguards are going back to school, and the West Penn Pool will close for the season at 5:45 pm on Sunday August 21.  The pool was a great relief during the ultra-hot days this summer, and we’re going to miss it — and the exercise.

But there is a place to go while you’re waiting for the pool to reopen next June.  If you have a pool pass, it’s good from September 2011 thru May 2012 at Citiparks Oliver Bathhouse on 10th street in the Southside (that’s between East Carson Street and the 10th Street Bridge).  Occasional visitors can pay $4 for entry.

The Oliver Bathhouse (above) is closed right now, but will open on September 6 and remain open until the outdoor pool season starts again next year.  Oliver is a nice facility with a big pool and things like water aerobics for seniors, family swims, and swimming lessons.

Citiparks summer guide to parks and recreation

(A guest post from the office of Mayor Ravenstahl)

Dear Neighbors,

Recreation remains an essential component of Pittsburgh’s outstanding quality of life. Those of us who live in Pittsburgh are fortunate to have many urban parks and green spaces with plenty of free and low-cost activities available to keep our families busy all summer long.

Our Citiparks offer a variety of events, activities, and competitions. This summer I invite you to come out and get creative with the Roving Art Cart, pack a picnic, and enjoy a free movie night with friends and family. Or get into the competitive spirit for a match at the Mellon Park Tennis Center!

Pick up a copy of the free “Citiparks Summer Magazine” and begin planning an action-packed summer. The 60-page booklet showcases the 2011 schedule of events for community festivals, movies, footraces, farmers’ markets, and more. It also allows for quick reference concerning the facilities’ locations and phone numbers.

Consider this booklet to be a City resident’s official “user’s guide” for summer.

Print copies of the Summer Magazine are available at Citiparks facilities, such as pools and community recreation centers, as well as at the 3-1-1 Center in the City-County Building. Thanks to a variety of community partnerships, the booklet is also available at Carnegie Library branches within the City limits, the Schenley Park Visitor Center, and the VisitPittsburgh welcome center on Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh.

For your convenience, these schedules and resources for Citiparks programs and events – in addition to the Summer Magazine posted as a printable document – are available online by visiting the Citiparks website.

Note:  The PHCA office also has copies of the Summer Magazine — stop in to say hello, and pick one up.  And don’t forget — the West Penn pool opens on Thursday the 16th!

Field Permit Applications now being accepted

Thinking about reserving a field for your team this spring and summer?  Then it’s time to put in your application!

For Citiparks fields:

West Penn Field, in Polish Hill, is a Citiparks field.  Citiparks applications for spring ballpark use are due January 31. The application can be found on the DPW page, along with application guidelines. A full list of Citiparks facilities, which includes West Penn field, are listed on the Citiparks page.

For Allegheny County fields:

The Allegheny County Parks Department will accept applications for ball field permits from organized baseball, soccer and softball leagues from Wed., Feb. 2, through Wed., Feb. 16.  Applications are available at park offices and online.  A list of County ballfields is available on the County site, and includes rental rates, amenities and locations.

Applications must be filed in person by a league representative at the park office where the requested fields are located. A certificate of insurance is required with the application, and all required fees for ball field permits must be paid in full when the permits are issued. Acceptance of an application does not guarantee that permits will be issued for the dates requested.

Individuals interested in scheduling picnic games may choose from the remaining dates beginning Tues., March 1.

For more information, call the Allegheny County Parks Department at 412-350-7275.

First CommuniTeach class in Polish Hill

Guest post by Myra Falisz
They came to frame photographs, mementos and craft projects. Some were from Polish Hill, including our teacher, Suzanne Pyle. Others came from communities nearby. The event captured the spirit of CommuniTeach perfectly. Tom Ogden invited his friend and neighbor, Russ Manski. During the framing class, Ben Paul, co-founder of CommuniTeach, engages Russ in conversation about what it means to be a general contractor. Then, Russ agrees to teach a class on how to tile. Russ happens to be the first one to successfully cut his window! Everyone enjoyed the afternoon session, which also featured yummy Polish food. The leftovers came in handy, with the pierogi butter providing the much-needed boost for our mat cutting equipment to slide more smoothly. Stay tuned for Mat Framing Part 2 coming soon.

Do you like soccer?


Interesting networks that you can find on the Intertubes: Pickupalooza. The site is a clearing house for sports enthusiasts to find pick up games at the various city parks and recreation fields. For instance, the Black Sheep United Football Club has a pick up game scheduled for —

Tuesday May 18, 7:00pm at West Penn Park in Polish Hill

From the event page — Come hang out, have fun and play some soccer! We usually start at 7. Arrive early to stretch and pass the ball around. Laid back recreational play (keep the attitude at home) we’re just out to have fun. After the game we’ll head over to Gooski’s for a drink.

New Image Summer Camp @West Penn

New Image Summer Camp is a summer program for children between the ages of 8 years to 13 years. This program keeps children busy through out the summer with a nominal fee for activities. The following is a schedule for the summer camp activities:

* Monday – Friday
* Age: 8 years – 13 years
* Six weeks
* Prevention/Educational sessions in the morning
* Field trips/activities in the afternoon
* Breakfast and lunch daily

For more information about the program, check out the Addison Behavioral Care site. Information about registration and fees are available at 412-731-2353.