Cliffside Park: A playground with a view

February 1, 2016


Filming at Cliffside Park with Elliott Cramer Sheryland Neal

"Cliff Street was a kid’s street for as far back as I can remember. They would ride their scooters up and down, roller skates, play hopscotch, and all kinda games, jump rope the whole bit.”- "Coach" Leroy Dillard, a resident of the Hill District .


The pilot episode of Neglected Histories tells the biography of Cliffside Park (recently renamed the August Wilson Park), a 40 year old park and playground area in Pittsburgh's historic Hill District. 





The original Cliff street park was built at the corner of Cliff street and Cassatt, above Bigelow blvd, with a panoramic view of Downtown, the North Side, and almost all of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods along the Allegheny River.


The location and layout of Cliff street is similar to a suburban cul-de-sac, somewhat secluded and away from busy streets. A perfect area for kids to play.


Through the decades the park's history has touched on the impact of urban renewal in the lower hill district, the closing of Pittsburgh public schools, and shrinking funds leading to a shift in city departments.  


Cliffside was built in 1975, at a time when drastic changes from urban renewal initiatives uprooted the Lower Hill. Leading to the steady departure of families and businesses throughout the Hill. The remaining families and neighborhood kids still had Cliff street park to enjoy.


Until the last decade, when an ongoing lack of city funds for maintenance degraded the site, overgrowth obstructed the impressive views, and a fire, became factors in the park's closing. But key community members have slowly developed plans for its revitalization as part of the Hill District's Greenprint. Find out what the biography of this place can tell us about the changes in the larger Hill District community, Pittsburgh, and possibly your own neighborhood.

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