Sojourner House plans to develop two vacant, city-owned lots into a natural playground and community garden that will provide the children of Sojourner House MOMS families with a safe play space and will return vacant land to productive use to benefit the entire neighborhood.

With the necessary funding secured by spring, the MOMS Green Project will turn adjacent run-down lots on Black Street in East Liberty into a fenced natural playground and community garden space. Currently, there are no playgrounds or other safe areas in the neighborhood for children to play.

“We became acutely aware of the need for adequate, safe recreational space for the children and families as we were building our two new MOMS residences,” explained Joann Cyganovich, Sojourner House executive director.

Sojourner House reached out to its long¬time collaborative partners, Negley Place Neighborhood Alliance and East Liberty

Development Inc. (ELDI) to help with the project. The land already has been assigned by the city to ELDI for development, and cleanup of the lots is underway. To jumpstart the project, The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh has given a $5,000 grant to the MOMS Green Project to underwrite design of the play park and garden area.

It is hoped that the play and garden area will open for use this summer, helping to promote community livability and to re¬build the social fabric along Black Street where urban flight has greatly reduced home-ownership in the neighborhood. Most importantly, the MOMS Green Project will provide a fenced in, professionally designed play yard and garden for MOMS children and nearby neighbors to enjoy.

Contact Sojourner House at 412.441.7783 if you would like to help with clean up and planting of the lots this spring.