The Etna EcoDistrict Plan has come to life on the corner of Wilson and Grant streets through the opening of Etna EcoPark. This brand new green infrastructure project was a collaboration between Etna Borough, ECO, Triboro Ecodistrict, and so many others who contributed their money, time, and/or effort to realize the vision. On October 9th, neighbors gathered at the new parklet to learn about the park’s features, listen to live music, and celebrate together in the new public space. Musical performances were from Tai Chirovsky, Louie Castle, and the Jim and Bailey Band. Etna-based businesses, D&L Handcrafted Deli and Porky's Bar and Grill, were on site to vend food and drink to attendees. Cop Out Perogies also provided PIErogies for dessert. Environmental educator and landscape designer Judith Koch and artist Lindsay Huff were on hand to present their work to attendees. It was a perfect evening to initiate the new park and celebrate this “win” for our community.
The park embodies each of the quality of life issues that were addressed in the Etna EcoDistrict Plan: energy, water, mobility, food, air quality, and social equity. At the park you can find a community herb garden, kinetic sculptures, a little library, and a variety of native plants and trees. We look forward to many more events held at Etna EcoPark as we move forward into a greener future together! Etna councilperson and Wilson Street Resident Jessica Semler stated,
"What was a sad, empty lot before is now this beautiful park that so many people helped to make a reality. The park is the embodiment of our EcoDistrict values, and I'm really pumped to have it so close to my house so I can walk by it every day!"
Aside from being a beautiful greenspace, it is also a stormwater management project with a 1,000 square foot rain garden and 100% permeable surface. Located at one of the lowest points in the floodplain, this site was once the location of several Etna businesses which were subject to repeated flooding. In 2004, this property was flooded for the last time, and became vacant and eventually condemned. Etna Borough raised the funds to demolish it, acquire the site, and later, teamed up with ECO to develop the new park that you see today. The green infrastructure was put to the test on September 1st when remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through Western Pennsylvania and caused nearby Pine Creek to crest. The park held up admirably as the rain garden absorbed the runoff from surrounding streets, alleviating the burden on the combined sewer system. Combining our storm water management goals with a beautiful public amenity is a victory for us all!