Community Organizing, Urban Planning, Project Management & Fundraising in Pittsburgh, PA

South Side Park is a 65-acre Community Park known for its undeveloped forest acres, diverse topography and spectacular views of downtown Pittsburgh.

Role: From December 2015 to October 2018, Sarah Ashley Baxendell facilitated the volunteer-based park advocacy group, Friends of South Side Park. She completed the User Survey of South Side Park and authored the Report on the Public Use of South Side Park to understand the demographics and use patterns of the park. Sarah led park improvement projects with Friends of South Side Park, including invasive species removal and forest restoration in the 'Jurassic Valley' portion of South Side Park utilizing the Allegheny Goatscape herd. An annual celebration, known as Goat Fest, attracted 4,000 visitors to the park. Subsequent seasonal workdays activated over 300 park volunteers. Ms. Baxendell also developed the South Side Park Map and Guide and facilitated the installation of displays where visitors could find the printed materials. In 2018 South Side Park underwent a public Master Plan process through the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Planning with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Partners: Department of Planning City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Hilltop Alliance, Friends of South Side Park, Allegheny Goatscape, Studio Bryan Hanes, Brean Associates, Allegheny County Conservation District, Student Conservation Association, Landforce, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Fundraising: Allegheny County Conservation District 2017 ($10,000), Laurel Foundation 2017 ($15,000), Allegheny County Conservation District 2018 ($10,000)



Friends of South Side Park (FOSSP)

FOSSP is a volunteer-based advocacy group representing the diverse set of users in South Side Park.Members include South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, 4th River Music Collective, Bandi Schaum Community Garden, GTECH Bandi Schaum Trailhead Project, Arlington Civic Association, Landforce, South Side Athletic Association, Student Conservation Association, South Side Bear, Pittsburgh Sports League, Monster Sports, CitiParks, Arlington Recreation Center, Brashear Association Henry Kaufman House, and residents of South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, and Arlington neighborhoods.

The Report on the Public Use of South Side Park

This report summarizes the use patterns and populations that frequent South Side Park. This survey and report were designed by Sarah Ashley Baxendell.

Goat Fest in South Side Park

Hosted by Friends of South Side Park and funded by the Allegheny County Conservation District, Goat Fest 2017 and 2018 were community celebrations of the Allegheny Goatscape herd, which facilities the removal of invasive species in South Side Park by allowing the goats to graze and feed on plants. Goat Fest 2018 drew 4,000 attendees to South Side Park and featured the expansion of a food truck area and a craft vendor market.