Park proposed in front of Sewickley theater
The empty land in front of the new two-screen movie theater on Walnut Street is set for a makeover.
Sewickley planning commission members last week approved the construction of a proposed park — temporarily named Walnut Square — to be designed in the space between the Walnut Street sidewalk and the theater building steps.
Borough Manager Kevin Flannery said the land will offer benches, a speaker system and plants.
The park could play host to afternoon jazz concerts or other events.
He credited Kirsten Recker, a Sewickley Valley resident and owner of Barberry Handmade on Beaver Street, with designing and fundraising for the space.
“We commend her community spirit,” he said. “She's already submitted close to $35,000 getting all this ready. Her goal is to be done by July — she's not going to piecemeal this.
“It is going to be a completely usable space. It's going to be multi-facted.”
The land initially was to be part of the design of what's now The Tull Family Theater, but structural concerns regarding Hoeys Run underneath the property forced organizers of the nonprofit theater and borough leaders to push it back. The borough owns the property the theater is on.
Flannery said arborist Jim Edson assisted in choosing landscaping that will feature trees, shrubs, ornamental grass, groundcovers and perennials.
“The trees that they've chosen can be bent and shaped or used as canopy,” Charles Driscoll, the borough council representative on planning commission. “They won't take away from anything.”'
Leaders estimate the park could cost between $320,000 and $400,000, and organizers are working on fundraising efforts.
Landscape architecture company LaQuatra Bonci Associates will be working on the project.
“The design, from an architectural standpoint, is magnificent,” planning commission member Nathan St. Germain said. “To have an architect like that says a lot.”
Driscoll made the motion to recommend the board to council, and Shea Murtaugh seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved for design and fundraising, estimated to take two months to complete.
“I'm glad this is moving forward, and I'm excited to see how it plays out,” Driscoll said.
Rebecca L. Ferraro is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.