Frankel: $100,000 state grant will help complete Frick Environmental Center

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today announced approval of a $100,000 state grant he sought to help complete the Frick Environmental Center.

"I'm proud to help secure funding for this center, which will be both a welcome facility and a gateway to Frick Park that will help learners use the park as a classroom," Frankel said.

The project is a partnership between the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the city of Pittsburgh. According to the conservancy, the center was designed with input from more than 1,000 residents and stakeholders at a series of public meetings, and it will:

  • Use 40 percent less energy than a typical building of its size in the Northeast;
  • Power all electrical systems using energy generated from solar panels;
  • Filter and treat all wastewater before releasing it naturally on site;
  • Be constructed using materials that are produced locally whenever possible and safe for both humans and the environment; and
  • Balance a spirit that promotes appreciation and protection of the environment and a public space that is functional and welcoming.

The center will be the first municipal-owned Living Building Challenge-certified structure in the world.

The conservancy will manage the facility and ensure that best management practices (BMPs) for energy efficiency and green infrastructure are used, to serve as a model. In all, there will be more than 20 green infrastructure BMPs on site, including the solar canopy to be built above the permeable pavers in the parking area. The photovoltaic array will have 161.7 kilowatts of capacity and 588 solar panels on the overhead canopy, which will provide shade to cars beneath it.

It is estimated that the solar-powered system will pay for itself in seven to 10 years in money saved on electric bills.

The funds originate from the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund Program (GEDTF) – a program established to fund community and economic development projects in Allegheny County through revenues generated from all casinos.

The GEDTF program provides grants for single-year and multi-year projects that promote development in Allegheny County, including economic, infrastructure and community improvements; job training; public safety; public interest; and costs to administer GEDTF funds.