February’s South Side Planning Forum meeting included updates on the former Brashear Center building, the East Carson Street Parking Enhancement District, and the resignation of the interim chair.

Members of the staff of the Little Explorers Learning Academy were on hand to give a brief overview of the childcare facility located in the former Brashear Center at 20th and Sarah streets. Participating in the Zoom call from Little Explorers were Melissa Bachorski, Site Director; Tenisha Yamron, Executive Director; and Brittini Wright-Burley from the Management Team.

This is Little Explorers’ first location, but they hope to eventually expand throughout the Pittsburgh area. They chose South Side due to the excellent building and location. The staff emphasizes learning through exploration, ensuring children and teachers form strong connections.

Little Explorers plans to have an afterschool program along with summer camps.

They are licensed to serve up to 103 infants, toddlers, preschool, and afterschool children. Fees range from $150 for part-time, up to $315, all income-based, with subsidies as an option.

Allison Harnden, City of Pittsburgh Nighttime Economy Manager, reported a “really robust” January for collections in the East Carson Street Parking Enhancement District (PED), partly due to extended meter enforcement hours until 3 a.m. January collections totaled $25,599.78.

Total revenue since the PED’s inception is $1,046,209.14. The city’s trust fund, where the money is held until needed, stands at $152,296.77 with outstanding invoices of $69,451.75. Soon, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority will transfer an additional $191,407.21 in parking fees from last year’s collections.

PED funds must be reinvested in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements.

The South Side Clean Team collected 8,475 pounds of trash, including 254 alcohol containers.

Interim Planning Forum Chair Tom Smith announced his resignation from the organization, effective after the March meeting. Mr. Smith, editor of The South Pittsburgh Reporter and sopghreporter.com, will be sunsetting the publication’s website at the end of February, following the discontinuation of its print edition in July. After nearly 45 years with the paper and 20 years operating the website, he decided it was time to step back.

The next South Side Planning Forum meeting will be on March 14, featuring a presentation from UPMC on the future of the former hospital building in South Side.

Update: The South Pittsburgh Reporter has been acquired by Foo Conner who has express his commitment to continue the Smith’s legacy and bring the paper to its 100 year anniversary. If you’re reading this, it means the transition has been successful.

Tom Smith is the former Managing Editor of the South Pittsburgh Reporter from 2000 until 2023. Following in his mother's footsteps, he delivered news that changed our world.