Squirrel Hill corner, residents honored

Squirrel Hill corner, residents honored

A popular city intersection has earned the title of Squirrel Hill Treasure.
The corner of Forbes and Murray avenues was honored this past Thursday, Oct. 6, as a neighborhood gem, marking the beginning of a new tradition.
In a twist to the usual “Squirrel Hill Person of the Year” format, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition chose to include a specific location to honor as well as three individuals as “unique treasures” to the Squirrel Hill community.
It’s the first time the coalition has made such a designation for a location.
Representatives from all sides of the Forbes-Murray corner, including the Carnegie Library, the Sixth Presbyterian Church, the Jewish Community Center and the Zukin Development (Rite Aid building), were there to join in the plaque dedication.
The unveiling ceremony, held on the lawn of the church, included Rev. Mary Louise McCullough, its pastor; Holly McCullough, manager of the library; Rocco Didimencio, owner of the Coldstone building; Wayne Zukin, owner of the Rite-Aid building; and Mayda Roth, representing the JCC. City Councilman Bill Peduto; Elsie Hilliman, honorary chair of the treasure events; Ceci Sommers, event chair; Lori Fitzgerald, co-chair; and Steve Hawkins, former chair of the SHUC board, were also in attendance.
The plaque will eventually find its permanent home near the Rite Aid building and will forever be a testimony to the importance of this specific corner of Squirrel Hill.
With a beautiful day for a celebration, the street fair also included a farmers market, Squirrel Hill’s first plant swap and a live musical performance by the Squirrel Hillbillies.
Ceci Sommers, the event chair, called the Forbes-Murray intersection, “A real gem,” saying all types of people cross that corner to enjoy the wide array of shops, restaurants and coffeehouses that occupy the streets surrounding the bustling intersection in the heart of it all.
The three individuals being honored were Deb Acklin, president and CEO of WQED; Robert Levin, president and CEO of Levin Furniture; and former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff. A dinner at the Pittsburgh Golf Course will be held Thursday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m., to officially dedicate the honorees as 2011 Squirrel Hill Treasures. The dinner will include a film of the three as well as the Forbes-Murray intersection.
This is the first of the new venture for the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. Another location and three people will be named next year as Squirrel Hill Treasures.

(Jesssica Svec can be reached at Jessica.svec@gmail.com.)