806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

AWCC – This is YOUR Civic Council

Submitted by Tim Zinn

Many times in the past I have written about the importance of volunteers to the Allegheny West Civic Council. We are, after all, a volunteer-based organization with no paid staff. Without dedicated volunteers, we would accomplish nothing and AWCC would cease to exist. Fortunately, we have a core group of faithful volunteers that we know will continue to give of their time and talents. However, we have very few NEW members that attend civic council meetings, and are therefore knowledgeable of the workings of AWCC and understand its structure, finances, current challenges, and projects.

The problem, however, is two-fold. Not all can be blamed on neighborhood apathy or the seeming unwillingness of some of our newer residents to become involved in the civic council. The bylaws of AWCC specifically direct each committee chair to “select from between two and ten members for their committees within 45 days following their election. This stipulation has not been rigorously followed in the past. However, this is precisely how we encourage new or currently non-participating members to become active in AWCC and ensure that we have a strong membership and future leaders within the organization. Please thoughtfully consider any request you may receive from a committee chair to join their committee.

In the next few months we will prepare for our largest fundraiser of the year, the Christmas House Tour. While this event draws dozens of volunteers from not only inside our neighborhood but far beyond it, there is always a need for additional help with some aspect of the event. If you have never participated in the house tour, I encourage you to do so.

In addition to the tours, numerous other challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year. We need your help to ensure that the quality of life we enjoy in Allegheny West continues to be enhanced year after year. Show your support of YOUR civic council by becoming a member, renewing your membership, volunteering, joining a committee, and attending the monthly general membership meeting.

A Taste of Italy – Another Successful Year

Submitted by Debra Kelly

Trish and I would like to thank everyone who helped contribute to making our wine tasting and tour in June such a huge success! This year, we sold out very early as more people are learning about our annual fundraising event and quite a few are now coming back year after year.

The weather could not have been any better to stroll through some of Allegheny West’s lovely “secret” gardens and beautiful homes. Although some of our guests have been on our tour multiple times, for others it was their first glimpse at the wonderful neighborhood we all get to share on a day to day basis. We served as hosts to 180 guests during the tours, who were divided into groups of 15 and who were led through our neighborhood by experienced guides who shared the history of Allegheny West. This year, our theme was “A Taste of Italy” where guests were served 7 different regional Italian wines and had hors d’oeuvres paired to complement their wines. In addition, they also experienced balsamic vinegar and olive oil tastings and sampled Italian cheeses and loves throughout the evening. Our guides pointed out Italianate style homes as they walked through our streets and taught our guests how to identify that style of home. We also had a Wine Specialist to speak about wine tasting and our wines of the evening and an expert in Italian gardening at several of the houses.

Our guests had very positive things to say about our neighborhood and the tour and expressed gratitude for being able to spend their evening with us. We would also like to thank all the homeowners who spent countless hours preparing their homes and gardens for the tour; volunteers who served as greeters; neighbors who helped make sure everything was spic and span on our streets; to all the people who prepared hors d’oeuvres and desserts and for those who served them and poured the wine; for preparation of the brochures and ticketing for our guests and to all the guides who told the tale of Old Allegheny while leading our guests throughout the neighborhood.

This fundraiser, along with our Christmas tour, allows us to take on projects in the neighborhood which help to make Allegheny West increasingly beautiful from year to year. Without the help from so many people, these events would never happen.

For those of you who have not been actively involved in our fundraising events or have not considered having your home on tour for either of our fundraisers, please consider doing so! We may not think our homes are ready to be on a tour, bas as one of our guests said “it is like walking into Downton Abbey” and your perception of your home will change when you see the awestruck look as some of our guests walk through your home. Please let us know if you would like to have your home on the Christmas tour or to help in some other capacity, so that our fundraising events can continue!