About the Brookline Area Community Council
The Brookline Area Community
Council is a volunteer organization made up of concerned citizens and
organizations that work for the betterment of the Brookline community.
Membership is open to everyone. The Executive Board consists of eighteen
members appointed according to the constitution and bylaws that govern
the organization. The B.A.C.C. works with our elected officials and
other local agencies to ensure that our community and the people of
Brookline receive the best possible representation.
B.A.C.C. is involved in a number
of projects that involve all aspects of our community life, ranging from
the topic of neighborhood schools and increased recreation facilities
for our young, to increasing the quality of life for our senior
citizens. For those in between, B.A.C.C. brings the issues that affect
your life, perhaps the parking situation on your street or the
availability of mine subsidence insurance for your home, to the
attention of the proper authorities. They are the voice of the
Look Back At The 40 Year History Of The Community Council
On January 7, 1965, a group of
concerned citizens representing several local organizations met to
exchange ideas on what Brookline could do to better the community. Their
focus was the problem of increased population, traffic congestion,
neighborhood crime, and the lack of adequate education and recreation
facilities for the children and elderly in our area.
Out of that meeting came the seed
that would soon unite these bodies under one umbrella. Later that month,
the Brookline Area Community Council was formed, with Mrs. Ruth O'Hanlon
as the first elected president. All civic-minded individuals and
organizations were invited to join.
The original purpose of the
B.A.C.C. was to provide a means for the community to band together in
order to establish better communication with city government agencies
that provide services essential for the betterment of Brookline. The
first public meeting was held on February 24, 1965, and featured the
City Planning Commission. The subject was "Community Renewal for
In the years that passed, the
Community Council worked diligently, and their achievements to date are a
testament to the hard work and dedication of past and present members.
However, the Council can not take all of the credit for their many
accomplishments. Without the cooperation and support of our past and
present elected government officials, and the assistance received by
numerous public agencies, their mission could never have been such a
For starters, the monthly public
meetings brought government and agency representatives to speak with the
people. For the first time, the collective voice of the community was
heard, and this communication led to immediate action.
The latter half of the 1960s saw
many infrastructure improvements. New street lighting was installed, roads
were upgraded, trolley tracks were removed from Brookline Boulevard, and
sewers were cleaned. The Board of Education, for the first time, provided
transportation for Brookline high school students.
The decade of the sixties came to an
end with the groundbreaking of the new Community Center recreation building
on July 25, 1969. This was
a crowning achievement for many of the Brookline faithful. The Community Center
Association, which could in some ways be considered a forerunner of the present
Community Council, had been working since the mid-1940s to bring a first-class
recreation facility to Brookline, and this was the day their 20 years of effort
Throughout the decade of the 1970s,
past-president Elva McGibbeny and
the Community Council worked relentlessly to bring additional improvements to the
Community Center Area. Their efforts paid off tenfold. The valley between the park
and the Boulevard was filled with dirt from the Port Authority East Busway
construction, then landscaped. Work began on a new phase of Community Center
expansion, and a new ballfield was built to satisfy the needs of the ever-growing
Brookline Little League. In the summer of 1977, a new regulation size ballfield
was dedicated to the children of Brookline. In October of 1977, the new field was
christened Danny McGibbeny Field in honor of Elva's late-son who had passed away
the previous month.
The Community Council worked to address
the issues of our senior community as well as our children. The year 1977 also
saw the formation of the Senior Citizens Center at the United Presbyterian
Church. The elderly community now had a place to meet for companionship and
recreation. For the next twelve years, B.A.C.C. handled the administration of
this facility, until its relocation to Elizabeth-Seton on Pioneer Avenue.
Finally, in 1978, Brashear High School opened its doors, bringing to an end
the issue of overcrowding for Brookline students at the old South Hills
The decade of the 1980s saw even further
advancements at the Community Center, and the Community Council was the driving
force behind this continued growth. Finally, the long years of waiting for the
completion of the new park facilities were over. The Community Center was
christened Brookline Memorial Park in the summer of 1982. New features included a swimming pool, tennis
courts, basketball courts, playground equipment, and the Sam Bryen Little League
From 1982-1986, the new and improved
Brookline Memorial Park was host to the JuneFest, a B.A.C.C.
sponsored weekend expo that included games, food, rides, live performances, and
for the adventurous, hot-air balloon rides. T-shirts from that time, sold at the
Junefest and the summer sidewalk sales proclaimed proudly, "Brookline - A Special
Place." A lot of that special feeling was the direct result of the first 20 years
of Community Council leadership.
The problems of the 1990s presented
new challenges for the B.A.C.C. New playground facilities were installed at both Moore Park and at the
Community Center. The Bag-a-thon in 1994 and the city-sponsored "Operation Clean
Sweep" in 1997 were both successful. Several beautification projects have taken
place, including the painting of the "Brookline" mural on the wall between Pioneer and West Liberty Avenues, and the
landscaping near the Brookline Monument, better known as "The Cannon."
The Council is very active in the Neighborhood
Block Watch program and some
members helped staff the C.O.P. (Community Oriented Police) station at Mazza
Pavilion on Brookline Boulevard. That program ended in the year
In 1998, former member Clint Burton
began working on creating a website for the B.A.C.C. in an effort to reach
out and spread their message to the multitude of local internet subscribers.
The website was quite a success, and over the next four years grew to include
nearly everything about Brookline. The website was hosted by the Three
Rivers Freenet and remained online until May of 2004. It was the forerunner
to the current "Brookline Connection", which now focuses primarily on the
history of our proud community.
The Council began the new millenium
by organizing the purchase of the building that housed the Brookline
Library. Through the tireless
efforts of long-time member and past-president Marlene Curran, along with a host
of state and local government officials, a myriad of obstacles were
The necessary grant money was obtained and
the newly acquired property was turned over to the Carnegie Library with the promise
that it would be renovated, and most importantly, that this invaluable community
asset would remain in Brookline for years to come. When the renovation of the
building was completed in 2004, our neighborhood was home to one of the nicest
public libraries in the State of Pennsylvania. It was a truly grand moment for
the community of Brookline and another notch in the growing legacy of
the Brookline Community Council.
After all of the achievements of
the past four decades, isn't it ironic that the problems of today are
similar to those faced by our forefathers? We are again looking at
school overcrowding, traffic congestion, neighborhood crime, and a
search for improved facilities for our children and elderly. These present
day problems present many challenges, but Brookliners can be assured that
with the help of the Community Council and the cooperation of the our city
government, these problems will be addressed and overcome.
What's next for the Community Council? In
cooperation with other local organizations and government officials, there is
currently a project in the works to completely reconstruct Brookline Boulevard
from Pioneer Avenue to Edgebrook Avenue. The work is scheduled to begin sometime
in 2005. When complete, Brookline Boulevard will be one of the nicest neighborhood
hubs in the city of Pittsburgh.
For forty years now the Brookline Area
Community Council has been working hard to make Brookline a better place for
everyone to live. To date, their achievements have been extraordinary and have
in one way or another have touched the lives of everyone in our community.
Whatever challenges lie ahead, the good citizens of Brookline can look to the
B.A.C.C. for the leadership needed to triumph over adversity.
Compiled by Clint Burton - August 2004 *