The Brookline Area Community Council
Serving the Brookline Community Since 1965

The Brookline Cannon

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 people.

A 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 Brookline."

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 success.

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 were rewarded.

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 High School.

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 fields.

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 2000.

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 overcome.

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 *

The Brookline Cannon

Become A Member!

Brookline Area Community Council Membership
is open to all individuals.

You do not have to be a Brookline resident to join.
Everyone is welcome!

The Brookline Area Community Council hosts
a public meeting on the last Monday of each month*
from 7:15-9:15pm at St. Mark Church on Brookline Blvd.

* No meeting in June, July, August or December. May meeting is the week before Memorial Day.

Join the BACC at one of the public meetings and sign up at the front desk. Yearly membership dues are only $1 per person. For that price you will receive a membership card, and an opportunity to assist the council in their endeavor to make Brookline a better place to live.

Come, spend one evening a month with other concerned individuals addressing the issues that affect our daily lives here in the Brookline community. BACC members and guest speakers invite you to engage in open discussion. The people do have a voice, and through the Brookline Area Community Council, it can be heard.

BACC invites a new guest speaker each month. Each year they host a pre-election Candidates Night, and also an evening with the Pittsburgh School Board. Recent guests have included PennDot, representatives from the Zoning Board, the Zone 4 police commander, and members of City Council. There is always something interesting.

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