Pittsburgh Gov Guide, A website of The Pittsburgh Foundation
Trees frame Pittsburgh over Lake Elizabeth on the North Side. Photo by Dave DiCello.

Department of Parks and Recreation

The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) consists of approximately 1,972 acres of regional park land distributed across five parks, along with approximately 561 acres of community park land.

The Department realizes that neighborhood parks are the basic building blocks within Pittsburgh’s parks system, so they ensure that all locally oriented parks provide residents with nearby access to recreation. Neighborhood parks typically include features such as picnic areas, playgrounds, open lawn, courts and walking paths.

There are also approximately 51 acres of riverfront parks in conjunction with partner organizations such as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Sports & Exhibition Authority, as a means of turning those signature public riverfront properties into statement areas, featuring a significant public trail system along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio riverfronts. Ten recreation centers throughout the City offer an opportunity for residents and visitors to discover the best that Pittsburgh has to offer. Open year-round, the Community Recreation Centers are responsible for numerous indoor and outdoor sporting activities, educational programming, crafting and leisure time with activities. They also provide various programming for the City’s youth, including afterschool programs, as well as Citicamps in the summer months.

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More about the Department of Parks and Recreation

Below is a list of content in the Department of Parks and Recreation's Transition Brief (prepared by Thomas Consulting Group for The Pittsburgh Foundation). 


  • Operational fund allocation is insufficient to support capital projects.
  • There is much inequity in pay for seasonal employees. The department is struggling to hire part-time staff in all program areas at $9-$13/hr. The department believes that a $15 minimum wage would make a difference in how they can hire part-time and otherwise.
  • In 2022, the City will have to (for the first time) pay the water bill for operation of the pools.
  • Enhanced safety measures at pools require an enterprise security solution for Parks & Rec, Public Safety and Public Works.
  • There is a struggle to get seniors back into the programs and into centers because of COVID-19 fear.
  • The working relationship between the Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation seems to work despite the organizational structure, not because of it. The departments have forged a functional working relationship yet acknowledge that the organizational structure and efficiency of the departments may benefit from realignment.

More about the department

  • Enabling Legislation
  • Organizational Chart
  • Description of Services
  • Agency Goals and Performance Metrics
  • Budget, Staffing & Salaries
  • Programs & Projects
  • Opportunities & Risks
  • Reports

Download the full report