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North Hills Monthly

Community Guide: Richland

Aug 31, 2015 11:34AM ● By Jennifer Monahan
Excellent schools, an 80-acre park and a fantastic library are the hallmarks of Richland Township, a semi-rural community located 18 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Township Manager Dean Bastianini said that people are often confused by the area’s exact boundaries; the township includes some of Valencia, all of Bakerstown and part of Gibsonia. Consequently, he describes his beloved community as “a little slice of heaven centered on Route 8, halfway between Pittsburgh and Butler.”

Richland Township is approximately 15 square miles, and home to just over 11,100 people. The southern part of the township is more suburban, with planned housing communities, while the northern section is more rural.

Accessiblity And A Laid-Back Lifestyle
Because of its location, which Bastianini said is not too far from downtown or from the attractions of other North Hills’ communities, Richland offers desirable proximity to Pittsburgh but retains the quieter feel that it had back in the 1960s and ‘70s. “For people who are looking for a little space to have a yard or garden, a place where you won’t necessarily hear your neighbors, and a little stability, Richland offers that,” he explained. “It’s spread out, so it’s a place where you really need a car to get around, but we are working to make the area more walkable and bike/pedestrian-friendly.”

Sense Of Belonging
Bastianini credits the schools, places of worship, and youth sports leagues with creating a strong sense of community in Richland. Because many residents are not born in Richland and often commute for work, these shared experiences of education, faith and athletics are what draw people together.

Pine-Richland High School graduates about 360 students each year. The township is also served by a middle school and four elementary schools. The Richland Parks and Recreation Department and the Pine-Richland Youth Center sponsor a number of recreational sports teams.

Richland’s Community Day celebration, held annually in August, offers fireworks, festivities and crafts. Much of the town participates, and many civic organizations sponsor booths. “We also have a great Memorial Day celebration, sponsored by the American Legion,” said Bastianini.

Located in Bakerstown, Richland’s Community Park boasts 80 acres and includes athletic fields that are home to Pine-Richland Baseball Softball Association games, the Pine-Richland Soccer League and the Pine-Richland Youth Football League. Richland’s landmark Community Barn, located within the park, gets frequent use for both public and private events. Bastianini explained that although people identify the barn with Richland, it has only been in the town since 1993 when it was moved to its current site from Fox Chapel.

Richland Community Park contains playground equipment and miles of hiking trails. The Township Parks & Recreation Department sponsors many events there, including Movies in the Park and a variety of programs for children.The Pittsburgh North Golf Club includes both its Championship Course and Fox Course, and offers golf lessons for youth as well as private and group instruction for adults.

Northern Tier Regional Library
“Northern Tier Library is an incredible resource for the community,” said Bastianini. “It’s amazing how many resources they have and how many residents use it.”

Diane Illis, the library’s director, encourages people to think about the library for more than just books. “Your library card is your ticket to all kinds of adventure,” said Illis.“Not only can you attend a story time or check out a bestseller, you can learn to speak another language or get a quick lesson on how to use your Kindle.”

Book clubs meet monthly throughout the year. Other recent offerings include a 12-week Tai Chi course and Knit Lit, where knitters are invited to come work on a project and discuss their latest reads. For teens, the library has a popular weekly drop-in program with activities such as haiku writing, Star Wars’ origami and creating book reviews in the form of comic book panels. Summer reading programs, story times and toddler fitness classes are also popular.

Local Dining Attractions
Family-owned Italian eatery Olives & Peppers is a Richland favorite. Their pizza and pasta draw raves from devoted customers.

Fans of the Cala Lily Café, which lost its lease in May of 2014, will be delighted to know that the cafe—voted ‘Best New Restaurant’ by Pittsburgh Magazine when it opened in 2001 — just reopened at the end of August as Cala Lily Restaurant & Bar. Head Chef and co-owner Rick Rivero said that 90 percent of its employees will return to the new location at 500 Grandview Crossing Drive in Gibsonia. The popular destination offers fine dining with an eclectic menu featuring favorites such as pumpkin tortellini, Cajun peppercorn pork chops and chili rellenos with drunken goat cheese.

Upcoming Events
  • Sept. 12: Truck Day, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Kids get an up-close and personal look at their favorite big rigs, including a fire truck, dump truck and bookmobile.
  • Oct. 15: Author Night, 7 p.m. Authors Philip Beard, Hope Dougherty, Steve Hallock and Thomas White.

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