Photo by Justin Criado

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced a new partnership with the Northside Leadership Conference (NSLC) and its Allegheny Commons Initiative Monday, March 30. The next project will be to restore the Victorian-style fountain in the park’s northeast corner across from Allegheny General Hospital. An artist rendering of the completed fountain (left) was shown during the announcement. 

By Justin Criado

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announced a new partnership with the Northside Leadership Conference (NSLC) and its Allegheny Commons Initiative Monday, March 30 right in front of the Washington Monument in the city’s oldest park.

“We wanted to say the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is jumping in the pool with these two stalwarts,” conservancy president Meg Cheever said.

Mayor Bill Peduto, Councilwoman Darlene Harris and Patricia Rooney were all on hand to celebrate the news, amongst others.

“This is how you build cities. We’re fortunate because in a lot of cities (parks) are gone,” Mayor Peduto said. “Our job is to find a way to preserve it. That’s what we’re doing right now.”

As part of an overall park restoration plan, the Victorian fountain, located in the northeast corner along West North and Cedar Avenues, will be restored next; a project that will cost upwards of $2.5 million, according to Cheever. The project hasn’t broke ground yet, and may take up to a year to complete as $730,000 has been raised so far, before the conservancy announced its involvement.

Rooney, a lifelong Northside resident and park advocate, explained what the park has meant to her and her family through the years, as did Councilwoman Harris and NSLC board president LaShaw Burton-Faulk.

“Welcome to my park,” Rooney said to the crowd of about 40 people.  “We were raised in this park, nurtured in this park and sustained in this park.”

Harris, another Northside lifer, remembers visiting the park with her mother, who shared stories of ice skating on a frozen Lake Elizabeth with her.

“The Commons Park was always and will always be special to me,” Harris said. “I remember coming down here as a child, my mom would always talk about how she would ice skate and jump over barrels on Lake Elizabeth.”

Buroton-Faulk added: “What we’re saying today is that parks are important. They are the health of the neighborhood.”

After sufficient funds are raised there will be an official groundbreaking ceremony, according to Cheever. No specific dates or timeline has been set.

DSC_9451Photo by Justin Criado

Mayor Bill Peduto speaks at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy announcement Monday, March 30 in Allegheny Commons Park as (from left to right) NSLC board president LaShawn Burton-Faulk; Buhl Foundation vice president Diana Bucco; Patricia Rooney; Councilwoman Darlene Harris; and James Griffin, director of city parks and recreation, look on.