The Allegheny Commons Park is the mainstay of many Northside residents, and the Mexican War Streets Society recently pledged $5,000 a year for five years to assist with an initiative to improve the park. The “Five for Five Program” is part of the Allegheny Commons initiative, which looks to reinvest time and money into the park and help leverage outside money and assistance.
Dave McMunn, the president of the Mexican War Streets Society said that this donation shows how important the park is to the lives of residents within the community.
“We’re all in this park if not every day at least once a week,” McMunn said. “It’s the centerpiece of all the Northside.”
He also said that it was part of the group’s effort to get other neighborhoods to donate.
“It’s a challenge to the other neighborhoods to come forth and support the park,” McMunn said. “We all complain about the litter and the homelessness but nobody wants to put their money where their mouth is.”
McMunn pointed out the historical importance of the park, which has existed since the founding of Allegheny City and had initially provided grazing area for its earliest residents.
“This is our heritage, this is what we are all about,” McMunn said. “We have a common front yard.”
Alida Baker, the project director for the Allegheny Commons Initiative said that help must come from the communities and that the $5,000 pledge has helped to do that.
“The restoration of the park is a community-based effort,” Baker said. “What this gift does is begin to quantify the importance residents place on this piece of land.”
“We are very honored because this is hard-earned money being donated and it’s a statement to foundations and local government that this place matters,” she added.
“With this gift, the first from a community-based organization, the Mexican War Streets Society joins the ranks of the businesses, foundations and individuals that contribute funding for the revitalization of Allegheny Commons,” John Francona, Chair of the Allegheny Commons Initiative said..
“It is a tangible statement about the value that the community places on the park, not only as an essential community amenity but as a historic treasure as well.”
The MWSS is no stranger to helping the Park. In January 2007, the MWSS donated all of its proceeds, about $6,500, from the 2006 National Preservation Conference Candlelight Tour to Allegheny Commons.
Five for Five supporters pledge $5,000 a year for five years to assist with the fundraising, community involvement and project activities associated with implementing the Master Plan for Allegheny Commons. Five for Five supporters have made it possible to leverage over a million dollars in park reinvestment. The successful restoration of the East Common is now being followed by the next phase of restoration, the Northeast Common, which will include re-building the historic Northeast Fountain at the corner of Cedar and North Avenues.
Other Five for Five supporters include: Babb, Inc., Citizens Bank, Pittsburgh Steelers, the Rooney Family, Merrill Stabile, and NRG Energy Center.
The Allegheny Commons Intiative is comprised of two representatives from the four neighborhoods bordering the Park, as well as Allegheny General Hospital, the Aviary, the Children’s Museum and the Allegheny City Society.