The rapidly changing landscape of Carnegie will soon get another amenity.
Contractors will break ground on the Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark, located in Carnegie Park, on August 15th. The project is expected to take about four months to complete.
The 15,000-square-foot park is the brainchild of Mary Pitcher, whose sons Stephen and Vincent drowned while on a camping trip in the summer of 2008.
Both brothers were skateboard and BMX bike enthusiasts and ever since their deaths, their mother has been on a mission to build a skatepark in their memory.
She established a non-profit public charity, the Pitcher Park Foundation
, in March of 2011 and set about raising money.
“We’ve settled on a plan, and we’re down to discussing fence heights and that type of thing,” Pitcher says. “I’d really like it to be something that doesn’t look like a prison yard.”
“They’ve done a great job with everything, and they’ve been through a lot of hoops and hurdles,” says Carnegie’s Interim Borough Manager Stephen Beuter. “For what they’re going with in the size, it’s going to be one of a kind in the area.”
The entire project is privately funded. So far, Pitcher’s non-profit has raised more than $600,000, including a gift of more than $500,000 from the Ken & Carol Schultz Foundation.
To cover the added cost of lighting the park, the Pitcher Park Foundation has begun selling memorial bricks which will be engraved and installed in the park.
Pitcher says she’s overcome with emotion when she thinks about the number of people who have helped her advance the project.
“So many people have been a part of this,” she says. “If I could give bricks away, I would. There are people who’ve come to every single fundraiser we’ve ever had.”
The Pitcher Park Foundation will seek to make that money go as far as it can by using donated and re-purposed materials wherever possible.
Seattle-based firm Grindline
is designing the park, which will include facilities for skateboarding, biking and rollerblading. A spectator area and colored concrete are possibilities, depending on further available funding.
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Mary Pitcher, Stephen Beuter