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$4M Colcom Foundation grant to support overlook on Pittsburgh's North Shore

Pittsburgh’s North Shore Riverfront Park will soon be home to a new city overlook that will feature a bronze statue of the late Fred Rogers, a redesigned bridge pier and a Neighborhood of Make-Believe platform.

Funded by a $4 million gift from the Colcom Foundation, the Tribute to Children project, which encompasses the abandoned Manchester Bridge pier, will feature a 10-foot bronze statue of Mister Rogers in a seated position and tying his shoe, a 96-foot platform patterned after the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood studio floor, and a keyhole pier design that will provide views of the statue, river and city skyline.

Family Communications, Inc., the company created by Fred Rogers in 1971, received an initial gift from Mrs. Cordelia S. May to commission a bronze statue of Rogers created by internationally renowned sculptor Robert Berks, who is known for his statues of Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, and former Pittsburgh mayor Richard Caligiuri.

“Fred was someone who really focused on the commitment we have to make as adults to children. This puts a visible monument right in the center of the city that says that as a community we have to focus on children,” says Bill Isler, with Family Communications, Inc., which donated the site under the auspices of the Sports & Exhibition Authority. “It’s in a very prominent place on the North Side, and is a place to concentrate on your own—a place for imagination and creativity.”

Project architect is Astorino; construction will begin during the next few weeks. The project is expected to be unveiled during the fall of 2008, in conjunction with Pittsburgh 250.

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Bill Isler, president, Family Communications, Inc.

Image courtesy Astorino

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