Page 1

Restoring the Park System to Excellence: 1996–2011

Our mission

Our Vision

To improve quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City. Wide appreciation and enjoyment of a sustainable park system whose landscapes, facilities, and programming set world standards of excellence.

On the cover: Winchester Thurston students Max Harlow, Micah Morris, and Anatea Einhorn plant some of the 125 trees the school donated in September to Highland Park to mark the school’s 125th anniversary.

contents New Projects —Mellon Square Restoration Underway. . . . . . . 2 —Renovating Cliffside Park: —Improving Green Space in the Hill District. . . 6 —Building a New Environmental Center —at Frick Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Celebrating 13 Years of the PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Emergency Tree Fund. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

17 18 20 22

Point Breeze Donor Gathers Friends to Save Trees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 15 Years of Volunteer Dedication . . . . . . . . . 13

Commemorating a Milestone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Healthy Parks, Healthy People. . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: 15 Years of Excellence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —Schenley Plaza. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —Highland Park Entry Garden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . —Riverview Park Chapel Shelter. . . . . . . . . . . . .

—Frick Park Gatehouse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 —Park Signage and Trail Restoration. . . . . . . . . 26 —Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain. . . . . . 28 —Phipps Run. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 —Highland Park Babbling Brook. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 —Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center. . . . . . 34 —Highland Park Seasonal Pools . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 —Mellon Park Walled Garden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 How You Can Help. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

This year we celebrate a milestone. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded 15 years ago in December 1996, and Pittsburgh can be proud of what has been accomplished during those years. Together, with the City of Pittsburgh and the community, the Parks Conservancy completed many capital improvements in our parks. Pittsburghers have noticed. Just a few years ago, our parks were neglected and in a degraded condition, with fewer people visiting them. Now, because of the vastly improved condition of the parks, studies have shown a significant jump in park visitors over these last 15 years. Our parks have been praised both in the national press and by local residents as a key element in what makes Pittsburgh a “livable” city. In this magazine, we celebrate all that has been accomplished in 15 years with help from donors like you — from our first showcase project, the Gatehouse at Frick Park, to restoration of historic places like the Riverview Chapel Shelter, to ecological restorations like the Highland Park Babbling Brook, to Schenley Plaza, a former parking lot that is now a green oasis bustling with activity. We also take a look at our upcoming projects, including the new Environmental Center at Frick Park and the restoration of Mellon Square in Downtown Pittsburgh. We can all be proud that so much has been accomplished to return significant portions of our wonderful park system to excellent condition. And yet, there is much work left to be done. Although the Allegheny Regional Asset District supports the city and the county government’s with park funding, for these 15 years our non-profit Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has received no operating support from government sources. That is why, if we are to keep making progress in our parks, we need your help. In these challenging economic times, keeping our parks free to use and in excellent condition is more important than ever. Please enjoy reading about our accomplishments and projects, and help us celebrate 15 years of park progress by making a contribution today using the attached envelope. Thank you for all you do to support the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and for 15 successful years! Sincerely,

Meg Cheever, President and CEO


Mellon Square Restoration Underway

illustration by Robert Bowden

The restoration of Mellon Square is expected to contribute an estimated $71 million to $106 million in increased value to properties within 500 feet. – Mellon Square Economic Analysis, 2010, 4Ward Planning LLC

Restoring Mellon Square marks new terrain for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; this historic park brings the Parks Conservancy into Downtown Pittsburgh. Originally created in 1955 as the first public space built over a parking garage, restoration of Mellon Square will provide a renewed urban oasis for workers, visitors, and residents, while supporting economic growth in the City’s Downtown core. A groundbreaking ceremony for the First Phase of the Mellon Square restoration was held in June of 2011. Mellon Square Committee CoChair and Parks Conservancy Vice Chairman Dan Booker explained the role this restoration will play in revitalizing Downtown. “To be a competitive city,” Booker said, “you have to provide and maintain high-quality public spaces.”


The first phase of restoration includes the Cascade Fountain that invites visitors up the stairs from Oliver and Smithfield Streets, and the new terrace over the retail shops along Smithfield. The terrace, which will increase the Square’s useable space by 15%, will turn an inaccessible, unattractive area into an intimate, relaxing green space with a view of the Cascade Fountain. The first phase will also include restoration of two staircases and the reinstallation of the ground level lighting. This phase will be complete in 2012.

Support for the first phase of the project was provided by the Colcom Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Fundraising for the completion phase is underway with initial grants from The Heinz Endowments, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The Benter Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, Eden Hall Foundation, W.I. Patterson Charitable Fund, Duquesne Light and Larrimor’s.

An improved Mellon Square will positively impact the occupancy levels of nearby buildings. – Mellon Square Economic Analysis, 2010, 4Ward Planning LLC

3 Parks Conservancy Partners for the Mellon Square Restoration: The City of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Parking Authority Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation


Groundbreaking Ceremony for Mellon Square Restoration

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl emphasized the importance of collaboration on projects of this magnitude. “We can’t do this without good public-private partnerships,” he said. “To know we have a partner in the Parks Conservancy that has a track record of doing wonderful projects — that time and time again produces quality — we look forward to their work in this effort.”

(Left to right) David Onorato, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority; George C. Greer and Dan Booker, co-chairs of The Committee for Mellon Square; Prosser and Sandy Mellon; Jerry Voros, Parks Conservancy Board Chair; Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Richard Reed at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Richard Reed, Executive Vice President, Parks Conservancy


“To know we have a partner in the Parks Conservancy that has a track record of doing wonderful projects — that time and time again produces quality — we look forward to their work in this effort.” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl

To learn more or to donate to this project, call Richard Reed at 412-682-7275. 5

Renovating Cliffside Park: Improving Green Space in the

Located in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, Cliffside Park presents great potential for improvement. Little changed from its original 1975 design, the steeply sloped site offers mature oaks and an exciting view. Unfortunately, the park is in poor condition, spectacular river views are overgrown, there are significant drainage issues and broken pavement, and the park has the overall appearance of neglect. Its neighbors, however, consistently use the park despite its condition. They value the space, and have enthusiastically helped to develop plans for its renovation. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is partnering with Find the Rivers! in the Hill District to renovate Cliffside Park, creating a scenic overlook, new playground, and gathering space in this community park on Cliff Street. Find the Rivers!—a partnership of Hill House Association, the Hill District Consensus Group, Community


Partners Institute, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy - is working to strengthen the Hill District’s connection with the rivers and with the rest of the city. In 2009, the partnership completed the Greenprint plan for the Hill District, which recommended Cliffside Park as a priority project. Based on an early plan by Klavon Design, the Parks Conservancy secured funding to proceed with the project. Environmental Planning and Design (EPD) was competitively selected to develop the park design and manage construction. The overall goal for the renovation is to create

Hill District

for mosaics, murals, and sculptures, in addition to inscriptions from Wilson’s and others’ works.

Current funders for the Cliffside Park renovation include the City of Pittsburgh / Community Development Block Grant, Eden Hall Foundation, Ryan Memorial Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development / Neighborhood Partnership Program supported by BNY Mellon, McAuley Ministries, and Parks Conservancy board members Ritchie Scaife and Harry Henninger.

a sustainable park that is consistent with the design quality of other beloved parks, so that Cliffside Park integrates well into the overall park system. Over a two-year period, the Cliff Street Block Club and surrounding community residents participated in developing a vision for the park. It includes increased visibility to and from the park, more activities for children, making the park accessible, and creation of a focal point for community gatherings. The conceptual plan features play areas for two age levels, complete accessibility, a splash fountain, a picnic area, a new half-court for basketball, and new site furnishings. Cliffside Park is just blocks from August Wilson’s birthplace, inspiring a literary art theme for the park. The plan identifies several places where quotations and artwork can feature the literary and creative heritage of the Hill District. Its retaining walls can provide a “canvas”

Finally, it is a priority to improve the visitor’s sense of park safety and the neighborhood’s ability to monitor park use. New lighting for park walks and the basketball court is planned, while tree pruning will improve visibility into the park from the street level and neighboring homes. Expected to be complete in 2012, Cliffside Park will be a vivid demonstration of the Greenprint plan and will set a compelling tone for fulfilling its vision throughout the Hill District.

To learn more or to donate to this project, call Richard Reed at 412-682-7275.


Building a New Environmental Center at

Frick Environmental Center after the fire.

In 2011, the Parks Conservancy embarked on an exciting design project that will shape the future of Frick Park and environmental education in Pittsburgh: the new Environmental Center at Frick Park. Burned by vandals in 2002, the Frick Environmental Center has remained untouched, with its staff utilizing trailers on site to continue programs. The new Center will support expanded urban environmental education and create a hub for volunteer activities and community outreach programs. 8

To learn more or to donate to this project, call Marijke Hecht at 412-682-7275.

Frick Park

Š Denmarsh Photography

The project includes a new environmental education facility and associated landscape restoration. The Parks Conservancy, along with the City of Pittsburgh and its departments, is working with a design team consisting of landscape architects, artists, environmental restoration specialists, and

The Parks Conservancy and design team invited the public to several community meetings to help shape the plans for the new Environmental Center.

engineers to make the Center a diverse, engaging, environmentally smart facility. As part of the design, the Center will feature outdoor learning spaces throughout Frick Park that will help interpret the landscape, its ecology, and history. Fundraising and design are underway.


Emergency Tree Fund


All photos taken in September 2011 in Schenley Park.

More than 60% of the native tree population in our parks is threatened. Pittsburgh’s park trees provide enormous environmental benefits ranging from improving water quality, cleaning the air we breathe, and to stabilizing the steep park slopes and providing serenity for the park user. Some trees succumb to natural causes every year, but with the local tree population in unusual peril from simultaneous threats such as oak wilt disease, emerald ash borer, and deer overpopulation, the Parks Conservancy joined forces with several area organizations and the City of Pittsburgh to take action. In 2011, the Emergency Tree Fund was put in place to combat the threats to our urban forests, with efforts made to inoculate certain trees, remove dead trees, and plant other native species of trees. Using other cities that have faced the same threats as references and examples, our Tree Action Plan looks at history, strategies, and results in those cities to research and learn about how we should approach this issue in western Pennsylvania.

What You Can Do: —Donate to the Emergency Tree Fund at —Learn more about the pests, disease, and other threats facing our trees at —Become an Urban EcoSteward or volunteer to help our urban forests recover: —Become a Tree Tender or help your community plant more trees:

There is much work to be done to save as many threatened trees as possible.


15 Years of Volunteer Dedication The work of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy would not be possible without the support of volunteers. Dedicating their time, ideas, and hard work to the park system, volunteers are a crucial element in parks restoration. Thank you to all who have made our mission your own!

2010 Report • More than 4,000 •

hours to help with park projects

543 trees planted

• A new rain garden built at Schenley Visitor Center • 5,000 12

pounds of illegally dumped garbage removed

Point Breeze Donor Gathers Friends to Save Trees Nicola Coohill loves the trees in Frick Park. So

Conservancy members, and I got to meet some very nice people I wouldn’t normally have had a chance to talk when she read in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the to,” she said. “Door-to-door canvassing is much harder imminent threats facing the local native tree population, than I’d ever realized - I give credit to all those young she knew she wanted to do something. After contacting people who regularly promote good causes that way. The the Parks Conservancy, and a lot of creative thinking and people on my street were very planning, Nicola set out to save the concerned and generous, and trees she enjoys every day. “We love our park and we want to be we were able to raise enough “I realized that almost everyone part of taking care of it.” to treat ‘our’ trees this year.” else in my neighborhood was in Treatment to prevent a similar position — busy with infestation by the emerald work, children, life in general,” said ash borer involves injecting Nicola. “I knew if someone had the base of the ash tree come up to me and said, ‘Please with a pesticide. An send a small donation here; this organic gardener, Nicola is how,’ that I’d have done it right has ethical issues with away.” the use of pesticides and The Parks Conservancy identified therefore wrestled with the and tagged 10 ash trees for idea of inoculating the treatment in Frick Park at the end trees. “My reasoning in the of Nicola’s street, and sent her a end was: the loss of 15% map of their location. “I thought of the tree population in 8 the fundraising would be more years is catastrophic for the successful if I set an achievable goal, ecosystem; the pesticide will to save a number of trees that we all Nicola and Christopher point out injection site not be sprayed but injected walk by regularly,” said Nicola. into the trees, minimizing the Nicola used the information from environmental impact. If we the Parks Conservancy to put together a summary of can save some of those trees at least for the next 8 years the situation along with instructions on how to donate we will slightly reduce the catastrophic impact of the to the Tree Fund. “I live on a very friendly, neighborly loss, and hopefully in the meantime we could plant some street, so I emailed the information to my street’s email trees not vulnerable to the emerald ash borer.” group,” she continued. Nicola asked her employer, Nicola saw the ash tree plight as an opportunity to do Construction Junction, to include the information in a something positive. “I love Frick Park, and the wildlife it weekly e-newsletter which reaches over 13,000 customers. supports, and the loss of the ash trees is very troubling, She then asked the South Point Breeze Association to especially as we’ve already lost oak trees to the oak wilt send it to their email list. And lastly, Nicola walked the disease,” she remarked. “I think my neighbors mostly felt streets around her home and distributed the information the same about it, we love our park and we want to be on how to help. part of taking care of it.” She was very pleased with the response. “Lots of people Thank you, Nicola, for your fundraising efforts! were very interested, quite a lot were already Parks


Celebrating 13 Years of the PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon

Luncheon at Riverview Breaks Fundraising Record Serving as the Parks Conservancy’s largest fundraising event of the year, the PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring

Guiding the 2011 event were the Committee Co-Chairs Susie Dorrance, Peggy McKnight, Gabriela Porges, Jessica O’Brien, and Christine LeClere Hilliard.

Thank You to our 2011 Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor:

Silver Sponsors:

Ritchie Scaife

BNY Mellon Wealth Management Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Carnegie Mellon University Fifth Third Bank The Hillman Company Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Pepper Hamilton LLP Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP University of Pittsburgh

Diamond Sponsors: Susie Dorrance EQT Audrey Hillman Fisher Emerald Sponsor: Nadine S. Bognar Gold Sponsors: Peggy McKnight Jessica Hecht O’Brien and Jane D. Burton Gabriela Porges


Bronze Sponsors: Eat ‘N Park Hospitality Group Federated Investors Foundation, Inc. Giant Eagle Henne Jewelers Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield The H. J. Heinz Company Sam & Joanie Kamin Levin Furniture PJ Dick & Trumbull UPMC Health Plan

Hat Luncheon is the organization’s signature event held every May. Combining high fashion, an elegant meal, and the beauty of Pittsburgh’s parks, the PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon has become the can’t-miss social event of springtime. In 2011, the event celebrated its 13th year and reached an astounding total of $5.02 million raised to support parks restoration. The 2011 PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon raised a record-breaking $538,000. Guiding the 2011 event were the Committee Co-Chairs Susie Dorrance, Christine LeClere Hilliard, Peggy McKnight, Jessica O’Brien, and Gabriela Porges. Regarding her fourth and final year as Co-Chair, Susie Dorrance said, “It’s been a great privilege and a lot of fun to be part of planning the last four Hat Luncheons in collaboration with my terrific Co-Chairs and a dedicated Conservancy staff.” She continued, “Since I love to plan a party, I’m going to miss being so intimately involved in all the details, but the Luncheon is clearly moving forward in delightfully capable hands. Jessica and Gabriela and their new Co-Chairs will do a fabulous job of building on and enhancing the efforts of all of us who’ve gone before them. I wish them well — and can’t wait to attend the 2012 Hat Luncheon!” Vision and guidance were also given by Vice Chairs Debbie Demchak, Annie Hanna Engel, and Kiya Tomlin. And we offer a special thank you to Honorary Chairs Audrey Hillman Fisher, Teresa Heinz, and Ritchie Scaife whose vision for the event led to 13 consistently successful luncheons.

Commemorating aMilestone On September 15, 2011, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy celebrated its 15th anniversary with an elegant awards ceremony and dinner at the Westin Hotel and Convention Center. Nearly 200 of our biggest supporters gathered to commemorate this milestone and to honor those five champions who helped to make our success possible. The evening raised more than $300,000 for parks restoration.

Honorees Marlee Myers, Ritchie Scaife, George Greer, and Audrey Hillman Fisher at the 15th Anniversary Celebration (not pictured is honoree Jim Rohr).

During the celebration, the Mary E. Schenley Medal for Parks Stewardship was presented to five remarkable individuals: Audrey Hillman Fisher, George C. Greer, Marlee S. Myers, James E. Rohr, and Ritchie Scaife. The honorees made significant contributions to the restoration of Pittsburgh’s parks, helping to create and sustain our public/private partnership that has become a national model for parks.

Thank You to Our 15th Anniversary Celebration Sponsors Diamond Sponsors: Vivian and Bill Benter Nadine E. Bognar Susie and Roy Dorrance Eden Hall Foundation Mayor Luke Ravenstahl thanked President and CEO Meg Cheever for her efforts to restore our parks and declared September 15, 2011 “Meg Cheever Day in the City of Pittsburgh.”

Reed Smith The Hillman Company University of Pittsburgh Patsy and Don McKinney Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP UPMC Health Plan PNC Emerald Sponsors:

AR Building Corporation Buncher Family Foundation Barbara and Jerry Chait Direct Energy Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group The Fine Foundation GVA Oxford

R.K. Mellon Family Foundation Eliza and Hugh Nevin Jan and Dick Pagliari Kathe and Jim Patrinos Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP

The Daniel and Barbara Shapira Philanthropic Fund J.L. Simonds The Alexander C. & Tillie S. Speyer Foundation Theresa WhitesideNimick Fund

Dinner Committee: Tom Bedger Vivian and Bill Benter Eva Tansky Blum Nadine E. Bognar Debby and Dan Booker Suzy and Jim Broadhurst Bernita Buncher Nancy Byrnes Barbara and Jerry Chait Susie and Roy Dorrance

Sylvia V. Fields Sheila and Milt Fine Ethel O. Hansen Diane P. Holder Anne Lewis Patsy and Don McKinney Sandy and Prosser Mellon Kathryn and Richard Mellon Susan and Dick Nernberg Eliza and Hugh Nevin

Theresa Nimick-Whiteside Jan and Dick Pagliari Kathe and Jim Patrinos Jeff Pierce Helana and Bill Pietragallo Carole and Mel Rex Barbara and Daniel Shapira J.L. Simonds Silvia and Alex Speyer Jane and Jerry Voros


Healthy Parks,

Healthy People

The mission of the Parks Conservancy is to improve quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City. We live in one of the greatest cities in the world, and encouraging the people of Pittsburgh to use their parks will always be our first priority. A well-maintained park system is a wellused park system, which in turn suggests that the people who regularly use the parks are healthier. UPMC Health Plan appreciates this and funded our Parks are Free campaign with a theme focusing on what people are ‘free to’ do in their parks. The goal of the campaign is to introduce the benefits of park use to local residents still looking for a favorite park or park activity.

Parks are Free campaign sponsored by


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

15 Years of Excellence

In its 15 years of operation, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has established itself as an excellent partner to the City and the community for the stewardship of our parks. To date, the Conservancy has raised more than 54 million dollars for Pittsburgh’s parks, completed 11 major capital projects, and greatly improved the biodiversity of many park landscapes. This has been accomplished without the receipt of any government support for operations from the City, the State, the Allegheny Regional Asset District, or the federal government. This is why the Conservancy so urgently needs your support. The Parks Conservancy has earned the trust and support of private citizens, prominent foundations, and government. The Parks Conservancy exists and continues to exist because the need for it is deeply felt. Public parks are the most democratic spaces in society because they are completely free to its citizens. Large capital projects portrayed in striking “before and after” photos in the following pages are one result of the work the Parks Conservancy does. An active community is a healthy one, which is why the Parks Conservancy’s efforts are also focused on fundamental park improvements such as trail restoration and signage. Making parks more user friendly results in more active users, benefiting the health and longevity of our society. Ultimately, the Parks Conservancy’s passion for the parks is a passion for the people of the region.


Schenley Plaza

Making its debut on June 8, 2006, Schenley Plaza was the result of a community partnership which included the Parks Conservancy. In a few short years, the Plaza has become a go-to destination in Oakland, gaining international recognition and hosting dynamic, free, accessible events. Repeatedly breaking attendance records, Schenley Plaza welcomed its one millionth visitor in 2010. Schenley Plaza was originally envisioned as a grand entrance to Schenley Park in the early 1900s. Due to large-scale growth in Oakland, the Plaza long ago lost its use as a park, and was eventually paved over in 1949 to create parking spaces. The restored Schenley Plaza is the result of 10 years of planning and partnership to revitalize and reclaim a prized piece of Schenley Park. The grand opening weekend in 2006 saw 40,000 attendees, and attendance has been consistently growing each year. 18

Schenley Plaza is managed by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy under a long-term lease from the City of Pittsburgh. The Plaza is a hub for free public programs hosting yoga classes, concerts, kids days, jazz festivals, and art programs. It offers a one-acre grand lawn, the PNC Carousel, gardens along Forbes Avenue, free wireless Internet, spotless restrooms, regular free entertainment, and food at four kiosks. Annually, the Plaza hosts more than 200 free events. In a long-awaited development, a full-service restaurant called The Porch at Schenley, to be operated by Eat’nPark Hospitality Group, opened in the Plaza in November of this year.


Highland Park Entry Garden

At the turn of the 20th Century, a grand Victorian entryway greeted Highland Park visitors with glorious bronze sculptures by Giuseppe Moretti, clustered Ionic columns, a fountain, reflecting pool, and elaborate formal gardens. Over the years the garden deteriorated and lost many of the magnificent qualities that Edward Manning Bigelow, the “father of Pittsburgh parks,� had envisioned for it. In the 1970s, the reflecting pool was filled in, the fountain removed after years of running dry, the walkway reconfigured in asphalt, and trees planted in the original path.


The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the Highland Park community sought to return this jewel of landscape design to the people of Pittsburgh. Restoration work began in 2003 and was completed in 2005, returning the space to the neighborhood treasure it was meant to be. The gardens have since been accented with four 4-foot-tall metal urns donated by Roy and Susie Dorrance in memory of Susie’s mother, Mrs. Emma O. Sharp. The urns recall a feature of the entry garden that is visible in historic photos and postcards and feature seasonal plantings. The final phase of the entry garden restoration project will be the installation of decorative trellises, on which vining plants can grow. 21

Riverview Park Chapel Shelter

The Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park had been closed since 2005, when funds were allocated for its demolition due to a termite infestation. With the help of the City and additional funders, the Parks Conservancy led an effort to return the once-popular building to its history as a lively gathering place. In 2005, City crews removed dilapidated tennis courts behind the building in preparation for seeding a new lawn area for informal use. The landscape had become dominated by invasive Siberian elms, which were shading out a century-old collection of lilacs. The invasive species were removed, and native trees and shrubs were installed. By June 2008, the building’s restoration was completed. The interior was gutted and rebuilt with termite-resistant materials. An updated kitchen was installed, the porch and the restrooms were made wheelchair-accessible, and utilities were buried to increase the beauty and safety of the area. The new building otherwise looks very much like it did when it was first moved into the park, with a steeple, dormers, and charming color scheme. 22


Frick Park Gatehouse


In 2000, the Parks Conservancy restored the 70 year-old gatehouse at Reynolds Street using plans from the original architect, John Russell Pope, and landscape architects, Innocenti and Webel. The leaking asphalt roof was replaced with the original mixed clay tiles, the stone was cleaned, and 24 new trees and shrubs planted. This was the organization’s very first showcase project.


Park Signage and Trail Restoration


In 2010, the Parks Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh improved almost six miles of trails and installed nearly 100 directional and interpretive signs throughout the four historic Regional parks. The Parks Conservancy raised more than $3 million in federal funds for the project which was matched by an additional $800,000 raised in our community.


Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain Restoring a Masterwork Bringing the Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain back to life was another step in restoring the significant historic features of Schenley Park. The art of Victor Brenner’s “A Song to Nature� sculpture is highlighted by its setting, a simple, classic treatment that connects the fountain area to Schenley Plaza in a visual and functional fashion. Restoration of the fountain was necessary because of cracks, staining, plumbing failures, and missing sculptural elements. The granite was stained orange, and the bronze turtles were almost white from mineral deposits. The fountain needed to be restored in order to be appreciated as the magnificent piece of public art that it is. A respectful analysis of the history and evolution of the landscape led to subtle changes that have a big effect. Enlarged green space around the fountain set off the burnished bronzes and the granite basin. Reduced impervious paving improves storm water absorption. And intelligently aligned paths enhance the approaches to the Frick Fine Arts Building, while giving ease of access in accordance with the American Disabilities Act.


The Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain has re-emerged as a grand asset. Most notably, we owe this stunning impact to new nighttime illumination which makes this beautiful fountain a popular gathering spot for Pittsburghers.


Phipps Run


At Phipps Run in Schenley Park, a muddy corridor was reconstructed as a new stream bed and trail in 2004. The re-establishment of the stream marked the essential first step in renewing the ecological health of the entire area.


Highland Park Babbling Brook


Water from the nearby microfiltration plant on its way to Lake Carnegie is naturally cleaned and aerated through exposure to the air as the water flows over the rocks in this unique water feature. This attractive and functional park amenity was completed in 2003 to avoid the potential eyesore of a concrete chute which was originally contemplated to carry the plant’s wastewater.


Schenley Park CafĂŠ and Visitor Center

The Schenley Park CafĂŠ and Visitor Center was the second showcase project of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Restoration of the century-old structure was completed in 2002. The goal of the project was not just to restore a historic structure, but to turn it into a useful and attractive park amenity that had a positive impact on its environment.


Wherever possible, the original materials of the building were retained and restored, including foundations, exterior brick walls, historic ornamental windows, and heavy timber roof construction. One new design feature, the back deck, was added in order to provide an additional amenity and allow park visitors to have a “window on the park.” Ecological restoration of the surrounding park landscape completed the project. The building houses a year-round café and is a popular rental space. Revenue from the Café tenant and special events helps cover the cost of maintaining the building, which the Parks Conservancy does on behalf of the City.


Highland Park Seasonal Pools

Seasonal pools were created in 2006 to turn a flooded lawn into a thriving wetland habitat. The area’s biodiversity is furthered enhanced by the removal of invasive species and addition of new shrubs and trees. The Parks Conservancy is becoming engaged in efforts such as this to employ best practices in “green infrastructure” to aid in stormwater management throughout the parks. 36

Water from the nearby microfiltration plant on its way to Lake Carnegie is naturally cleaned and aerated by the rocks of a unique water feature. This attractive and functional attraction was completed in 2003 and avoids the potential eyesore of a concrete chute.


Mellon Park Walled Garden

Originally a part of the Richard Beatty Mellon Estate, the walkways and fountain of the walled garden at Mellon Park in Shadyside were restored in 2010, along with new plantings, benches, and a public art installation that creates visual drama both day and night. In 2011, the public art installation by Janet Zweig, 7:11 am 11.20.1979 79º55’w 40º27’n, was honored with the Mayor’s Award for Public Art. The Mayor’s Award is presented by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, recognizing an individual or organization for the development of high quality public art. This award was established in 2007 by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. The Seamans family, in honor of their daughter Annie, provided a significant portion of the funding for this project.


7:11 am 11.20.1979 79º55’w 40º27’n; © Janet Zweig 2009


How You Can Help

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy receives no operational funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District and relies heavily on private donations to fulfill its mission. Our top priority when taking on a new project is to raise funds to complete the project with the highest possible standards that reflect the needs of the modern park user, while creating an ongoing maintenance fund to ensure generations of enjoyment. Our great parks are free and open to the public. And while the City maintains these resources on everyone’s behalf, the Parks Conservancy—fueled by your generous gifts—improves the visitor experience through ecological and infrastructure restoration, coordinating volunteer and educational activities, and offering hundreds of free events at Schenley Plaza.


To learn more about Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy projects, call 412-682-7275 or donate any time at

Keep Our Parks

Forever Beautiful

We urge you to consult with your legal and financial advisors to assist you in arranging the best method of contributing. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is tax-exempt under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. Contributions to the Parks Conservancy are taxdeductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Help support the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City. You can give to the Parks Conservancy during your lifetime or under the terms of your will through planned giving. To learn more about how you can support the Parks Conservancy through planned giving, please call (412) 682-7275 ext. 228.

Non-Profit Org. US POSTAGE


2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Pittsburgh, PA Permit No 4906

calendar November 19, 2011 • 1:00 – 3:00 PM Urban EcoSteward Planting Techniques Training Learn how to plant trees, shrubs, and herbs for long term success. Meet at the Point of View statue in Emerald View Park at the corner of Grandview Ave. and Sweetbriar St. November 20, 2011 • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Highland Park Work Day Meeting location: Highland Park Entry Garden. We will meet at 9am and work until approximately 1pm. Bring a friend to the Parks Conservancy’s biggest volunteer day of Fall 2011! Join over 100 volunteers planting trees throughout Highland Park. As always, we’ll be working rain or shine. Register online at May 5, 2012 • 11:15 AM PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Luncheon at Frick Park

Visit our website at for a complete listing of upcoming events!

15th Anniversary Magazine  

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy celebrates 15 years of parks restoration.