Fountain at Point State Park to resume June 7

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The fountain in Downtown's Point State Park, which has been shut off since April 2009, will resume operation in a ceremony set for June 7.

The announcement was made today in a statement released by the Riverlife organization, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

"The transformation of Point State Park is almost complete, and with the reconstructed fountain it will once again be a jewel in our award-winning state park system," said DCNR secretary Richard J. Allan in a statement. "After hard work and collaboration across the region, we're happy to celebrate this major reconstruction with a public event that will showcase the renovations and the park in a stunning waterfront gathering spot."

The dedication ceremony, titled "Riverlights at The Point," is free and open to the public and will take place on the first night of the 10-day Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Riverlife, working with the state agency and the arts festival, is requesting that local artists, lighting designers and architects submit proposals for a temporary lighting concept that will showcase Point State Park at the opening ceremony. Submissions are due Feb. 13.

More information will be available at www.pointstatepark.com or www.riverlifepgh.org.

The reopening of the fountain will mark a new chapter in the story of the point of Pittsburgh, the green space Downtown where the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers meet.

It has been, at different points in the region's history a strategic location during the French and Indian War, a busy industrial spot and then a deteriorating eyesore.

Planning for a park at the Point began in the 1930s and in 1974, the 36-acre park and the original fountain were opened. Its location at the confluence of the three rivers made it a landmark for the city, but it also made it susceptible to heavy flooding, and after a few decades, the fountain and the park had fallen into disrepair.

In 2001, plans for the latest renovation started to take shape and in 2007, the $35 million park renovation began. Work on the fountain started in late 2011.

The fountain, when it returns to operation in June, will have, among other features, a disappearing edge waterfall feature inside the basin, a restored outer basin ring, new pumping equipment and new LED lighting.

The June ceremony will celebrate the city's past and showcase "the new Pittsburgh," said Riverlife president and CEO Lisa Schroeder in a statement.

"This is really an opportunity for the community to come together and take a bow," she said.

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Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.


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