Dormont settles with Pitcher Park

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Dormont will pay $12,290 for costs incurred toward a proposed skate park that was never built.

Council Monday voted to reimburse the Pitcher Park Foundation, which paid for preliminary design work for construction of an area for skateboards near tennis courts on borough property off Banksville Road.

In exchange for the settlement, the borough, its officials and employees are released from further liability or legal action.

Former Dormont resident Mary Shea Pitcher approached the borough several years ago about establishing the skate park as a memorial for two of her sons. Keystone Oaks High School graduates Vincent Pitcher, 21, and Stephen Pitcher, 19, drowned in 2008 while on a camping trip in the Allegheny National Forest.

In April 2010, council voted to approve the skate park. The following May, the borough and the foundation, which was created to raise money for the park's construction, entered into a memorandum of understanding.

In the meantime, various Dormont officials and residents questioned the desirability of the skate park at its proposed location, and in April 2012, council voted against advertising an ordinance to ratify the April 2010 motion.

As borough solicitor John Rushford explained at the time, because the creation of the skate park was not put forth in the form of an ordinance, and thus was never properly voted on by council and discussed in public, it would not stand.

On Monday, Mr. Rushford explained that Dodaro Matta & Cambest, his law firm, advised in favor of the settlement because of the potential financial impact on the borough in the event of a lawsuit. "That is our recommendation, and it finally puts this matter, which has been so divisive to the community, to rest," said Mr. Rushford.

Voting against the settlement agreement were council members John Maggio and Eugene Barilla.

Now the skate park is planned for a site in Carnegie Park, after consideration also was given to locations in Mt. Lebanon and Scott. In August, Mrs. Pitcher and her family unveiled a large sign in the 34-acre park with the words "Future Site of Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark."

Since then, a representative of Grindline Skateparks -- a Seattle-based team of skateboard park designers, concrete craftsmen, construction managers and professional skateboarders -- has outlined plans at two public meetings. The concept calls for a "double bowl" feature that would be unique to Pennsylvania skate parks.

The facility's cost is estimated at $600,000, of which the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation of Arizona will pay for 85 percent. The Schultzes -- natives of Bridgeville and Rostraver, respectively -- have made substantial donations to other local causes, including the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana.

The rest of the money for the skate park must be raised locally. Supporters have held a series of fundraisers toward the cause. Details: www.pitcherpark.com.

neigh_west - neigh_south

Harry Funk, freelance: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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