The air was cold but the sun was shining brightly as Mary Pitcher watched the first of 500 yards of concrete being blown into a section of the Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark now under construction at the 34-acre Carnegie Park on Forsythe Road.
"It's just unbelievable. I have to pinch myself," said Mrs. Pitcher, who has worked tirelessly on the proposed project since 2008. It will serve as a memorial to her sons, Vincent and Stephen, who lost their lives in a drowning accident that year.
Construction workers were equally upbeat about the $600,000 skatepark, which will cover 15,000 square feet. It was designed by Grindline Skateparks of Seattle and financed largely by the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation of Arizona. About 15 percent of the project's expenses are being paid for with local fundraisers and donations of services.
But Mrs. Pitcher wasn't the only on-site person to be enthusiastic about the skatepark.
Eddie Lawrence, construction supervisor, said he has built about 200 skateparks in the past 19-20 years. He pointed out that his eight-member crew is made up of skateboarders and that one person is donating his time to the project.
"It's a labor of love," Mr. Lawrence said.
Dominic Giovannucci of Essroc Ready Mix in Pittsburgh, which is providing the concrete at a reduced rate, said it has a high cement content that's designed to stick, as well as a smooth finish. Concrete bleachers, and possibly a snack stand, will become part of the skatepark, too, he said.
Looking over the wooden form work, Mr. Giovannucci said he had never seen such a complicated design.
"That is a work of art. It's intricate," he said.
Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek stopped by to check on the construction, too.
"It's just so exciting to watch," he said. "The passion Mary's put into this is just awesome."
Grindline selected Carnegie to be the skatepark's home because of its location, as well as the support of local officials and residents. The company also was impressed by Mr. Kobistek's request that the skatepark hold annual competitions.
To draw attention to the skatepark's construction, Mrs. Pitcher has erected a beckoning sign that reads "Pitcher Park Welcomes You" at the park's entrance.
The new skatepark is projected to be completed this winter, most likely in December or January.
"[The workers] want to get home for Christmas," Mrs. Pitcher said.
For more information about the skatepark: www.pitcherpark.com.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.