Six years after Mary Pitcher first envisioned the Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark as a way to remember and honor her sons who drowned in an accident, the recreational site is on the brink of opening in Carnegie Park.
"It's all coming together," Mrs. Pitcher said, noting contractor Grindline Skateparks of Seattle has completed the construction, but items like landscaping, drainage, sidewalks, as well as the installation of light poles and security cameras must be done before the skate park can be open to the public. A fence around the area was erected last week.
The 17,000-square-foot concrete facility features a street course, bowls and a 20-foot diameter full pipe.
To ramp up interest, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and some of his Birdhouse Skateboards team will give a free exhibition at 5 p.m. Monday. Representatives from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will be on hand to distribute free helmets to young skaters.
Kasai, a new Japanese restaurant in Carnegie, is donating food. Hamburgers and picnic food will be available, too, as well as T-shirts and memorial bricks. Music will be provided by Jonathan Pitcher's band, The Bastard Bearded Irishmen.
Mr. Hawk started skateboarding when he was 9 years old. By age 25, he had competed in 103 professional events — winning 73 of them and earning second place in 19 others.
The nonprofit Tony Hawk Foundation and the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation each contributed money for the skate park's development. Mr. Schultz is a Bridgeville native. According to its website, the Tony Hawk Foundation has given more than 500 grants for the construction of free public skate parks across the country.
Groundbreaking for the skate park took place in July 2013.
Vincent, 21, and Stephen Pitcher, 19, died in a drowning accident in 2008 while on a camping trip in the Allegheny National Forest.
For information: www.pitcherpark.com.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.