A rendering of the proposed Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark in Carnegie.
By Carole Gilbert Brown
As skateboarders would say, Carnegie officials and residents are "stoked" about Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark.
The skate park is planned for a gently sloping glen near the main picnic grove at the borough's 34-acre park on Forsythe Road.
Carnegie Councilwoman Susan Demko phrased the enthusiasm in a different way following the second conceptual design planning meeting for the public on Feb. 6 with Micah Shapiro of Grindline Skateparks in Seattle.
"I'm just overwhelmed with the way our community has just come together for this," she said, adding that no other skate park in the state has the double bowl that Carnegie's skate park will have.
Mayor Jack Kobistek noted that the full pipe feature will be unique to the skate park, too.
"The nearest one is in Louisville, about 500 miles away," he said.
Interest in the skate park, which could be open by late summer, has jumped since Mary Shea Pitcher announced last summer that she had selected Carnegie Park over sites in Scott and Mt. Lebanon.
The skate park will be a memorial to her sons, Vincent and Stephen Pitcher, who drowned at the Kinzua Dam in 2008 at ages 21 and 19.
At last week's meeting, some skateboarders requested that more street skating elements, such as rails and steps, be added to the design.
The parent of a young child suggested a beginners' area for novices, which Mrs. Pitcher supports.
"The older kids would watch out for the little kids," she said.
The skate park is expected to be used by BMX riders as well as skateboarders.
The bowls are deep enough to hold competitions. Fencing, security lights and cameras, which are not depicted on the design, will be installed, too.
The park will continue to close at 10 p.m. when police lock the parking lot gates.
The skate park will cost an estimated $600,000, of which 85 percent will be paid for by the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation of Arizona.
The rest of the money must be raised locally.
Mrs. Demko said recent fundraisers, such as the Haunted Trail held in the fall and lottery tickets sales have been successful, although another $30,000 to $40,000 is needed.
A murder-mystery fundraiser, "The Class Reunion," is planned for April 6 at the Carnegie Volunteer Fire and Rescue Bureau.
The event will include homemade food, beverages and an auction.
Tickets, which cost $25 each, can be purchased by calling Mrs. Demko at 412-951-1017.
Brick plaques for the skate park's memorial wall can be bought for $25 to $500, depending on size.
Carnegie Police Chief and Manager Jeff Harbin predicted that the skate park will become a destination point for athletes.
"I think it's going to be a great addition to an already great park," he said.
Mrs. Pitcher agreed.
She would like to add a glass wall at the skate park and expand its size from 12,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.
"Because this is so centrally located, I think it's going to be very crowded," she said.
She added that a Pittsburgh labor union has offered to excavate the site, and that she hopes to get donations of fencing, lighting and landscaping.
Construction drawings for the project are expected in the next 30 days with groundbreaking planned for May.