Nearly five years after it was first proposed, Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark is about to become a reality with a groundbreaking ceremony planned for 7 p.m. July 7 in Carnegie Park on Forsythe Road.
The start of the $600,000 project is the day before the fifth anniversary of the drownings of Vincent and Stephen Pitcher, ages 21 and 19, while on a camping trip in the Allegheny National Forest.
The boys' mother, Mary Shea Pitcher, and their brothers, Jonathan, 30, and Brady, 21, are leading the building effort as a memorial to Vincent and Stephen, who enjoyed BMX biking and skate parks. The 13,000-square-foot double-bowl skate park, which is expected to attract skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX bike riders, will be in what Mrs. Pitcher calls "a perfect location" in the 34-acre park.
The site is a gently sloping glen surrounded by tall trees near the main picnic grove.
Grindline Skateparks of Seattle, is the skate park's designer and the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation of Arizona is donating 85 percent of construction costs. The remaining money is being obtained through fundraisers and donations of services.
Construction is estimated to take four months.
A list of donors is posted at www.pitcherpark.com, and a conceptual design of the proposed skate park has been superimposed on a photograph of the park setting.
Memorial bricks for the spectator area are available.
Mrs. Pitcher said she has received donations and memorial requests from all over the world, including one from a Rotarian in Malaysia. She's purchased shovels and white balloons for the groundbreaking.
She stresses that the skate park will be open to youth from all communities, including Dormont, which supported the project initially but then rejected it in spring 2012. Dormont recently reimbursed the skate park foundation for $12,290 in incurred costs. The Pitcher family formerly lived in Dormont.
"What a difference a mile makes," Mrs. Pitcher said, referring to the distance from the original site and the support she has received from Carnegie.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: email@example.com.