Items touting the creation of Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark rest on a table at the groundbreaking for the future course in Carnegie Park. Cost is estimated at $600,000.
As Mary Pitcher, left, gets things organized, her grandson Rook Pitcher, 3, is hauled into place by his father, John, at the groundbreaking for Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark. The facility is named in memory of two of Ms. Pitcher's sons, who were avid skateboarders before they drowned in 2008.
Shovels wait at the groundbreaking for Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark on Sunday.
By Carole Gilbert Brown
With its gently sloping lawns, trees, recreational facilities and ample parking, the 34-acre Carnegie Park on Forsythe Road already offers many pleasant amenities. But, a new and very different one is on the way.
At a celebration Sunday, ground was broken for the 15,000-square-foot Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark, named in honor of Vincent Pitcher, 21, and his brother, Stephen, 19, who drowned together five years ago this month during a fishing trip.
On hand for the groundbreaking was Mary Shea Pitcher, their mother, who spearheaded the memorial effort. She was joined by sons Jonathan and Brady and their families, borough officials and about 100 residents from Carnegie, Scott, Dormont and Mt. Lebanon.
Quite a few of the younger residents brought their skateboards and bicycles.
"This will provide [skateboarders] with another avenue where they take their skills to another level," Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek said after the groundbreaking.
"I really felt a lot of love," said Mrs. Pitcher of the attendees, who cheered when the shovels were put into the ground and applauded when the children released helium-filled black and white balloons.
Mrs. Pitcher has dedicated the past five years toward finding a home for the skatepark.
"I just had to keep going because I felt it was very important for my children and their memory to do something like this," she said.
Carnegie Councilwoman Susan Demko, who played a key role in raising money for the project, hopes it will be underway by Aug. 1, though some grading and digging must be done first. Construction is expected to take three to four months.
Cost is estimated at $600,000 -- a price that would be considerably more if not for sponsorship by some nonprofit organizations.
Much of the money comes from a grant from the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation in Arizona, which is being handled through the Tony Hawk Foundation.
There has been fundraising done at the local level, too, as well as donations of services and materials.
One of the most successful local fundraisers was a haunted trail last fall at Carnegie Park, which Mrs. Pitcher assures will be repeated this year.
"It'll be better than the first year," she said.
The skate park will consist of two bowls, a large tunnel, a street course and seating for onlookers. It was designed by Grindline Skateparks of Seattle.
At Carnegie council's meeting Monday, council President Rick D'Loss expressed his enthusiasm for the skatepark project.
"It should be a very exciting addition to our park," he said.