Park initiative starts 'Friends' group

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

deerstatueLeaders of the initiative to restore the Allegheny Commons have established a “Friends” program to raise money for the multi-phase work that has already restored two chunks of the North Side park — the city’s oldest.

Friends of Allegheny Commons offers various levels of giving, from $10 for students and elders. You can donate on line here  or write a check payable to the Allegheny Commons Initiative c/o the Northside  Leadership Conference, 4 Allegheny Center, Suite 601, Pittsburgh 15212.

The initiative, whose masterplan can be viewed here, has roughly $600,000 toward a $2.2 million phase that will restore the park along North Avenue from Tripoli Street in Deutschtown to Arch Street in the Central Northside, said Sean Brady, fund-raising counsel for the initiative.

This phase includes restoration of a fountain that used to be on the corner of Cedar and North Avenue. Today, there’s a large circular garden maintained by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Sean said the Friends program “serves as a community match for foundation and government funding.”

Here’s a little history of the park, provided by the initiative:

“Pittsburgh’s oldest park dates back to 1867, before Schenley, Highland, Frick or Riverview Parks, and it is located right here on the Northside. The park encompasses over 80 acres of greenspace, including an arboretum with over 1,000 trees of 100 different species, and is known by several names with historic connections: East Park, West Park and the Allegheny Commons. The “Commons” originally referred to the collection of public pastures for livestock including East Common, North Common and West Common. The entire park, between Cedar Avenue and Brighton Road, is called the Allegheny Commons.

“The Allegheny Commons now has an official Friends program for those of you who want to see it restored to its former splendor.  Benefits include seasonal guided park tours along with other special events, plus the knowledge that you are helping the Allegheny Commons once again become a North Side catalyst for improved quality of life and economic development.”

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