The National Recreation and Park Association has chosen the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to receive its 2013 National Partnership Award for its public-private collaborations.
The NRPA will honor the conservancy during a "best of the best" ceremony at its annual congress in Houston, Texas in October.
The conservancy was cited for its collaborations in the following:
· Plans for the new environmental education center in Frick Park;
· The Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain and the regional parks master plan;
· A partnership with the Hill District to research the connection between greenspace and parks and physical, mental and social wellbeing.
· Natural resource conservation in four of Pittsburgh’s five regional parks by conservancy professionals and hundreds of volunteers;
· Completion of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square sometime this year;
· Renovation of the entrance to McKinley Park in Beltzhoover, (shown at left) which will be celebrated on July 12 as a collaboration between the city and the conservancy. It includes a 19-space parking lot paved in porous asphalt and several rain gardens.
“There are many cities with the kinds of post-industrial challenges that Pittsburgh faces, and in most of them the great old park systems have suffered,” said Peter Harnik, director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land. “But in Pittsburgh the parks are now better than they used to be — thanks to the city’s wonderful partnership with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. It’s a model that other places should be eyeing.”
“Here at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, we are fond of saying we work for the parks, even though we are not part of City government,” said Meg Cheever, founding president and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “Park partnerships like the one in Pittsburgh seem to make it look easy because we have great partners,” she said. “But collaboration requires good leadership and a deep commitment to a common goal. It has taken crucial support from many in our community.”
The conservancy and city have been partnering for 17 years on park projects and maintenance and have raised $65 million for restoration. More than 12 major capital projects have been completed.
Top photo by John Altdorfer: a tree planting blitz in Highland Park.
Bottom photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
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