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City Council Moves Closer To Renaming Park After August Wilson

Scott Roller

Pittsburgh City Council has taken the first step toward renaming Cliffside Park in the Hill District to honor the late Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson.

A unanimous committee vote on Wednesday paved the way for final passage of the proposal to rename the park “August Wilson Park.”

Citiparks Director Jim Griffin said he was pleased with the decision, but he had just one question.

“Would this be sufficient enough to honor such a legacy as August Wilson?” Griffin asked. “He is, without a doubt, in the pantheon of American playwrights, right up there among the greatest American writers of all time … The legacy that he has provided for this city will live for the ages.”

The late playwright wrote a cycle of 10 plays called "The Pittsburgh Cycle," which described the experiences of Hill District residents over the course of the 20th Century. The cycle earned him two Pulitzer Prizes in 1987 and 1990.

Nestled between Bigelow Boulevard and Cliff Street in the northern tier of the Hill District, Cliffside Park is currently undergoing renovations. When the improvements are finished later this year, the park will also feature artwork made by August Wilson, as well as public art from neighborhood children and a photo gallery from renowned Pittsburgh photographer Teenie Harris.

According to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s website, the changes also include an expansion of the parks view of the city’s rivers.