After a 12-year $35 million renovation effort, Point State Park has been named nationally as one of the “10 Great Public Spaces of 2014” by the American Planning Association.
Lisa Schroeder, President and CEO of Riverlife, says the restoration was much needed.
“Nearly every paver in the park had been shattered from overuse. The lawns were worn bare. The landscape has all but disappeared. The bones of the park were there, but they needed a top to bottom restoration and recreation,” Schroeder said.
Renovations in the park started in 2001, and concluded last year.
Improvements included new benches, 7,000 native plants, repaved walkways and stone edging, more lighting, and easier access to the river. The state also added a café area, renovated the landscape, re-outlined the historic forts and gave the fountain a complete overhaul.
“So now on any given sunny afternoon in Point State Park the lawns and water front promenades are packed. Families are using it, cyclists, people walking their dogs, wedding parties, tourists, historians, kayakers and so forth [create] twice the circulation we used to see in the park,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder believes part of the reason the park was chosen for this award was not only because of the updates and changes, but also because of the importance of the fountain to the image of the city.
“But when you think about Point State Park, and you think about the visual significance that it has when you come into the city of Pittsburgh … I think that is what attracted the attention of the American Planning Association,” said Schroeder.
The association names 30 streets, neighborhoods, and public places every year. Pittsburgh's Mellon Square, Grant Street and Chatham Village have been named in previous years.