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Gov. Corbett participates in ceremony to return fountain at Point State Park to Pittsburgh’s skyline
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett joined the people of Pittsburgh on June 7 to return the Point State Park fountain to the city skyline, completing a more than six-year, multi-million dollar renovation of the park that hosts more than 3 million visitors annually.

“Today the fountain’s welcoming column of water once again soars high above Point State Park, highlighting the unique confluence of the three rivers at this historic place,” Corbett said during a public ceremony at the park. “Our investment in Point State Park is a gift from the commonwealth to the City of Pittsburgh and its visitors so they can reflect on history, enjoy nature and be reminded of the city’s strength and vitality.”

The fountain was turned off in April 2009. The rehabilitation adds a disappearing edge waterfall feature, new lighting, including colors for special events, all new surfaces, pumping equipment and controls, and public restroom renovations.

The central water column of the fountain continues to operate at around 150 feet. The fountain contains about 500,000 gallons of water that is recirculated.

The $11.6 million fountain project, the first major overhaul in almost 40 years, was supported by a combination of state funds, as well as business and private donations. The state committed $32 million in capital budget money to renovations throughout the park.

“It’s been great to have outstanding partners for financial, technical and planning support, including Riverlife and the Allegheny Conference, the City of Pittsburgh, foundations and many private donors,” Corbett said.

“Pittsburgh is a river city. The Point State Park fountain symbolizes our quality of life and highlights the beautiful setting of three rivers coming together,” Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of Riverlife said. “We congratulate the commonwealth on this investment and are proud to have been part of this historic public-private partnership.” SET, Inc. of Lowellville, Ohio, was the general contractor for the fountain project. Right Electric, Inc. of Butler provided electrical construction; Wayne Crouse, Inc. of Pittsburgh did the mechanical construction which includes the new fountain pumps and piping; and AMB, Inc. of Pittsburgh did the plumbing.

“This renovated fountain is the crown jewel of many improvements within the park, and is in fact, the largest renovation project in our 120-park system,” Corbett said. “We make these investments to protect natural areas and historic places, but also because state parks are economic engines that generate more than a billion dollars annually in nearby communities.”

The fountain was first dedicated by the state on Aug. 30, 1974, at the completion of the park’s construction. In 2007, an extensive renovation project began with improvements including:

  • City-side Lawn, 2007-2008: Complete renovation of the lawn area on the city-side of the park, tracery lights, walkways, benches and landscaping.
  • Woodlands, 2009: Removal of some lawn area and replacement with 7,000 native trees, shrubs and perennials; new irrigation; and new stone edging.
  • Allegheny and Monongahela Wharfs, 2009-2010: Demolition and reconstruction of both wharf areas and recycling of existing materials when possible; lighting along wharf edges; boat tie-ups; new promenade walkways adjacent to the newly installed native woodland beds; and rehabilitation of the overlook area with new lighting, benches, stonework and landscaping.
  • Café at the Point, 2010-2011: Café built for park visitors with recycled building materials, green walls and interpretive elements about Point State Park and its importance in the shaping of America.
  • Fountain Electric Service, 2011: Installation of electrical components to meet new requirements from the service provider and increase capacity for improvements to fountain.
DCNR has added a full-time park manager and staff; an environmental educator; a concessionaire for food at the park; and coordinates programming at the park with the Fort Pitt Museum and Block House.

Point State Park, a National Historic Landmark, commemorates the strategic and historic heritage of the area during the French and Indian War. It’s situated where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, an area highly contested between British and French armies in the 1700s.

By the 1950s, the area had deteriorated into a commercial slum. The construction of Point State Park was one of the key accomplishments of Pittsburgh's first Renaissance urban renewal initiative.

For more information about the park and its programs, visit here.

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June 12, 2013

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