On June 10, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) hosted five national environmental journalists as part Carnegie Mellon University’s annual Steinbrenner Environmental Institute’s Media Fellowship. A “Pittsburgh Re-made” cruise focused on environmental and economic transformation from the vantage point of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. A highlight of the 2013 cruise was the restored iconic fountain at the Golden Triangle. The fountain’s renovation, which is the final piece of the overall renovation of Point State Park by then-Governor Edward G. Rendell, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Riverlife, a public-private partnership dedicated to reclaiming, restoring and promoting Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Riverlife has raised over $5 million for the fountain renovation, including $750,000 in private and grassroots donations for a matching grant challenge issued by the Colcom Foundation. With fanfare and flourish, the fountain was welcomed back to Pittsburgh’s skyline on June 7, 2013 after a four-year hiatus for fundraising and repairs.
“Riverfront redevelopment has been a huge economic force in downtown Pittsburgh over the past decade,” said Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of Riverlife and the narrator/guide for the annual PRA-sponsored river cruise. “It’s hard to believe, but in 2000 very few of the city’s most prominent riverfront sites existed – the North Shore, South Side Works, Mon Wharf Landing, a refurbished Point State Park and the list goes on. The investment in Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfront park system has transformed the city in a relatively short period while serving as a catalyst for an additional $4 billion in related riverfront investment, and that amount keeps on growing as we continue to create new public greenways, beautiful developments that open up to the rivers, trail connections and riverfront recreational amenities.”
Watch the video to see a sampling of Pittsburgh’s riverfront transformation and hear from several of the visiting journalists about their impressions of the region’s waterways.