With drums, student dancers and the crackle of fireworks, Point Park University opened its new Urban Park at the Academic Village Sept.14 before a large audience representing the many partnerships – local elected officials, state legislators, philanthropic foundations, labor unions – that helped make the $6.6 million project a reality.
“Today we are here to thank you and to celebrate the official opening of the Village Park,” University President Paul Hennigan said.
The new park sits at the intersection of the Boulevard of the Allies and Wood Street, in the heart of campus. It features a glass stair tower, a dramatic water feature and an elegant colonnade. River Birch trees and plantings provide a vibrant green space among the nearby buildings and streets. The open design is intended to create a welcoming outdoor space for the University community.
Video: The Urban Park at the Academic Village
Get a sneak peek at the day's festivities by viewing the video below.
“Today is a fantastic day,” Point Park senior Anthony Costulas, president of United Student Government, told the morning audience. “It is our hope this park will unite the members of the Point Park community and become a common ground for all.”
Funding for the park came from a variety of sources, including a $3.5 million state grant supported by the Allegheny County Legislative delegation, and many of those legislators attended the unveiling ceremony. Support also came from Pittsburgh foundations, including a $2 million grant from the Heinz Endowments for a number of campus projects, among them the Urban Park design.
An ‘Incredible Transformation’
At the ceremony, State Rep. Paul Costa, a graduate of Point Park who sits on the University’s Board of Trustees and serves on its faculty – offered words of heartfelt congratulations. “I can’t tell you how proud I am ... to be standing here today,” Costa said, looking around at the park, previously a parking lot and before that, a gas station. “The transformation is just incredible.”
Additional speakers included Janet Sarbaugh, senior director of the Arts and Culture Program at the Heinz Endowments, State Senator Wayne Fontana, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Rich Stanizzo, business manager of the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council.
Announcing Osteria 100
At the opening ceremony Hennigan also announced that the University is partnering with two local restaurateurs, Chuck Hammel and Tom Trimm, to open a new eatery in the first floor of the Point Park building adjacent to the park. The pair currently operate Cioppino Restaurant and Cigar Bar, and Osteria 2350, both in the Strip District.
Throughout the fall, the attractive park setting drew Point Park students, faculty, and alumni together for a variety of events, including a concert series and party for alumni during Back to the 'Burgh weekend Oct. 7 - 9.
Text by Christine Zapinski
Photo by Jim Schafer
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University