Baldwin man plans to fundraise for park improvements
Brian Urban spent his childhood summers playing games of “tennyball” on the McAnulty Park basketball court with friends.
The park once was a hangout for youngsters living along Meadowcrest Drive in Baldwin Borough, where children played a softer version of baseball — using a tennis ball — to protect the windows of nearby homes from shattering.
“In my memory, the sun was always shining. It was a great place to go,” said Urban, 27, who has lived in a home adjacent to the park his entire life.
Yet, much has changed over the years and the once happy-haven has deteriorated and now features rusted hoops and overgrown weeds.
There are a lot of problems at the park, including, “trash, graffiti, drug use, underage alcohol use, poor safety conditions and so on and so forth,” Urban said, as he described the 2.5-acre park off of McAnulty Road in the southern end of the borough. “The point being is that it's not attracting the positive attention that it should be.”
The addition of exercise stations and walking trails could help to reduce crime and improve community spirit, Urban said. He plans to begin fundraising in hopes of financing a $25,000 to $50,000 overhaul of the park, turning it into a “community fit” center.
“Really, I just want to increase our borough value,” said Urban, a health educator-medical manager for Cigna Behavioral Health. “There's a lot of things that we can think about.”
The pavilion, green space and basketball courts at McAnulty Park are “admittedly very under-utilized,” borough Manager John Barrett said.
Urban on Feb. 12 presented council with plans that would “hopefully make it more appealing,” Barrett said.
A recreational fitness park, with a 300-meter trail and 10 exercise stations, including chin-up, push-up and body-resistant posts, would be ideal, Urban said.
A volunteer at the Obediah Cole Foundation, Urban has assisted in raising as much as $60,000 annually for prostate cancer research, he said. His father, James, died of the disease.
The 2011 Jefferson Award winner for public service said he would like to partner with Pittsburgh businesses that focus on health and fitness as part of the effort.
“This is no cost at all to the borough,” Urban said. “The return on the investment is sixfold. It's huge.”
Borough solicitor Stanley Lederman is drafting a letter of agreement to allow Urban to move forward with his fundraising efforts. Urban, who said he plans to start fundraising in the next three weeks, is working with borough engineer Larry Souleret on plans for the park.
If fundraising efforts go as planned, Urban said he would hope to have the project started by August.
Construction likely would take about a year.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.