Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk draws crowd of 1,500 to break in Carnegie Park
Sean Robertson's eyes sparkled in awe as he watched professional skateboarder Tony Hawk pull off an invert — skating up the side of a concrete bowl and doing a handstand.
“I did a report on him when I was 10,” said Robertson, 17, of Mt. Lebanon. “It's just so cool to see him.”
The same look was in Mary Pitcher's eyes as she watched a crowd of about 1,500 gather in Carnegie Park on Monday to watch Hawk become one of the first to land his wheels on the Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark.
“In my head, I thought it would come together, but I had my doubts,” she said. “I'm just in shock, I think.”
The skatepark has been a six-year endeavor for Pitcher, president of the Pitcher Park Foundation, which she established to build a skatepark in memory of two of her sons.
Vincent Pitcher, 21, and his brother, Stephen, 19, died on July 15, 2008, during a camping trip when Stephen jumped into Kinzua Lake from the James Morrison Bridge on Route 59 in Warren County. Vincent saw his brother struggling and jumped in from shore to help him, but both drowned. Both were avid skateboarders.
The $600,000 park — opening this fall — includes a street course, bowls and a 20-foot full pipe. It was funded in part by Hawk's nonprofit, the Tony Hawk Foundation, and the Ken and Carol Schultz Foundation, based in Arizona but headed by Bridgeville native Ken Schultz.
“It's been amazing to see the passion behind this project and to see it finally come to light,” said Hawk, 46, who retired from professional competition in 1999 but continues to tour and perform exhibitions. “I'm honored, to be honest.”
Pitcher originally sought to put the skateboard park in Dormont, where her sons grew up. After four years of negotiations with the borough, Dormont Council in May 2012 overturned a memorandum of understanding it had with Pitcher, stating that the previous council had not followed proper procedure in approving it.
Pitcher said Dormont's rejection led her to work even harder to find a site for the park.
“Mary is very passionate, and this wouldn't have happened without her,” Hawk said. “She knew the best ways to utilize our resources and to cut through the red tape.”
That passion led her to Carnegie.
“In Carnegie, it was like night and day,” she said. “(Mayor) Jack Kobistek was so welcoming. He had the foresight to want a skatepark in the community.”
Hawk said the drive of Pitcher and her foundation helped make the park a reality.
“It's almost hard to use this as an example to other parks because some of the other ones, they don't get that steam train of support,” he said.
He said he believes the park will become a regional attraction.
“I can tell you this park will be used all the time — more than other sports facilities,” Hawk said. “I think it's going to live on — it's going to be a destination skatepark. People are going to come here as tourists just to see it.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Guza to your Google+ circles.
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.
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- South Side zoning clashes with parking: Workers hurt
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- Pittsburgh capital plans shift to repairs to police, fire, paramedic stations
- American Airlines manager arrested in Pittsburgh on sex crimes charges
- Run-down duplex that Dormont helped to rehab not on the market long
- Newsmaker: Dr. J. Anthony Graves
- Venezuela-based fraud ring stole UPMC identities to buy electronics from Amazon, federal indictment says
- 5 teens injured in East Liberty crash while eluding police
- Human-waste fertilizer aids farmers, worries some Ohio residents