Fairview Park kicks off capital campaign, marks 75th anniversary in 2020
In 1945, a group of black church leaders from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties set out to create a place where they could come together and enjoy themselves.
With segregation restricting the places African-Americans could go, the Monongahela Valley Sunday School Association created Fairview Park in Salem Township.
At one time, the park boasted a roller coaster, merry-go-round, skating rink, swimming pool, petting zoo and softball fields. The Fairview Park Association — which maintains the area even though it no longer functions as an amusement park — received a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 and received an historic marker in 2017 from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
In 2020, the park will mark its 75th anniversary, and the Fairview Park Association board is hosting an Oct. 26 tea party fundraiser in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood to kick off its “Black Diamond” capital campaign.
The campaign will help raise money for improvements at the park, according to board member Anita Jackson-Lowe.
“We’re asking for a small donation at the door, and we’ll be soliciting additional donations inside,” Jackson-Lowe said. “It’s not a formal sit-down tea where there’s a fashion show. It’s more like an open meet-and-greet sort of forum.”
Jackson-Lowe hopes the campaign can set in motion the “three R’s” plan that association directors have envisioned: the renovation, restoration and revitalization of the park.
“At the tea party, we’ll have a ‘vision board’ showing all of the changes we anticipate making,” she said.
A full gala will take place in May 2020 to mark the official 75th anniversary of Fairview Park’s establishment, and the final anniversary event will the association’s annual picnic, which will mark its 20th year in 2020.
“We want to raise awareness, keep publicizing the park and let people know it’s there,” Jackson-Lowe said.
The “Black Diamond” tea party will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Obama High School, 515 North Highland Avenue in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood.
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Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .