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Foundation offers $1 million match to help renovate Point State Park fountain

| Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

The fountain at Point State Park doesn't just need a face-lift — it requires a major overhaul to ensure it's around for years to come.

That's the message at the center of a $1 million campaign to repair the focal point of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Riverlife said Wednesday that the Colcom Foundation would match up to $1 million raised before Nov. 24 by the newly formed Friends of the Fountain Campaign, said Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife director of communications.

"A $1 million match doesn't come along every day, so we hope it's a phenomenal incentive for people to pitch in, even if people are only able to give $25," he said.

John F. Rohe, vice president of philanthropy for Colcom Foundation, said the donation fulfills the foundation's goal to impact the community.

"It is simply a great privilege for the foundation to be involved in the efforts to restore and enhance this magnificent tribute to the heart of our city," he said.

The main 150-foot sprout was turned off in July and smaller "peacock" sprays will stop flowing in about a week. Antiquated electrical systems and damaged pumps need to be replaced to keep the fountain on for an extended period of time, although the main sprout was turned on for the G-20 summit and the Steelers' home opener, and again on Oct. 1 with pink water for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bontrager said.

The fountain was built in 1974, but money ran dry on the project. This renovation will complete its original design. The plaza will be raised to make seating around the ring more comfortable, an inner rim will be installed to raise the basin water to create an overflow effect, and lighting will be installed, according to Riverlife.

Construction on the fountain should begin late next year and be completed in 2011, Bontrager said.

The work is the last phase of a $42 million, four-year renovation of Point State Park. Work is under way on promenades along the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, starting from the fountain, Bontrager said.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources owns Point State Park.

Additional Information:


'A $1 million match doesn't come along every day, so we hope it's a phenomenal incentive for people to pitch in, even if people are only able to give $25.'

Stephan Bontrager

Riverlife director of communications

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