PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Once a gas station and then a parking lot, a small section of downtown Pittsburgh has been dramatically transformed into an urban oasis.
Officials at Point Park University hope a new park becomes a hub for students and visitors to downtown Pittsburgh.
“So we think it’s important for the students and the faculty to have a place to be able to hang out and smell the fresh air and see the trees and the flowers and just have a place to hang out,” Point Park University President Paul Hennigan said.
The quarter-acre urban park fills up part of a block along the Boulevard of the Allies, but backers of the $6.6 million project said it’s key to revitalizing the area around campus.
“What’s exciting is that it’s marrying different parts of downtown – cultural and academic resources – and it’s really going to make downtown shine,” Janet Sarbaugh from Heinz Endowments said.
Nonprofits have been criticized for buying taxable property and taking them off the tax rolls. Administrators at Point Park admit the land for the park came off the tax rolls, but in the long run, they say it benefits the city.
While the university’s growth has exploded in recent years, Hennigan said they’re not done yet.
“We now own about 18 properties, and we are shifting our sights to the student and convocation center and the Pittsburgh Playhouse,” Hennigan said.