PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A chorus of frogs echoed across the waters of Deer Lakes Park Wednesday, heralding a perfect day to fish or walk.
Those enjoying the park may have been divided on whether drilling was the right move, but they are united in what they now say should happen to bounty harvested from a mile beneath their feet.
“If you go up on the hills and look at some of the pavilions, they are in bad shape,” said Ed McPherson, of Frazer Township.
“Possibly into the wildlife and the animals, that’s what this park is about,” added Georgina DiPasquale, of Russelton. “I grew up here; I’d like to have this for my grandkids, too.”
Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald is in step with those desires.
“I’d like to see $2 million go into Deer Lake,” he said. “This is the community that is going to live with the inconvenience that will go on.”
Fitzgerald would like to see immediate upgrades to the Wagman Observatory.
“That’s a tremendous asset for this county,” said Fitzgerald. “They have these star parties each month in which hundreds of people show up. They don’t have a bathroom; they don’t have a parking lot.”
But $2 million for Deer Lakes is only part of the drilling windfall. Allegheny County has $150 million of parks maintenance that’s been ignored because they didn’t have the money.
“Buildings that are falling apart, shelters that are leaking, playground equipment that’s bad,” Fitzgerald said. “The lion share of that money will go into the parks.”
As for looking for drilling opportunities in north, south, or any other of the county’s parks, Fitzgerald says, “Let’s let this thing develop and go forward to see the positive aspects, but also whatever negative aspects might come from it as well.”