PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Growing up together on the Northside and throughout their lives, Pat and Dan Rooney would spend spring evenings like this one strolling through the Allegheny Commons.
“Every night. In fact we walked here years before we were married when we were courting. he was courting me. this was our favorite destination.”
But thorough the years, the park lost it’s luster, falling into disrepair. A great sadness for Pat Rooney. .
“Oh, it was abandoned. It just wasn’t even a gathering place anymore.”
And so into 1997 — she joined with others in forming the Allegheny Commons Initiative which with the help of foundations and private donors is now $4 million into a $20 million dollar restoration plan. But Mrs. Rooney’s own dream has already been realized — the restoration of this gem – the original fountain at the corner of North and Cedar — the fountain of her youth.
“I feel so joyful. I came up the other day because someone said the water was on. I said ‘what?’ I felt like I was 10 again.”
Built in 1935 and dismantled in 1960 — the fountain was only a distant memory for most — but she always dreamed of bringing it back and spearheaded the raising of $1.2 million for rebuilding and another $600 thousand for the maintenance fund.
Through the years, Pat and Dan Rooney had fundraisers at their home and fellow board member, Tom Barbush said Mrs. Rooney pressed until the fountain became a reality.
“I have to say that without her we would not be here today with this fountain in place.”