Last week, Pittsburgh’s voters made an historic decision for our parks and our future. The parks referendum passed on Election Day, and Pittsburgh’s Home Rule Charter will be amended to establish a dedicated parks trust fund.
Thank you for standing up and making your voice heard on Election Day. We now have an incredible opportunity to transform our parks and ensure that every person in every neighborhood in Pittsburgh will benefit from a high-quality park.
The parks trust fund will be used to improve, maintain, create, and operate public parks; improve park safety; and equitably fund parks in underserved neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh. It will be supported in part by an additional 0.5 mill levy ($50 on each $100,000 of assessed real estate value), as well as contributions from other sources, including private charitable donation, matching funds from charitable city parks conservancies, and money allocated by Pittsburgh City Council.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy aims to raise $10 million per year in private donations to match the money generated by the tax. The Heinz Endowments has already approved a $500,000 grant to go towards that goal.
The parks fund will go a long way towards addressing the significant inequities that parks – and the people they serve – face across Pittsburgh. PUMP sees the issues facing our parks nearly every day through the Pittsburgh Sports League. We also see the immense social, health, environmental, and economic benefits that high-quality parks create for communities. That’s why we are so excited for this opportunity to fund all of our parks equitably.
Thank you to all the voters, the PUMP network, PSLers, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy – this huge win for the people of Pittsburgh would not have been possible without your dedication, engagement, and passion.
The real work is still in front of us. Let’s keep working together to ensure equity, community engagement, and excellence in all of our parks.