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Riverview Park’s shelter rededicated with emphasis on history

By Rick Wills
Sunday, June 8, 2008 

Riverview Park’s Chapel Shelter has a brand-new look that, well, looks old.”It really never looked like this before,” said Christine Dixon, who lives in Observatory Hill and has rented the shelter several times for family reunions.

The 114-year-old shelter, which was renovated over the past 2 1/2 years, was rededicated on Saturday during Riverview Park Heritage Day, which included a parade, pony rides, a pie-eating contest and tours of Allegheny Observatory, which sits on the grounds. The dedication ceremony included the release of several dozen doves.

The shelter had been built as a church and was moved to the park in 1894. The renovation work replicated dormers and the steeple.

“It went through years of dilapidation. The work on it has been outstanding,” said Richard Reed, chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, one of the project’s major sponsors and funders.The $1.2 million renovation updated restrooms and added ramps to make the building handicapped accessible.

“The building looks great. It’s wonderful to have it rehabilitated,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who grew up next to the park, which offers sweeping vistas of the city.

“This is my park. I think it’s overlooked compared to the other three large city parks,” he said.

The project was funded by the Regional Asset District, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the city of Pittsburgh.

“This is an example of good things happening on the North Side. Our parks are the most democratic space in this city,” said Darlene Harris, a Pittsburgh City Council member whose district includes the park.



Rick Wills can be reached at or 724-779-7123. 


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