Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Allegheny Regional Asset District, and UPMC Health Plan has launched a co-branded effort, Parks Are Free, and a related website to encourage city residents to get out to the more than 2,000 acres and 33 trail miles of city park spaces.
"The City of Pittsburgh boasts a phenomenal park system which is a key element of what makes Pittsburgh America's most livable city," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "This summer a lot of families are trying to save money so it's the perfect time to take advantage of our parks – they're close by, in great shape and they're free."
"There is no better place to relax, exercise, or spend time with family than in these green gems that are so well-placed throughout the city," said Meg Cheever, president and CEO of the Parks Conservancy. "Our goal with this campaign is to draw even more people into the parks and establish a pattern of use and appreciation for these assets that really are the envy of many major cities."
More than 200 free events planned for this summer can be found on the new user-friendly website, www. parksarefree.com, which was created by the group to make it easy for residents to locate all that is going on in the parks in one place. The site acts as a portal to a calendar of events on the Parks Conservancy site with links to other popular summer activities on the Citiparks website. The online calendar includes free and fee-based activities presented by Citiparks, the Parks Conservancy and many other organizations. The site will work in conjunction with Citiparks' annual Summer Magazine publication, which includes information about events, activities and facilities in the parks.
An example of upcoming free activities on the calendar is the WYEP Summer Music Festival in Schenley Plaza on June 26.
The Regional Asset District is the major funder of the city's four regional parks. David L. Donahoe, executive director of the Allegheny Regional Asset District, said, "Our parks and trails provide no-cost recreation that is essential to our region's vitality. From active sports to quiet nature observation, our parks and trails provide great spaces for healthy minds and bodies. RAD is pleased to be a part of encouraging the public to get out and use their great parks."
The summer-long campaign is being sponsored by UPMC Health Plan.