Dormont Council plans to take action next week regarding the Pitcher Park issue, but the action won’t involve voting for or against the proposed skate park.
Instead, council plans to vote on at least three motions that could help bring order to what council President Bill McCartney called a “horrible conundrum.”
The first would be to advertise an ordinance to ratify the April 5, 2010 motion passed by the previous council members, as well as the resulting Memorandum of Understanding for the multi-use park proposed by the Pitcher Park Foundation.
Solicitor Deron Gabriel provided a legal opinion regarding the borough’s responsibility to the Pitcher Park Foundation earlier this month. But Councilwoman Laurie Malka said she wanted council to get another legal opinion on the matter before any decisions were made.
“Just in reading the information, there are a lot of questions about some of the comments that were made in the opinion letter,” she said. “I think we have to get a totally new opinion from another person.”
The second motion would be to appoint a committee of between six and 10 borough citizens to develop and propose alternatives to the Pitcher Park Foundation’s plan. Council President Bill McCartney said the wording of that motion likely would change, but that he wanted to propose something along those lines.
“My thinking, and clearly this would be up to many people, including the Pitcher Park Foundation, is that we’ve gotten ourselves into a horrible conundrum that we’ve got to try to find our way out of,” McCartney said. “All we’re going to end up with is a divided community, that goes about it’s way, angry at each other, and it’s time for us … to try to act like adults and try to find some way out of this. I think we can do that.”
McCartney said he wanted the citizen committee to be made up of people representing both sides, but excluding the “lightening rod” people—those who have been most vocal either for or against Pitcher Park. A resident who spoke during the meeting told McCartney he thought it was unfair to exclude those people, many of whom he said had constructive ideas regarding the park. No decision about the citizens group has been made.
McCartney also suggested alternatives based on the 1999 comprehensive plan for Dormont Park could be considered.
The 1999 park plan included ideas for a skate park and skateboard ramps, as well as a sand volleyball court, children’s play areas, batting cages and several other things. As Councilman John Maggio pointed out during the meeting, not all ideas in the plan—including that for a skate park—were indicated as a top need, based on citizen surveys done at the time.
The final motion council plans to consider next week—proposed by Councilwoman Joan Hodson—would set a policy outlining the steps that should be taken by any individual person or organization wanting to make a donation to the borough or to any borough organization.
“We don’t want to discourage any type of donation given to this borough,” Hodson said. “All groups, every organization that wants to donate to this borough will follow the same policy and guidelines. There will be no favoritism given to any one specific group when it comes to making a donation to this borough.”
The next Dormont Council meeting is March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Dormont Recreation Center above Dormont pool.