In the course of trying to contact some local city councilmen on Friday I found out on Friday that I will not be able to start from the fountain at the Point. In fact I will not be able to start from anywhere in Point State Park.
I suppose I had just assumed that there wouldn’t be any problem starting from the point, and I think if I had just left from there myself there wouldn’t be. But after the Food Bank got involved and we talked about having a group of people for a kick-off type gathering with the local news coming to cover it, I thought that I should probably check to see if I would need a permit for such a gathering, and apparently I do.
The problem is that (not only is the fountain under construction) Point State Park is a state park and also a historic site. The manager of the park with whom I spoke (strangely the phone number for her office has a Westmoreland County area code – why the office for a park in Pittsburgh would be located in the next county over I have no idea) said that because of the park’s special status there must be 4 weeks in between events held there and since they had one in July and already have one schedule for August there’s no way I can get a permit.
I would love to have as many people as possible come to start my walk with me but realistically I don’t think the crowd will be larger than 20-30 people (I mean I realize it’s asking a lot of people to get up and come downtown st 7am on a Sunday morning). Why that would require a permit I’m not sure. I think that if I just would have done it without asking I would have been ok but since I’ve already inquired (and since it will be on the news) I think I’m stuck. I am going to try to take to the woman in charge again to see if I really need a permit or if there is anyway that I might still be able to start from the point. I am also waiting to hear back from some city councilmen, the mayor’s office, and a few state congressmen and will ask them if there might be a way to pull some strings and get me permission to start at the Point.
If that still doesn’t work out my backup plan is to start from a soup kitchen/shelter somewhere downtown. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank runs all the soup kitchen type places downtown so they’re checking into it and figuring out where the best place to start from might be. I think starting from one of these places would be a great alternative. There will still be a lot of symbolic value if I start from one of these rather than the point and with the news there it would be a great way to expose these places to the public.
So either way it things should work out nicely. I’ll keep you guys posted on the situation and let you know exactly where I’ll be starting from as soon as I know for sure. I hope to see as many of you there that morning as possible. Thanks for your continued support.