SAVING WINGFIELD PINES -- a bit of history
by Rob MacLachlan
Background: Rob MacLachlan was a member of
Board of Directors of USC CLS at the time of the land purchase and took
a leadership role in fund raising and building relationships with
partnering organizations. The following article was written
that time and discusses an interesting aspect of the fund raising.
November 18, 2001 --- USC
Citizens for Land Stewardship and Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) received a
significant boost in fundraising when Mellon Financial Corporation
agreed to purchase six Nat Youngblood paintings of scenes from the
French and Indian War for $30,000,
and in turn donate them to the Fort Pitt Museum at Point State Park.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has evaluated the
paintings and will be eagerly accepting them into the new $2,400,000
expansion of the museum in advance of the 250th anniversary of the
French and Indian War (1754-1758).
and I are
thrilled that his paintings have found a permanent public home where
they can now be enjoyed by art lovers and historians alike. And I
personally feel so thankful to have this opportunity to help save such
an ecologically important property right in the heart of our township.
their legacy of regional philanthropy, all of us should be thankful for
to step forward and serve two good causes simultaneously. The purchase
happened rather suddenly. Mellon's curator of art, Brian Lang, saw the
original Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
color article featuring the paintings and the Wingfield property and
subsequently attended our Wingfield Pines media event. Brian was
introduced to the property, became convinced of the worthiness of our
mission to preserve it, loved the paintings, met Nat Youngblood, and
then developed a proposal that culminated in Mellon's agreement to
purchase and donate the paintings.
cash infusion, we've gathered momentum and ALT now has sufficient funds
to exercise their option on the property.
The entire purchase must be completed by December 26, 2001. Allegheny
Land Trust director Roy Kraynyk moved boldly to purchase the property
despite incomplete funding. Undoubtedly, were it not for the collegial
working relationship between ALT and Citizens for Land Stewardship, the
project would not be as far along. However, CLS and ALT still have a
long way to go to raise the $230,000 needed to match the 50% funding
provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural
We need to
ALT's reliance upon foundation support is due to unanticipated cuts in
the Allegheny County budget for fiscal 2001.
Since its creation by Allegheny County in 1993, ALT received $100,000
annually from the County for land acquisition and property enhancement.
No Support was budgeted for 2001. Fortunately, there is political
support for this acquisition. County Executive, Jim Roddey wrote a
letter of strong support to each of the three foundations. Anyone who
attended our media event could see the enthusiasm of Senator Murphy and
Representatives Pippy and Maher.
It is more
ever for all of us to help fund the property purchase as best we can
and in accordance with our means. Foundations certainly have a greater
willingness to support such projects when there is evidence of
widespread community support! Those
of you who have already contributed may want to consider increasing
your donation. As an incentive and an expression of thanks, permanent
engraved plaques will be placed on the property recognizing all
“Community Conservationists”. Doners will be listed
the range of their contribution. Contributions by individuals and
organizations over $5,000 will be recognized through permanent signage
at the entrance to the property (per Pennsylvania DCNR guidelines).
Since we have yet to hear from a number of CLS members, we remain
hopeful that they too will join us in saving this beautiful, vital,
ecologically rich property. Please make a commitment by making a
USC Citizens for Land Stewardship and Allegheny Land Trust are
501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, so your contribution is federal
tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
You can see the paintings shown above at the Fort
Pitt Museum, Heinz History Center, Point State Park, Pittsburgh PA
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