After 21 years of leadership and $100 million raised for parks restoration, Meg Cheever will step down as Founding President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in March of 2018. Cheever has led the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy – a nationally-recognized non-profit that works to improve and enhance Pittsburgh’s parks through an official partnership with the City of Pittsburgh – since its inception in 1996. A search committee is being formed by the Parks Conservancy’s board of directors to conduct a national search for Cheever’s successor.
“As much as any private citizen, Meg Cheever has improved the quality of daily life for Pittsburghers,” said Dan Booker, Chairman, Parks Conservancy board of directors. “Her creation of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and its success under her management in spearheading and completing high quality new park facilities and park renovations are remarkable achievements. Meg will be leaving us well positioned - and inspired - to continue and build on her commitment to the improvement of all Pittsburgh's parks."
Cheever founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996, leading a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions in Pittsburgh's historic city parks. Under Cheever’s tenure, the Parks Conservancy has completed 17 major park projects, including the new Frick Environmental Center, designed to meet LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge environmental certification standards, and serve as the platform for the Conservancy’s environmental education programs. The Conservancy is active in 22 regional, community and neighborhood parks.
In addition to the opening of the Frick Environmental Center, the Hill District’s August Wilson Park, and the major renewal of the Westinghouse Memorial in Schenley Park, the past year saw Cheever establish a specialized stormwater management unit called Parkwaters. This unit pursues large-scale green infrastructure efforts to help reduce flooding, sewer backups in homes, and sewage making its way into the City’s rivers. Other major park improvement projects completed under Cheever’s leadership include Mellon Square, Highland Park Entry Garden, the Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park, and green infrastructure installations in Schenley, Highland, and Frick Parks.
"The City of Pittsburgh is very fortunate to have leaders like Meg Cheever,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “For over 20 years, the Parks Conservancy has been a great partner in our efforts to improve the extraordinary park system in Pittsburgh and I am especially grateful for Meg's commitment, dedication and inspiration. I thank Meg for her service and look forward to a new chapter of success and collaboration with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in the future."
"It’s been a privilege to serve Pittsburgh and work to protect and restore our valuable parks," said Cheever. "An excellent city park system is a key element of Pittsburgh's value proposition. Two things that make a place very desirable are excellent transportation and excellent parks and trails. That's why it's important for us to solicit both moral and financial support from every person in this region who cares about the city and its park system."
Prior to founding the Conservancy, Ms. Cheever served as publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine and as Director of Corporate Planning and General Counsel for WQED. Among her honors for her leadership of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Cheever has been named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, a regional Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015, and in 2016 was awarded the Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society’s Fred Coombs Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement.
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About Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy:
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh's historic city parks. A nonprofit organization, the Parks Conservancy works closely with the City of Pittsburgh under an official public-private partnership agreement to restore and improve the city’s park system to its full potential. Originally including Highland, Schenley, Frick, Riverview, and Emerald View Parks, the scope of the Park Conservancy’s work now includes a focus on community parks including Allegheny Commons, Arsenal Park, August Wilson Park, McKinley Park, and Mellon Park. To date, the Parks Conservancy has raised $100 million toward park improvements. The Parks Conservancy works with thousands of volunteers annually, has completed 17 major park improvement projects, and is active in 22 regional, neighborhood, and community parks.