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Water, Land, Life
WPC enewsletter

December 2010

Huntington Bank Saves WPC's "Welcome Garden" at the Fort Pitt Tunnels

For more than a decade, the "Welcome Garden" at Pittsburgh's Fort Pitt Tunnel has set the stage for a dramatic entry into the city through the tunnel. This massive, highly visible garden faced closure in 2011, however, due to lack of corporate sponsorships and other forms of support.

A new sponsorship from Huntington Bank has rescued this garden. On November 23, officials from the Allegheny County, Huntington Bank and the Conservancy celebrated the continuance of the garden - now called the Huntington Welcome Garden - during an event at the Conservancy's office in Pittsburgh and at the garden site, where new evergreen trees were planted.

"The Huntington Welcome Garden symbolizes so much of what is great about Pittsburgh: It is a friendly city and a revitalizing 'green' city that has become an inspiration for other urban centers worldwide," said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. "We are grateful to Huntington for enabling the Conservancy to continue maintaining this special garden."

Located in the median of the Parkway West (Interstate 376), the Huntington Welcome Garden serves as a vibrant focal point for commuters and visitors at the inbound entrance to the Fort Pitt Tunnel - and sets the stage for the dramatic view of downtown Pittsburgh on the other end of the tunnel. The renewal of the garden takes place during 2010, the 50th anniversary year of the completion of the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

"The Huntington brand promise is to be a good neighbor, to make a significant difference in our hometowns and to invest where our customers live and work. Each day, Huntington bankers greet their customers and communities with 'Welcome to Huntington.' Now the popular Huntington Welcome will be extended to the millions of motorists who travel into our city annually," said Dave Hammer, regional president for Huntington in the Pittsburgh Region.

Established in 1998, this garden includes a 7,390-square-foot flower bed that is planted with 6,500 flowers and 45 tons of mulch. It also contains numerous shrubs, plus pear and cypress trees, and it blooms each early spring with 1,500 daffodils. More than 100 volunteers, plus WPC staff, work to plant and maintain the garden each year. The most costly and labor-intensive of the Conservancy's 140 community gardens due to its gigantic size and location, this garden had been in jeopardy in 2010 due to a sharp reduction in corporate and other funding sources. This fall, the Conservancy placed a large "Financial Sponsor Needed" sign at the garden site in order to raise awareness about this need.

In addition to supporting the Huntington Welcome Garden, Huntington Bank will sponsor the Conservancy's community gardens at The Point (Liberty Ave. and Commonwealth Street) in downtown Pittsburgh, and at Grant Street and First Ave., also downtown.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy continues to seek financial sponsors for other community gardens, which are located in 20 counties throughout Western Pennsylvania. For more information, contact Gavin Deming at 412-586-2394 or gdeming@paconserve.org.

The unveiling of the Huntington Welcome Garden sign has been covered by multiple media outlets, including the Tribune-Review, the Post Gazette, and KDKA.

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