Women Of Influence Career Achievement: Meg Cheever, Savior Of City Parks

MAR 15, 2018 

Pittsburgh Business Times

Meg Cheever’s story is a story of rejuvenation and revitalization.

 At the beginning of the 20th century, Pittsburgh was recognized as having one of the most vibrant and successful city park systems in the country, even the world. Those parks were created as a result of money that flowed into the area during the Industrial Revolution and the largesse of wealthy benefactors like Henry Clay Frick and Mary Schenley, who in 1889 donated the land that would become Schenley Park.

But the city’s park system received less and less attention through the Depression and especially after World War II, with the advent of the automobile, a national highway system and increased interest in suburban living. As a result, it began to decay, and by the 1980s, may city parks had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Enter Cheever, who was determined to bring them back to their former state of grandeur. An attorney by training, Cheever had been working as the publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine in the 1980s when she first became interested in city parks.

“Toward the end of my tenure as publisher of Pittsburgh Magazine, I just happened to read an article in the New York Times about the Central Park Conservancy in New York,” she said. “I had never heard of the organization before. They had raised $300 million, a huge amount of money. They hadn’t completely restored the park yet, but they had taken action, and it was clear they were on their way.”

Cheever set her sights on doing the same thing for Schenley Park, and that effort led to the creation of a private-public collaboration that has raised more than $100 million of outside funding in the past two decades for parks across the city... Read the full article