Juneteenth celebration to be held at Point State Park, city of Pittsburgh opts not to sponsor event

PITTSBURGH — Point State Park is now confirmed as the location of the only Juneteenth celebration that’s been announced in Pittsburgh. But the organizer told Channel 11 News that for the first time, the city has opted not to sponsor the annual event.

“As far as the festival is going, it’s a go,” said William Marshall the event organizer.

On Friday, Marshall told Channel 11 News he hadn’t yet secured Point State Park, despite hosting the event there since 2018.

“We had some issues with the Point that we kind of resolved now, we are still having some issues with the city that we are working to resolve,” Marshall said.

The state needed additional safety plans. Marshall complied and Point State Park is now secured, but Marshall said unfortunately that was the first of many roadblocks.

“Since 2014 the City of Pittsburgh has been a strong supporter of the Juneteenth Celebration, but for some reason last year, Mayor Gainey decided that he wanted to have his own separate Juneteenth celebration. We don’t know why,” Marshall said.

We first told you Friday, when the city revealed it would be sponsoring a separate Juneteenth event.

The city’s website shows it budgeted $2 million for a Juneteenth event.

On Monday, Marshall told Channel 11 News the city rescinded their financial sponsorship for his celebration.

“Last year the city made a big announcement that they were giving us $250,000 towards the Juneteenth celebration, $125,000 was supposed to go towards 2023, and $125,000 was supposed to go 2024. But for some reason the city took back the 125,000 for 2024,” Marshall said.

Channel 11 News asked the city if this was true, they did not answer directly but provided this statement instead:

“Last year, the City made the decision and announcement that we will have a process of how taxpayers dollars are awarded, therefore private organizers must bid through the RFP process for funding.”

“All I can say is we want the city’s involvement, but if they decide they want to do something different, we can’t stop them,” Marshall explained.

Marshall confirmed that despite the city pulling their initial sponsorship, he did apply for the public RFP. An awardee was to be named on April 30, but the city confirmed a decision has not been made.

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