Three Rivers Heritage Trail Expanding from Aspinwall Through O’Hara Township
Collaboration between Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Friends of the Riverfront and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to result in mile-long river trail connecting 3 municipalities
ASPINWALL, PA —Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Friends of the Riverfront and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) have announced plans to expand the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along a mile of riverfront, from Aspinwall Riverfront Park to O’Hara Township. Plans were approved by Pittsburgh City Council on March 18.
Since its inception 23 years ago, Friends of the Riverfront has led the creation of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail throughout the region. Friends long eyed the corridor in front of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority plant as an ideal location for trails, but conversations with previous city administrations had left the trail group resigned to the probability that the trail would need to be constructed along busy Freeport Road.
When Aspinwall Marina was purchased to become a public park, Tim Inglis of the Aspinwall Riverfront Park board of directors contacted Jim Good, PWSA interim executive director, and began conversations about creating a trail along the River that would link the Park to O’Hara, Blawnox, and the Waterworks Mall.
“Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority prides itself on quality water and service to its customers; we were committed to this project from the start because of the positive impact to the community and its alignment with our mission,” said Good. With that opening and a promise of significant funding from Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Friends of the Riverfront was able to begin designing a trail along PWSA’s property.
Even so, PWSA had to ensure that the integrity of the water supply would not be jeopardized in any way by allowing limited public access through their property. Working closely with Friends of the Riverfront and the Park, the group put together plans and spent months vetting them.
“This trail would not be happening without the extraordinary vision and leadership of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority,” said Susan Crookston who is spearheading the development of Aspinwall Riverfront Park. “We’re thrilled to be able to work with them, UPMC Lighthouse Pointe, Fox Chapel Borough, O’Hara Township and Friends of the Riverfront to make this important project happen.”
The one-mile trail will run along the river from Aspinwall through the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority property, and then it will cross UPMC’s Lighthouse Pointe retirement community and continue through O’Hara’s Chapel Harbor development.
Friends of the Riverfront will supervise construction of the new trail and hold a license agreement with the City. Aspinwall Riverfront Park is donating towards $250,000 the project through an anonymous donor whose gift is specifically allocated for this purpose. The Laurel Foundation also provided funds for the design.
“Completion of this trail will be a major accomplishment and an important link as we continue to complete interconnected trails throughout Allegheny County. PWSA’s innovation and commitment to our community and Aspinwall Riverfront Park’s funding and leadership really accelerated the timing of this project,” said Tom Baxter, Executive Director of Friends of the Riverfront. “It’s another great collaboration between a variety of committed partners from both the private and public sectors.”
The new trail will be part of the regional riverfront trail system, and will connect not only along the river, but will also link over 13 miles of trails through the O’Hara and Fox Chapel area. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority trail corridor and Aspinwall Riverfront Park are closed to the public until construction is completed later this year.
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