TribLive: Aspinwall Riverfront Park opens new welcome center

| Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 1:24 p.m.

The former Aspinwall Marina reopened May 17 as an ADA-accessible welcome center for the Aspinwall Riverfront Park.

Nearly $600,000 in renovations were paid through a donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and others.

Work brings restrooms and event space to the community park for the first time.

“The welcome center enhances the park’s social environment, providing space to offer programming and other public or private events under roof,” said Susan Crookston, who spearheaded the $2.3 purchase of the park land six years ago.

The space will be used for entertainment, classes and theater, and can be rented for weddings, private parties and meetings.

Trish Klatt, president of the Aspinwall Riverfront Park board of directors, said the goal is to add features that provide better river access and more recreational opportunities.

The property was once a mostly undeveloped private marina that did not grant residents access to the waterfront, Klatt said.

With a total investment of nearly $10 million to date from organizations such as the Burke Family Foundation, Hillman Foundation, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Grable Foundation, Colcom Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and others, the park’s ecosystem inspired its development into a community place focusing on how water shapes the lives of western Pennsylvania residents, according to board members.

In addition to restrooms, the center has kitchen space and a place to learn about the river and native plants. Rental prices vary.

With boating season underway, the park is renting its docks for boats up to 30 feet. Venture Outdoors rents kayaks to the public.