Public engagement opportunities, led by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, launch this summer to inform design of one of Pittsburgh’s last major stretches of undeveloped riverfront
PITTSBURGH, September 1, 2020 – Efforts to restore and reclaim the 1.3 mile stretch of riverfront at Hazelwood Green are taking a step forward with the launch of a master planning and public input process, led by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC). When completed, the master plan will guide the development of land along the Monongahela River at Hazelwood Green for recreational use, as well as decisions around the use and preservation of industrial heritage structures that remain at the river’s edge.
The master planning process is made possible by a grant to PEC from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), as well as matching funds from Almono LP. Pittsburgh-based Environmental Planning & Design (EPD) has been selected to lead the design process and public engagement process.
The riverfront at Hazelwood Green comprises approximately 21 acres and extends 1.3 miles, with a varied width ranging from 55 to 200 feet. It includes the largest collection of industrial structures remaining in the City, including a Pump House, mooring cells, platforms, coal loaders and catwalks, all of which lend unique character to the space and offer opportunities to interpret and reflect on the rich history of the Hazelwood riverfront and the city of Pittsburgh. Most notably, the Hazelwood Green Riverfront Master Plan will seek to reconnect the river to the Greater Hazelwood neighborhood.
“For over a century, private industrial use of the land that is now Hazelwood Green created a barrier between the neighborhood of Hazelwood and the river, preventing residents and the public in general from accessing the riverfront,” says Todd Stern, Managing Director of U3 Advisors, development advisors for Hazelwood Green. “This master planning process is founded on the view that the riverfront is common ground. The project team will be asking for public input and feedback at each stage of design to ensure that we create an inclusive place that users of all abilities and interests can enjoy with full accommodation and sense of belonging.”
PEC, together with EPD, will begin gathering public input this fall, with the first presentation by EPD scheduled as part of the September 8 Greater Hazelwood Monthly Community Meeting, hosted by the Hazelwood Initiative. A design charrette is slated for October 15-17 (time and location TBD), surveys will be distributed, and other ways of familiarizing people with the site are being developed. Public engagement activities will be posted at www.hazelwoodgreen.com/riverfront throughout the fall and the duration of the project. An advisory committee comprising neighborhood, city, regional and site representatives will also lend guidance to the design process.
The final master plan will be submitted to PA DCNR for review by summer 2021.
Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative Chair and Advisory Committee member, Terri Shields, recently toured the riverfront with the project team. Of the riverfront’s potential, she says, “It’s an amazing location that offers everything from city views and connection to the river to economic opportunity,” adding, “The community process will be critical to ensuring that neighborhood input is not only heard but integrated throughout the entire design phase.”
The Hazelwood Green Riverfront Master Plan will also seek to transform and restore the environment of the riverfront and its ecosystem by addressing the environmental impacts of past industrialization. Additional challenges include steep gradients along much of the riverfront, existing active railroad tracks and fencing, and stormwater retention facilities.
“Connecting the Hazelwood community back to the 1.3 miles of riverfront along Hazelwood Green has been a long-standing dream of the foundations,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “As a former industrial site, the riverfront has not been accessible to the public in more than 100 years. This master planning is the first step in activating the riverfront to support outdoor recreation, public health, and local businesses along an extensive trail system that extends all the way from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.”
“The neighborhood is thirsting for opportunities to re-engage with the River, which it has been unable to access for more than a century,” says Andrew JG Schwartz, Studio Director, EPD. “Additionally, the mantra of Hazelwood Green is being a place of innovation. The 1.3 miles of riverfront presents an opportunity to blend engineering, technology, ecology, culture and recreation in innovative ways. This creative fusion will celebrate the riverfront’s legacy while developing a meaningful, soul-satisfying and funky public space that is uniquely Pittsburgh.”
The Hazelwood Green riverfront master planning process is made possible through DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation’s Environmental Stewardship Fund and the Community Conservation Partnerships Program. More information can be found at www.hazelwoodgreen.com/riverfront.
Laura Ellis / 412.952.7844 / email@example.com
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NOTE TO PRESS: Map for accessing walkable areas of the riverfront for photography or video purposes available upon request.