Originally published by Tribune-Review
By Tawnya Panizzi
Aspinwall Council is considering a plan to redevelop Eastern Avenue in a way that would allow motorists and pedestrians access to the Allegheny River shoreline.
Mosites Construction & Development Co. and Aspinwall resident Susan Crookston are proposing the entrance to the riverfront. They are development partners on a project called Riverfront 47, on a 1.5-mile strip of land that stretches from Aspinwall to Sharpsburg and that for more than 100 years housed the Azcon scrap yard.
The property winds from the James Sharps Landing in Sharpsburg to the Aspinwall Riverfront Park property, for which Crookston spearheaded the $2.3 million purchase five years ago.
Her company, Allegheny Development, oversees operations of the park.
An Eastern Avenue entrance would double as an entrance to the park, whose leaders already have secured a $1.4 million grant to redesign Brilliant Avenue a few blocks away.
“We want to see if Eastern Avenue will be a better entrance to both,” Borough Manager Melissa Lang said. “Mosites has asked the park and the borough to examine a switch and use the money to make a safe entry at Eastern.”
Council is to vote on the plan during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 10.
Designs would include a traffic light and landscape reconfiguration. At this point, work would not involve the trellis that runs above the Norfolk Southern rail lines.
Crookston deferred questions to Nancy Kingsley, an Aspinwall resident and member of the Aspinwall Riverfront Park board, who has worked with the Riverfront 47 team since the acquisition of the property.
Kingsley believes that an Eastern Avenue entrance would be the safest and most convenient option.
“Access there would also be the most aesthetically pleasing, giving park-goers spectacular views of the landscape and river as they enter,” Kingsley said.
“The entrance would be beautiful and help to better connect the eastern portion of the park with the west, making the overall layout more cohesive.”
The Crookston-Mosites partnership could bring development at Riverfront 47 in a way that would change the landscape of the Lower Valley, although developers have not yet said if that means shopping, housing or nightlife.
Crookston vowed the plan will include public riverfront access.
“We want to connect people back to the river and give people more green space,” she said.
Robinson-based Mosites in recent years led the Eastside Development project in East Liberty that includes Whole Foods and Target. Overland Partners, of San Antonio, is pegged to design the project.
Environmental Planning & Design, based in downtown Pittsburgh, is working with Overland. The firm specializes in urban planning work and counts Aspinwall Riverfront Park and South Shore Riverfront Park at the SouthSide Works among its recent designs.
The original story can be found here.