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Technology trumps train at Ross Park Mall this holiday season

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

A holiday ride-along train for children will not return to Ross Park Mall this year, because the mall is replacing its old winter décor with a $250,000 display that features iPads loaded with holiday-themed games, mall officials said.

“We've made this big investment and we hope the community likes it. We certainly are excited about it,” said mall Manager Lisa Earl, who said the mall has been trying to get a new décor package for years. The old display is 14 years old, she said.

The leased train had been part of the Ross mall's holiday display for about seven years, mall spokesman Michael Gianoutsos said.

The “experiential” display will include a sleigh on which Santa Claus will sit, stations with iPads with holiday-themed game apps for children, and a towering Christmas tree in the center court, according to the mall.

Holiday lights will be on the upper and lower levels of the common area, Earl said. The new configuration could not accommodate the train, she said.

The new display was custom-made by Studio Artefact, a Montreal-based company.

The holiday décor will be revealed Monday and remain in place until the first week of January, Earl said. Santa will arrive Nov. 8.

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. owns Ross Park Mall on McKnight Road and South Hills Village, which is on Route 19 in Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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