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Duquesne street to get facelift

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 5:06 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Mayor Phil Krivacek and city manager Frank Piccolino III survey the W. Grant Avenue area where a state Community Infrastructure and Tourism grant will fund a beautification project.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
City manager Frank Piccolino III and Mayor Phil Krivacek review sketches of the planned Duquesne Gateway Improvements project that will take place in coming months.

Duquesne is using state funds to improve its curb appeal and give a better first impression to businesses that may want to set up shop along the city's W. Grant Avenue corridor.

With a $200,000 Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant, Duquesne has taken on a City Gateway Improvements project that includes the demolition of existing islands and curbs along W. Grant Avenue from Route 837 to N. First Street. The islands and sidewalks will be rebuilt and landscaped with new trees, flowers and grass. The project will be accented by new light fixtures and a seat wall.

“This is our front door,” city manager Frank Piccolino III said. “This is a building block in Duquesne's Grant Avenue plan.”

A steering committee of five residents came together in 2011 to develop a comprehensive plan for development of the W. Grant Avenue corridor from Route 837 to Aurilles Street, Piccolino explained.

While the overall project will be a collaboration between the city, its redevelopment authority and its downtown business authority in coming years, the first wave of funded construction will begin in coming months.

An initial $25,000 was spent working with the Trafford-based Richard P. Rauso Landscape Architects to design an attractive, affordable entranceway to Duquesne's downtown business district. City council awarded a $151,100 bid to the Penn Hills-based Palombo Landscaping during Wednesday's council meeting.

“Duquesne, like many communities, cannot get these projects completed without outside help,” Mayor Phil Krivacek said. “We need assistance from the county, state and federal governments to do this kind of work.”

State Sen. James R. Brewster, who facilitated the CITF grant, said he is happy that Duquesne received funds.

“It's important. It's a great help to their city,” Brewster said. “Hopefully this project will bring more opportunities to generate revenue so that they can continue to rebuild.”

In order for an economically distressed community such as Duquesne to get back on its feet by attracting a tax base of new residents and businesses, Krivacek said, it's important for the community to illustrate that it has something to offer.

“This is the main corridor of the city of Duquesne,” Krivacek said. “Improving this entranceway to the city is the beginning of a project that can help us. We want to continue working up Grant Avenue block by block. This area has to look good if we want to attract people to our downtown.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956. or