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Plan provides glimpse of future for former Pittsburgh Cut Flower site in Richland

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A fishing pier, café and solar farm with recharging stations — “parking pods” — for electric cars could be coming to the grimy, overgrown former site of Pittsburgh Cut Flower Co. in Richland.

An amphitheater, hops garden and dek hockey court also appear on Allegheny Land Trust's new “conceptual master plan' for the 180-acre property along Bakerstown Road.

The tentative plan illustrates how the land trust might configure and use the acreage, based on suggestions by people who attended two public forums held earlier this year.

The trust hopes to soon buy the land for $1.4 million from Legacy Landings, LLC., the site's current owners.

“Our closing date is June 17,” said Chris Beichner, executive director of Allegheny Land Trust.

But cleanup of the site, and its asbestos-contaminated greenhouses, remains incomplete, which likely will delay the anticipated sale.

“We're working on an amendment to the contract,” Beichner said, referring to Allegheny Land Trust's sales agreement with Legacy Landings, LLC.

Allegheny Land Trust also needs more money to buy the land, which it plans to use for permanent recreation and limited economic development.

To purchase the property, Allegheny Land Trust wants area residents and businesses to contribute about 10 percent — about $140,000 — of the land's price.

Allegheny Land Trust needs that $140,000 to help match — dollar-for-dollar — a promised $509,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The trust also plans to use a $300,000 gift from the Colcom Foundation to help match the proposed $509,000 grant.

Allegheny Land Trust already has approximately $1.2 million in funds committed for the $1.4 million land buy.

That $1.2 million sum includes about $50,000 in community dollars collected between August 2012 and April 2013. That $50,000 includes money generated by prize giveaways, a luminaria sale and donations from individuals.

“We still need to raise $90,000,” Beichner said last week.

To raise the additional community funds, Allegheny Land Trust launched its current Pittsburgh Cut Flower Champions Matching Fund drive on May 1.

The campaign already has raised $25,000 contributed by the following people, groups and firms: Northern Area Environmental Council, Mid-Atlantic Environmental Consultants, Hough's Tavern and Brew Pub, Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center, Richland Sportsman Association, Controlled Environmental Systems, Moore Design Associates, and Brenda and Steve Schlotterbeck.

“The community has so much to gain from Allegheny Land Trust's plans for the property, to celebrate the site's history, to preserve the best natural land, and to recycle blighted land into something that the community needs and be proud of,” Beichner said.

To join contributors to the Pittsburgh Cut Flower Champions Matching Fund, call 412-741-2750, ext. 203 or visit the Allegheny Land Trust's online site:www.alleghenylandtrust.org.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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