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Brownsville historic district project completes

| Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

The National Road Heritage Corridor on Friday announced completion of the Brownsville Commercial Historic District Project.

A public meeting to review project results is planned 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Brownsville Sons of Italy, 16 Race St.

A team including Landmark Design Associates, Fourth Economy Consulting, Skelly and Loy and T&B Associates formulated a market analysis and design guidelines for the project.

The NRHC, Brownsville Borough and the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority are working toward the commercial historic district's revitalization.

The study includes a resurvey of the National Register Historic District, anticipated costs for stabilization, rehabilitation and preservation of key architectural facades.

It includes a package to encourage potential development, investment and reuse of 26 historic district buildings acquired by the redevelopment authority. Twenty-two properties formerly owned by Allegheny County residents Ernest and Marilyn Liggett were acquired by eminent domain following court action, while the other four properties were acquired through other owners, said Andrew French, authority executive director.

French said the project goal is elimination of blight and community stabilization.

The NRHC initiated the project through a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission's Keystone Historic Preservation Program.

The redevelopment authority provided $25,000 in matching funds.

Grants included $10,000 from the Fayette Community Growth Fund and $9,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, obtained through the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp. and the Blueprint Communities Committee.

Bill Callahan, historic and museum western region representative, noted that the study provided data on both marketing Brownsville's history and profiles of potential investor targets.

The effort is “clear-eyed,” Callahan said, rather than “pie-in-the-sky'” regarding challenges and investment opportunities.

The National Road Heritage Corridor managed the project.

Executive director Donna Holdorf called Brownsville a “key location on the Historic National Road,” citing the French and Indian War, development of transportation routes and riverboats, the Industrial Revolution and the era of coal and coke.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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