Share This Page

Effort to open Allegheny River locks moving forward slowly

| Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:01 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
The lock at Templeton on the Allegheny River near Mossgrove Campground is one four which a group is trying to have reopened for recreational boats this summer. Thursday April 24, 2014

A nonprofit is mired within bureaucratic channels that are making it unclear whether its efforts to reopen four locks to recreational boaters along the upper Allegheny River will succeed before summer.

The Allegheny River Development Corp. has been working for more than a year with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a program that would allow the ARDC to operate the locks for 560 hours a season. The ARDC would need to raise $150,000 a year to pay for operation of the locks.

But getting the pilot program out of the docks has been a process slower than ARDC board members had anticipated.

“It's so cumbersome, said Linda Hemmes, ARDC board president. “I feel like I'm walking in concrete boots in a bog.”

The proposal is at the Corps of Engineers headquarters in Washington and must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget and the Senate and House appropriations committees. Once it receives preliminary approval, it will go back to these groups for final approval.

The proposal calls for Armstrong County to be a pass-through agency that would handle the money the ARDC would pay to the Corps for operating the locks, but the county has no financial or other interest in the proposal.

The ARDC has requested that the Corps consider at least 14 days of operation — which include dates involving the Allegheny River Poker Run, summer festivals and free concerts — even if the pilot proposal does not receive approval before these events.

While waiting for approval, ARDC wants to raise $100,000 in the next few months to pay for operation of the locks during those 14 days it has requested they be opened.

Raffle tickets to win a 22-foot pontoon boat with a motor and trailer are available throughout the county for $20 a ticket. The drawing is tentatively set for Aug. 23.

ARDC board members hope to raise additional funds during a fundraising event on June 6 in the Baja Bar and Grill at Fox Chapel Yacht Club — which will include a poker run, a 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction. The cost of admission to the fundraiser has not been determined. Hemmes said ARDC members, and those belonging to Fox Chapel and Oakmont yacht clubs, will have an opportunity to buy the first 500 tickets to the event. After that, additional tickets will be available to the general public.

“I feel confident that we'll have well over $100,000 in place by July,” Hemmes said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.