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New Ken: Riverfront development

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Letter to the Editor
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

I have been involved in initiating four zoning ordinances for the city of New Kensington in the past 16 years. I have a degree in real estate and have done graduate work in commercial real estate analysis. Many of these courses dealt with the highest and best uses for land and their alternatives.

I propose New Kensington give serious consideration to rezoning for riverfront development and other commercial districts. Approximately 27,000 cars per day pass through the Parnassus Triangle and approximately 17,000 cars cross the Ninth Street Bridge daily. Industrial Boulevard has been reconfigured to handle additional traffic. Rezoning would strengthen Parnassus.

The area of Point State Park and Gateway Center was an industrial slum 65 years ago. Good planning, however, made them a source of Pittsburgh pride. Planning has helped development on the North Side. The commercial projects on the South Side and in Homestead are prime examples of old industrial uses being changed by riverfront development. There is proposed riverfront development for the Strip District.

The Edgewater development in Oakmont is the most recent example of converting an industrial riverfront property into a higher and better use. I envision the same for New Kensington — waterfront and public access, along with commercial, entertainment, office and residential uses. I know a lot of people from New Kensington, Arnold and Lower Burrell who take advantage of what Pittsburgh offers.

Our point of view needs to be that these results will occur over a 20- to 30-year period because that's what history has shown us. A great reference is the North Shore Master Plan developed for Pittsburgh in 2002.

Marvin Birner

New Kensington

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