City works to identify trail improvements
Pashek Associates is developing a Connellsville Gateway to Gateway Master Plan to identify trail improvements and economic development opportunities for Connellsville as a Trail Town.
Jim Pashek of the Pittsburgh firm presented an outline of the master plan to city council at its regular meeting last week.
Cathy McCollom with the Progress Fund said the Gateway to Gateway plan was funded by the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources matched by a Department of Community and Economic Development grant with the city, Connellsville Township and South Connellsville.
Pashek said Gateway to Gateway extends along the Great Allegheny Passage through Connellsville, from its northern to southern border, with special emphasis on developing Crawford Avenue as a "Main Street," enhancing the trail experience, improving the local economy and increasing the quality of life for both Connellsville residents and users of the trails.
"Towns along the trail are seeing economic opportunities," Pashek said. The planning process has taken about a year, with Pashek and others talking to stake holders in the community and coordinating it with the Multi-Municipal Comprehensive Plan for the City of Connellsville, Connellsville Township and South Connellsville Borough, which is in draft form, as well as downtown plans and trail linkage, such as the Coal & Coke Trail and an inter-city loop trail. "We want to engage and blend all recommendations."
The draft master plan has been completed.
He said the plan brings the city "one step closer to achieving some of these goals."
Pashek discussed several broad recommendations:
• Strengthening Crawford Avenue as a "Main Street" by concentrating commercial and mixed-use redevelopment and facade improvements within a few blocks of the Third Street bike lanes.
• Strengthening the residential area north of Crawford Avenue by residential redevelopment, historic restoration and new park development.
• Creating bicycle gateways, one at the north and one at the south entrance on the Great Allegheny Passage. Pashek said attractive kiosks providing information already exist at the north gateway and at Yough River Park. The south gateway needs a kiosk.
• Improving the vehicular gateways at Route 119 and Pittsburgh Street and Route 119 and Crawford Avenue to welcome visitors and direct them downtown and toward trail access.
• Improving the streetscape on Crawford Avenue to encourage a safe environment for cyclists and pedestrians.
• Creating bicycle plazas. Pashek said a plaza on Crawford Avenue and Third Street could provide a safe place to store bikes and equipment while visiting downtown. A plaza also could provide air and a bike wash.
• Employing environmental sustainable design and construction solutions to protect the environment and improve the quality of life.
• Providing bike loops to connect commercial activities.
Pashek said converting Torrance Avenue to bike lanes at Yough River Park would continue the park atmosphere to Third Street.
At Third and Crawford, streetscape improvements could involve mixed-use development and extra parking, in addition to the bike plaza.
At Third Street, he described a master plan with the triangular city-owned park transformed into a commons with more parking added.
At South First and Third streets, near Head Start, Pashek described greening and an overlook. If permission from the property holder can be obtained, "When it's time to redo the street, shrink it and add rain gardens at the building. Enhance the overlook to the river."
He also suggested adding a second decorative arch to the south end of the trail, like the arch at the north gateway.
"How in the world do you do all this?" Pashek asked. He said not to expect everything to be done in nine months. Some aspects may not be completed for 20 years, and goals may change.
He suggested seeking funding for some goals, but said not much funding will be available in the near future, because of the past budget impasse and general economic conditions.
The DCNR will require council to adopt a resolution in January indicating that the plan has been completed.
"I think it's wonderful," Mayor Judy Reed said. "Thanks to all the opportunities from DCED and DCNR. It's taken nine years and now we're eligible for funding because we've got a plan."
A public breakfast meeting to discuss the Gateway to Gateway Master Plan will take place at 9 a.m. Nov. 3 at the Connellsville Cultural Trust, 502 S. Pittsburgh St.
Show commenting policy
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.