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Aspinwall crafting survey about Eastern Avenue reconstruction

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, March 9, 2017, 8:57 a.m.
Carol Huff and Heth Turnquist of Aspinwall talk to Mosites representative Mark Minnerly about their concerns over making Eastern Avenue an entrance to the company's proposed Riverfront 47 commercial development during a council meeting Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Carol Huff and Heth Turnquist of Aspinwall talk to Mosites representative Mark Minnerly about their concerns over making Eastern Avenue an entrance to the company's proposed Riverfront 47 commercial development during a council meeting Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Aspinwall council on Wednesday night said it will develop a survey to gauge support for the reconstruction of Eastern Avenue, a proposal that has drawn ire from hundreds of residents in recent months.

President Joe Noro said the survey will be presented at council's April 5 meeting. Council meets at 7 p.m. in the municipal office along Commercial Avenue.

The road design is proposed by developers The Mosites Co., which is looking to an expanded Eastern Avenue as a shared access to Aspinwall Riverfront Park and its commercial development, Riverfront 47.

The Mosites Co. has not presented a formal plan for the development but believes Eastern Avenue would be the safest entrance to the campus of proposed townhomes, stores and light industry. It has pledged to donate a piece of land for a bike trail in return.

Mosites reached a milestone Wednesday in what it called “an emerging community partnership.” The company reached an agreement with VRAM LLC, the owners of the Sunoco station at the corner of Freeport Road and Eastern Avenue, to buy the property. Demolition of the station would be required as part of the reconstruction of Eastern Avenue.

The agreement is in anticipation of further study of access to the planned development, said Mark Minnerly, Mosites director of real estate.

Having an agreement to buy the Sunoco property will enable Eastern Avenue access to move forward if it is determined that it is the best alternative by the borough, Minnerly said.

“Together, working as a true community partnership, we will address issues like traffic, and have already begun a conversation that could lead to improved access points to and from Route 28, as well as other changes that could potentially improve traffic flow throughout the community,” he said.

More than 100 residents, many dressed in yellow “Anti-Eastern” T-shirts, attended the meeting Wednesday to learn more about the survey. It has been requested by residents for several months.

Noro appointed three council members, Jen Evashavik, Ann Marsico and Tim McLaughlin, to develop the community poll prior to next month's meeting.

There were no details released on how the survey would be distributed or paid for.

Resident Dave Brown suggested that The Mosites Co. should pay at least a portion of the estimated $3,000 cost.

Noro said previously that results would not be collected electronically in order to help keep fraud at bay.

He said it is possible the surveys could be mailed to residents who are registered to vote with the Allegheny County Department of Elections.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Herald staff writer. Reach her at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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