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Mosites introduces Sharpsburg residents to Riverfront 47 plans

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Chris Minnerly of the Mosites Company answered questions for Sharpsburg residents regarding future development along the Allegheny River during a workshop on Sept. 27, 2017.
Tawnya Panizzi | Tribune-Review
Chris Minnerly of the Mosites Company answered questions for Sharpsburg residents regarding future development along the Allegheny River during a workshop on Sept. 27, 2017.

Development of the Riverfront 47 site in Sharpsburg and Aspinwall hinges on access to the shoreline property.

A public workshop that the Mosites Company hosted Wednesday night introduced Sharpsburg residents to the developers' vision to bring housing, light industry and boutique shopping to the 1.5-mile-long piece of land along the Allegheny River.

“Right now, we're trying to figure out how to make things happen,” Chris Minnerly of Mosites said.

He shared a slide show with more than 55 people who packed the meeting room at the Sharpsburg Community Library, and said much of what's to come depends on how accessible the property becomes.

Sharpsburg and Riverfront 47 jointly have applied for a $3 million grant to improve 19th Street, which is pegged as an entrance to the commercial development.

The grant application is through PennDOT's Multimodal Transportation program, and approval is in limbo pending resolution of the state budget.

If arrangements are made for access, work could begin within two years, Minnerly said.

Mosites hopes a main entrance to the site could be designed during PennDOT's planned upgrades to the Highland Park Bridge. Another entrance could be along Brilliant Avenue in Aspinwall.

Some of the audience members asked how the improvements to 19th Street might affect their neighborhood. Would the roads be wider? Will noise increase?

Resident Brian Kozera asked if any Main Street properties would be subject to eminent domain during the expansion of 19th Street. Minnerly said he wouldn't expect that to happen.

Early R47 plans called for more than 500 housing units, retail shopping, a village square and a connection to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Minnerly said plans are evolving, and there is no final draft ready to present to Sharpsburg and Aspinwall councils.

“We are looking at roads and infrastructure and all the things that need to be in place before we can even think about what might be built there,” Minnerly said.

Sharpsburg Councilman Matt Rudzki wondered what the grand vision is for the property.

Developers want to return the river's edge to the community and create a unique district where people want to live, shop and visit, Minnerly said.

Aspinwall resident Karen Hart asked if Sharpsburg streets could handle what she believed would be 3,000 extra vehicles a day resulting from the added homes and businesses.

Mosites is working with PennDOT to conduct traffic studies that ensure the roads can handle additional traffic, Minnerly said.

“Our goal is to make it an experience,” Minnerly said. “We want there to be houses and meeting places and bike trails. We want the arrival to be fun and cool and have things going on.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review.

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