Hiking and biking trail, roads open at Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Green site | TribLIVE.com

Hiking and biking trail, roads open at Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Green site

Bob Bauder
This aerial photograph shows the Hazelwood Green development on the right side of the Monongahela River. An aerial view of Hazelwood Green on the right side of the Monongahela River.

Pittsburgh’s sprawling Hazelwood Green property along the Monongahela River opened to the public Monday for the first time in more than 100 years.

Officials opened Blair Street, a $21 million thoroughfare formerly known as Signature Boulevard, providing the first public access to the 178-acre site that until the 1990s featured coke ovens and other steel making facilities operated by Jones and Laughlin Steel Co. and later LTV Steel.

Officials said the street will boost the property’s transformation from a brownfield into a green, high-tech center with space for housing, offices and recreation.

Blair Street stretches 1.2 miles along the river from Hazelwood Avenue to Second Avenue. Bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles are now permitted to cruise through the property. Visitors must stick to the street, sidewalks and a dedicated bicycle route and should not venture into the busy construction site, officials said.

“The significance of this is if you’re a Hazelwood resident that street has not been open in forever,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, who represents the neighborhood. “Hazelwood residents now have access to a part of their neighborhood that they never had. We think it will also create a domino effect where more buildings will be built and more jobs will be created on that site.”

The property formerly known as Almono is owned by Almono LP, consisting of the Richard King Mellon and Benedum foundations and the Heinz Endowments.

Rebecca Flora, the project manager, said visitors must observe a detour at the northern end near Second Avenue that directs them to use a canopied sidewalk passing beneath a railroad overpass.

“Today was the official opening of the public street allowing for public access through the Hazelwood Green site,” Flora said. “It’s always been a closed mill site. People can now drive, bike, walk and take a bus through the site and see what’s happening here and have full access on the site for the first time in probably a century.”

A 1.9-mile dedicated bicycle route known as Hazelwood Trail that parallels Blair Street provides a direct connection from Hazelwood to Eliza Furnace, Three Rivers Heritage and Great Allegheny Passage trails. The Port Authority of Allegheny County has agreed to route its 57 Hazelwood bus line through the property.

The Regional Industrial Development Corp. is currently constructing buildings under the steel skeleton of a former rolling mill known as Mill 19. That portion of the property is busy with ongoing construction and heavy machinery.

Tenants will include Catalyst Connections, a nonprofit that provides consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania; Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative and Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, a nonprofit closely aligned with CMU.

Almono plans in 2019 to continue connecting the property to existing Hazelwood streets, finish Hazelwood Trail and open a public plaza near Mill 19.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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