Avonmore is close to completing a $100,000 upgrade at the Pasternak Recreation Area along the Kiski River and Railroad Avenue.
A longtime canoe launch in the Kiski River, the Pasternak Recreation Area now has a trail along its pond — a formerly grown-over, somewhat hidden borough reservoir — along with a fishing pier, increased parking, a gazebo, another pavilion and more. The facilities along the pond are handicapped accessible, meeting standards set by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Project costs are being covered by an $80,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and $20,000 from the borough, according to Avonmore Councilman T.J. Bellotti.
“The general idea is to have a feature that is unique in Avonmore and in the Kiski River Valley,” he said.
While a number of small towns dot the banks of the Kiski, each has its own personality and offerings, Bellotti said.
“We have a place along the river that is serene and quiet,” Bellotti said. “It’s a place where people can rent a gazebo, camp or have a wedding in a natural setting.”
The borough wants to continue to develop the recreation area named for the former owners of the site, which used to be a farm.
It’s one of the few sites along the Kiski River that allows paddlers to camp overnight in a primitive camping area, which is managed by the Avonmore Community Association.
Bellotti expects that more anglers might stop by the pond, which is restricted from swimming or wading, but is filled with bluegill and smallmouth bass.
The long-term vision is to install a “natural” playground for kids that could include elements such as logs, big rocks and plants, and to restore the one-mile nature loop at the reserve, Bellotti said.
The borough also wants to position the park as a destination for cyclists and others who use the Roaring Run Trail, which ends in the Edmond section of Bell Township, and trails in Saltsburg.
Avonmore is part of the estimated five-mile missing link between the two popular trails. The proposed Avonmore portion of the trail is still on the drawing board as organizers are considering easements and securing land, which will determine the trail route, according to Bellotti.
Among the final tasks for the pond portion of the reserve is the installation of a small footbridge over the spillway near the new gazebo.
Bellotti expects that rentals of the gazebo and new pavilion will begin next summer.
To learn more, visit the Avonmore Community Association’s Facebook page or call the borough at 724-697-4415.