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Elizabeth groups promote water trail access

| Friday, May 9, 2014, 3:56 a.m.
A kayak rack will be dedicated on Saturday along Elizabeth's Monongahela River waterfront. It is part of a newfound focus on the waterfront promoted through the borough's participation in the Allegheny Together program.
Submitted by Larry Duvall
A kayak rack will be dedicated on Saturday along Elizabeth's Monongahela River waterfront. It is part of a newfound focus on the waterfront promoted through the borough's participation in the Allegheny Together program.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. for a new kayak rack at Water and Market streets along the waterfront in Elizabeth.

The Elizabeth Business District Advisory Committee and the nonprofit Friends of the Riverfront announced the event, which opens access in Elizabeth for canoes and kayaks to the Three Rivers Water Trail.

“We're at a turning point to get Elizabeth to face the river again,” said Larry Duvall, a former borough councilman serving on the advisory committee.

Mayor V. Ann Malady and state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, are scheduled speakers, with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald tentatively scheduled to appear.

“Connecting people to our riverfronts is a great economic development tool,” Duvall said. “The Elizabeth access point reflects our boating history and creates recreational opportunities offered by our three rivers to grow neighborhoods and attract new economic activity into our region.”

The borough has been a participant since 2007 in Allegheny Together, a project involving the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and Town Center Associates.

Duvall said only 50 percent of the Elizabeth business district was occupied when the borough joined Allegheny Together.

“Today 95 percent is occupied,” Duvall said.

Elizabeth was among nine municipalities brought in at the start of the project, along with Bellevue, Bridgeville, Carnegie, Coraopolis, Dormont, Stowe Township, Tarentum and Verona. In 2012 Homestead and Aspinwall were added to the project.

Friends of the Riverfront developed a system of more than 20 public access points along the area's rivers for non-motorized recreational boaters, known as the Three Rivers Water Trail.

Access points begin on the Allegheny River at Deer Creek in Harmarville and on the Ohio River at the Chestnut and Walnut street launches near the Sewickley Bridge.

Prior to Saturday's event in Elizabeth the southernmost Mon-Yough access point has been the Port Vue ramp launch off Atlantic Avenue across the Youghiogheny River from the Marina at McKees Point.

Further downstream a ramp launch is located at Braddock and a beach launch at Duck Hollow where Nine Mile Run flows into the Mon, across the river from the Steel Valley Waterfront.

Organizers said major support for the Elizabeth Three Rivers Water Trail access was provided by Allegheny Regional Asset District, the borough of Elizabeth, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Elizabeth Area Revitalization Corp. and Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.

Organizers encourage attendees to bring kayaks and canoes to the Elizabeth event and paddle the Mon following the ceremony. Light refreshments will be provided.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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