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Penn Hills supports 'Allegheny Blueway' trail

| Saturday, April 25, 2015, 3:46 p.m.
Penn Hills council supports the development of the “Allegheny Blueway” riverfront trail.
by Kelsey Shea
Penn Hills council supports the development of the “Allegheny Blueway” riverfront trail.
Penn Hills council supports the development of the “Allegheny Blueway” riverfront trail.
By Kelsey Shea
Penn Hills council supports the development of the “Allegheny Blueway” riverfront trail.

Eastern suburban communities are coming together with the vision of a trail that would run along the eastern shore of the Allegheny River and connect five communities.

Penn Hills council voted to formally support the riverfront trail project by passing a resolution at the April 20 council meeting. Verona officials also passed an ordinance in support of the project at their April 14 council meeting.

“We've found that trails have a tremendous (positive) economic impact and high usage,” Friends of the Riverfront executive director Thomas Baxter said. “We want all riverfront communities to have these advantages.”

The proposed trail would connect the communities of Penn Hills, Plum, Verona, Oakmont and New Kensington on the east side of the river to the Pittsburgh Zoo in the city of Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood and would include points for river access.

Organizers said the trail possibly would include areas of O'Hara, Aspinwall, Blawnox, Harmar, Cheswick and Springdale Township on the western shore of the river, as well.

Organizers of the trail, referred to as the Allegheny Blueway, hope to obtain similar resolutions of support from other neighboring communities.

Penn Hills Mayor Anthony DeLuca said that by passing an ordinance in support of the project, municipalities are making no financial commitment to the project. The project largely would be funded by grants he said.

Penn Hills planning director Chris Blackwell said representatives from each community have been meeting once a month since the beginning of the year to discuss funding options, plans

“There's no money on the table yet,” Blackwell said. “We're working out the trail alignment and who the partners would be.”

He said the project is being assisted by Friends of the Riverfront, a nonprofit organization working with county to place riverfront trails on both sides of Pittsburgh's three rivers.

“The big plan is getting the communities all together in a solid effort and get focused on what we want,” Blackwell said.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7845 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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