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High school students to maintain Three Rivers Heritage Trail near bridge

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 7:54 p.m.

Users of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail could find walking and riding the trail a little easier this winter because a team of high school students will spend some of their weekends clearing snow from the path, the project's organizers said.

The focus will be on the trail around the Hot Metal Bridge, said Nancy Schaeffer, program manager for the Student Conservation Association. She said Elizabeth Tata, president and secretary of the Laurel Foundation, suggested the idea.

Because the organization had students working at the Southside Park, off South 18th Street, it was easy enough to put snow removal on their work list.

“The kids want to work, and they want to make money,” Schaeffer said. “This will just be a little add-on.”

Soma Chatterji, 28, of Friendship, the students' team leader, said she thinks the program will be popular with the students because of its high profile.

“Something like that helps a lot of people out, and it has an immediate effect,” she said.

Any leftover money will be used to pay the students to remove invasive vines that are damaging trees along the riverfront, she said.

The Friends of the Riverfront, a nonprofit that promotes public use of the riverfronts in the Pittsburgh area, helped set up the project.

Jeff McCauley, stewardship coordinator, said the focus is on helping people who use the trail to commute to work, and it will help people who use the trail for recreation.

“It provides them a safe passage,” he said.

The Laurel Foundation is funding the project with a $5,500 grant, which pays the students minimum wage. The money is part of a larger grant for other work, Schaeffer said.

The Laurel Foundation is a Downtown-based organization that funds community projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Student Conservation Association is a national environmental leadership program.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Total Trib Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 or

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