State Senator Randy Vulakovich and State Representative Dom Costa today announced that a $2.5 million state grant has been awarded to help fund the proposed redevelopment of a 1.5-mile section of abandoned industrial property on the north shore of the Allegheny River.
Vulakovich and Costa worked together to obtain vital state funding for the proposed Riverfront 47 project, between 13th Street and the Aspinwall Riverfront Park, which would benefit Aspinwall and Sharpsburg boroughs and O’Hara Township.
The grant was awarded through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital (RACP) program. RACP is administered by the Commonwealth’s Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.
While most of the north shore region that will benefit from the project is in Senator Vulakovich’s 38th Senatorial District, Sharpsburg (which provides the access to the site) is the only north shore community of the 42nd Senate District, represented by Senator Wayne Fontana.
That led to a collaborative effort by Senator Vulakovich and Representative Dom Costa to secure the RACP for the project grant, with the support of Senator Fontana.
The multi-phase private investment proposal included more than 50 acres of mixed-use development, restoration of the river’s edge, a missing piece of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, a hydro-electric sustainable energy plant, and storm water solutions.
“This grant builds upon and complements the state’s previous commitment to R47,” said Senator Vulakovich. “I am pleased that the state is playing such an active role in promoting and supporting this mixed-use development project, which will bring renewed vibrancy to the riverfront and stimulate economic growth in neighboring communities as well.”
On November 14, the Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded a $1.5 million Multimodal Transportation Fund Program grant and a $250,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant to Riverfront 47, LP, for transportation improvements along Main and 19th streets in Sharpsburg Borough to provide access to the Allegheny riverfront area.
“This project transcended municipal borders. We worked together in a collaborative bipartisan, bicameral effort, something that has become increasingly scarce in Harrisburg – and certainly in Washington DC,” Senator Vulakovich said. “In an economic climate where state funding is scarce and the competition for it is fierce, teamwork was essential as we worked the meetings here and in Harrisburg to advocate for this proposal.”
Senator Vulakovich — who authored legislation (Senate Bill 282) to provide a state Waterfront Development Tax Credit that was ultimately included in the overall 2016-17 state budget — said he is encouraged by the project and the impact it will have throughout the community.
“That section of the riverfront is just sitting there, basically rusting away and along comes a proposal that would bring new life to that site,” Senator Vulakovich said. “That’s just the ticket. We have people who see the potential and they want to make their vision a reality and bring renewed vitality to the Allegheny riverfront through residential, retail, industrial and recreational development. That is something I can definitely support.”
Two other projects in the 38th District, supported by Senator Vulakovich, received funding during the current round of RACP grants. A grant of $1,000,000 was awarded for the construction of a new three-acre park in East Liberty and Larimer neighborhoods and $900,000 was awarded for the Sheetmetal Worker’s Training Facility expansion project involving the construction of a new building at the organization’s current site in Harmar Township.
Senator Vulakovich also supported funding for the Center for Victims in the City of Pittsburgh, but not in the 38th District.
“These grants will improve the recreational options for East Liberty and Larimer residents, enhance vital workforce training opportunities and provide exssential funding to support the safety network for domestic violence victims,” said Senator Vulakovich. “I was pleased to endorse these requests for state grants to support our local community.”
Contact: Melissa Girty (412) 487-6600