September 20, 2011 |

Marina could be coming to SouthSide Works in 2012

— 400 slips would accomodate seasonal and transient boaters in South Side


Three presentations were featured at the South Side Planning Forum meeting of Sept. 13: proposed SouthSide Works marina; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh voter referendum; and the Duquesne University South Side shuttle.

The proposed SouthSide Works marina was discussed by Mabon Lichtenfels, vice-president of construction and development for the Soffer Organization, and David Maxwell, the marina's developer who also owns the Fox Chapel Yacht Club. His daughter, Melissa, was also present.

If everything goes very well, a full-service marina, to be located adjacent to the Riverfront Park near 26th St., will be open for the 2012 boating season.

Mr. Maxwell said all water-lined cities have marinas, and for Pittsburgh having three rivers, there's not a lot for boaters in the city.

He said a lot of "transient boaters" come hundreds of miles, such as from St. Louis, but once here have nowhere to dock. The proposed plan has spots for accommodating 20 transient boaters.

There will also be about 400 slips for leasing on a seasonable basis, which would extend about 300 feet into the river.

"More and more people are utilizing the rivers," he said.

As an example of the growing popularity of boating, he said the average boat size in the Fox Chapel Yacht Club was 27-feet in 1999. Today, it is more than 40-feet.

Boaters come to Fox Chapel, he said, and want to drive their boats to the city, but cannot.

"I'm trying to do things to show off the city," he said.

The representatives for the library presentation were Lydia Scott and Jake Pawlak.

The topic was the community-based initiative, "Our Library, Our Future," organized to raise awareness of the need to provide financial support for the library.

Supporters of the initiative are asking city residents to vote yes on a ballot referendum on Nov. 8. If approved by a majority of the voters, a separate tax of 0.25 mills will be levied on all real estate in the City of Pittsburgh. It is equivalent to $25 per year on $100,000 of assessed value.

All money raised as a result of this tax would only be used to aid in the maintenance and operation of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and cannot be used for any other purpose. The tax would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Questioned about alternate ways to raise funds, Mr. Pawlak cited longstanding efforts such as working with the Regional Asset District (RAD); creating an endowment for the library; and trying to increase corporate donations. The alternates would supplement the referendum tax.

If passed, the tax would meet more than 50 percent of the needs of the system, he said.

In his brief remarks, Paul Lorincy, of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, expressed his concerns about the Duquesne University South Side shuttle.

Its intended purpose is to offer a safe and efficient transportation option to and from campus for Duquesne students and employees who want to visit the South Side. The fee is $50 per semester.

The shuttle makes seven stops in the South Side, and runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays only.

Mr. Lorincy said the problem is that commuters park on the South Side streets — thereby taking spots residents count on to park in their own neighborhood — and then hop the shuttle to Duquesne.

He said non- South Side residents are also using the shuttle, and most likely parking their cars on the street.

Duquesne University officials will attend the Oct. 11 forum meeting to offer a valid plan and solicit recommendations.

In her report of the South Side Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) Steering Committee, Susie Puskar said surveys were mailed Sept. 7 to every South Side Flats household and business.

They were mailed to the property, put in The South Pittsburgh Reporter, and are available on surveymonkey. com.

All minutes from meetings, community presentations, and other important information will be posted at: www.ssimprovementdistrict. com. An FAQ section answers commonly asked questions.

The next visits by improvement district consultants Wendell and Associates will be Sept. 20-21 and Oct. 2. The September visit will be with the Steering Committee to craft an initial NID plan based on survey results.

The October meetings will include public meetings which have not yet been scheduled.

Ms. Puskar said the committee has heard back from many seniors, who have indicated they are concerned as they live on a fixed income. She said they have heard their concerns, and they will be addressed.

A NID is an area established to provide funding for improvements to supplement limited city resources, such as security patrols.

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