South Shore Riverfront Park renovations reveiled
October 24, 2017
Robert Rubinstein, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), was joined by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald along with government, development and community partners, for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour celebrating South Shore Riverfront Park's new gateway and improvements.
Located at SouthSide Works between the 25th - Hot Metal streets along the Monongahela River, the 3.2 acre, $14.1+ million public Park on the former LTV steel site has transformed the industrial riverscape into a vibrant public space for recreation, relaxation and special events, and a key link to local and regional trail systems.
"In the last 30 years, we have invested in our riverfronts, cleaned them up and returned them to the residents here, improving the quality of life for our region," said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "Places like South Shore Riverfront Park are just one example of these regional assets that welcome thousands of trail users, residents and visitors each year since its opening – and one additional reason that we're such a great place to live, work and visit."
"As a city, we're proud to redevelop our former heavy industrial sites in partnership with private projects and public amenities like South Shore Riverfront Park to help our city grow economically while providing facilities that connect all Pittsburghers to our beautiful, ever improving rivers and trail system," said Mayor William Peduto.
The South Shore Riverfront Park Improvement & Gateway Project was developed by the URA in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, Soffer Organization and Riverlife, and designed by the architect, LGA Partners LLC. Tedesco Excavating and Paving was the general contractor; CDR Maguire was the Construction Management/Inspection firm. Total cost for the project was $1.4 million.
"The project began as a modest renovation to replace a damaged kiosk that served as a bike rental and valet parking station," said Mr. Rubinstein. "However, the stakeholders quickly recognized an opportunity to increase the Park's footprint and strengthen the connection between SouthSide Works and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail."
First, the valet/bike rental station was relocated to the rear of the plaza. Secondly, the Riverfront Park was increased in size; by reconfiguring the existing valet lane, the area was reallocated to pedestrian uses and adjacent restaurant patrons. The park was also expanded across South Water Street into Tunnel Park, a narrow greenspace that runs the length of SouthSide Works parallel to the Monongahela River, and directly above the CSX's underground railroad line.
New landscaping, sidewalks and brick-paved seating areas highlight the expanded park on both sides of South 27th Street. Existing wood trellises and the oversized-chess board were relocated and seven historic cast-iron columns, donated by Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation, were installed in the expanded plaza.
The columns were salvaged from McKnight Hardware Store which was constructed in 1878 at the corner of Federal Street and West Lacock Street in Pittsburgh's North Side, giving a nod to the site's industrial past. Seven new aluminum colonnade structures with decorative trellises and a new South Shore Riverfront Park identification sign are also new additions to the Park.
"The colorful colonnades demarcate the pedestrian path, and encourage patrons of SouthSide Works and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail to take a break, admire the view, and discover all that this space has to offer," said Mr. Rubinstein.
"We applaud the URA for the wonderful South Shore Riverfront Park improvements," said Vivien Li, Riverlife president and CEO. "The Park has been a fabulous asset for the South Side neighborhood and the many local and out-of-state visitors who use Pittsburgh's riverfront trails. The new gateway is a welcoming addition that increases the visibility of this special place."
South Shore Riverfront Park amenities include hiking and biking trails, a piazza, 1,000 seat amphitheater, overlook, river landing, boat dock, and unique features like a water fountain for dogs, and historic relics of Pittsburgh's industrial past. It connects the Hot Metal Pedestrian Bridge, Three Rivers Heritage Trail system and multi-state Great Allegheny Passage.
It also provides access to first class retail and dining, sitting adjacent to (or as part of) the $400 plus million SouthSide Works complex, developed by the Soffer Organization.
"The Soffer Organization and family are proud to be part of creation and continued development of South Side Riverfront Park," said Steven Kasunich, COO, Soffer Organization. "As the riverfront parcels and marina continue to be developed, the park will be integral to the ongoing design. SouthSide Works residents and employees now have the opportunity to enjoy the amenities of this world-class park for generations to come."