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Oakmont to vote on building kayak park

Michael DiVittorio

A nonprofit involved in creating nearly all of the trails along Pittsburgh’s rivers wants to build a kayak park in Oakmont.

“We are looking to put in a water trail access point to the Three Rivers Water Trail,” said Jeffrey McCauley, Friends of the Riverfront’s director of stewardship. “There are many water features within paddling distance of Oakmont.”

The park would serve as a launching point for kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and other non-motorized watercraft into the Allegheny River. Water features in the area include Sycamore Island in Blawnox and state park islands north of Oakmont.

The Water Trail has 23 access points for nonmotorized boats on the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio and Youghiogheny rivers. All the access points are public, free and require no registration or launch permit.

Friends of the Riverfront received a $40,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resource for the proposed Oakmont project. The borough planning commission has recommended approval of the project, which the council is expect to consider early next year.

The grant money was originally awarded for a similar project in Haysville along the Ohio River, which never came to fruition, McCauley said.

Pittsburgh architectural firm Environmental Planning and Design is designing the park that would be at a 1.53-acre vacant lot owned by Oakmont Borough along 1000 block of Allegheny Avenue, near the Brenntag Northeast facility.

Tom Bland, Oakmont parks and recreation chairman, said the location is perfect because people will be able to walk from the bank right into the river.

“It lends itself to taking kayaks out, and not a lot of spots along the riverfront do that,” Bland said.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367 or [email protected].


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