Riverfront park still planned; funding needed |

Riverfront park still planned; funding needed

Moon Township leaders say they still want to pursue a riverfront park, but those plans remain stagnant several years later while officials seek funding.

The estimated cost for the park Moon officials first announced in 2012 is about $6.5 million to turn the 19.2 acres on Route 51 — between the Sewickley Bridge and Valley Ambulance Authority — into a riverfront park along the south bank of the Ohio River.

“It's going to be quite some time,” said Lance Welliver, director of Moon Parks and Recreation. “Right now we're just working on trying to get initial funding to get that off the ground. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit to make that a reality.”

A few years ago, Welliver said Moon needed about $4.5 million just to prepare the site — a contaminated, old industrial site and adjacent property — to meet state Department of Environmental Protection standards.

“We haven't got current figures, but I'm sure it's higher than that now,” he said.

The township is seeking state and federal grants to move forward with developing the park, which Welliver called “a long process.”

An estimated additional $2 million is needed for park amenities and other improvements, such as upgrading a railroad crossing.

According to a master site plan, the site consists of three parcels, the majority of which is the former Russell, Burdsall & Ward Corp. manufacturing complex, which was acquired by the Moon Township Municipal Authority in 2002.

As a result of the industrial activity, oil from manufacturing processes contaminated some soil. The municipal authority acquired the property to protect the quality of its groundwater extraction wells nearby, and to ensure township access to the land, said John Riley, the authority's general manager.

Riley said the site plan was developed for the park several years ago. He sat on the committee, which consisted of several stakeholders, to help identify key ideas and issues related to the design and operation.

Once complete, the park would be primarily for “passive recreation” and a destination for land and water trail users. It would include a “great lawn” that would step down to the river's edge.

The park would connect to the planned Ohio River Trail, a 41-mile bike and water trail the Ohio River Trail Council wants to develop from Coraopolis to Ohioville in Beaver County.

Trails and pathways, pavilions, wildlife areas and lookouts, a playground, an urban beach, a water spray pad, river boardwalks and fishing piers also were part of proposals for the park.

Larissa Dudkiewicz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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