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New branch of Three Rivers Heritage Trail to connect three municipalities

The Pittsburgh City Council recently approved plans for a mile-long river trail connecting three municipalities. The plan is a result of collaboration between the Aspinwall Riverfront Park, Friends of the Riverfront and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
 
The one-mile leg will run along the river from Aspinwall through the PWSA property, then it will cross UPMC’s Lighthouse Pointe retirement community and continue through O’Hara’s Chapel Harbor development. 
 
 “A mile is a good win for the public and for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail,” said Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, about how the group has been eyeing this site since 2010.
 
Friends of the Riverfront, which has led the creation of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail throughout the region since its inception in 1991, currently boasts 25 miles of trail — with more under development.  Baxter said the organization’s main program is the development of the riverfronts for public use and access. He explained that the trail is multi-use for walkers and bikers, transportation and recreation.
 
“We are actually looking at both banks of all three rivers throughout the county,” he said.  Baxter added that the new corridor created an opportunity for “great” partnerships with Aspinwall Riverfront Park and PWSA.
 
The new corridor on PWSA property was seen as an ideal location for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, though planning and design for the addition needed time to ensure that the integrity of the water supply would not be jeopardized by allowing limited public access. Baxter said appropriate fencing and safety precautions are being implemented so as not to impede PWSA operation.
 
Construction is expected to start sometime this summer; and, if work goes as planned, Baxter said the new corridor could be completed in two months. He welcomed Pittsburgh residents to track trail status at friendsoftheriverfront.org.

Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Thomas Baxter, Aspinwall Riverfront Park
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