Redevelopment of the former Pittsburgh Cut Flower property in Richland Township has received a huge financial boost: the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced it will invest $509,500 to the project, along with a $300,000 contribution from the Colcom Foundation.
The site, which includes 150 acres of undeveloped land, will be conserved as open space by the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT). The DCNR's contribution is through a state conservation and recreation grant.
Thanks to those recent investments, ALT now has 75% of the needed $1.4 million purchase price.
The Colcom Foundation has previously supported the effort with a $50,000 grant that was used to bring the property under contract with ALT and the site's current owner.
The property has been vacant for 20 years with dozens of unused buildings at the site. Although ALT plans to permanently protect 80% of the site, which consists of ponds, streams, meadows and woodlands, the remaining 30 acres will be used for a variety of economic development projects.
ALT's Roy Kraynyk says a recent planning charrette with community members produced a number of possible uses for the former commercial site, including a community farm, an environmental learning lab, and perhaps even a solar energy farm.
The land under conservation will be open to passive recreation, such as hiking and fishing, and will likely include historical as well as natural interpretations of the site.
Carol Zagrocki, of the Colcom Foundation, said in a statement that the conservation values of the property include biodiversity, water management, natural scenery, and restoration.
"The land has captured a charitable and conservation ethic in the local community. It is a privilege to support Allegheny Land Trust in advancing the conservation ideals of Colcom's late founder, Cordelia S. May," she said.
The ALT project is one of 198 statewide that has received a total of $26.5 million for recreation and conservation through the DCNR's Community Conservation Partnerships program.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Roy Kraynyk