The Aspinwall Marina was officially purchased by Friends of the Riverfront last week, and will become a community riverfront park and trail extension. Since last November, the non-profit organization has been working on behalf of community residents who spearheaded the effort, raising $2.3 million to purchase the marina.
Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, says this entire process has been a community effort, and he looks forward to moving “aggressively forward with fundraising for the development and build-out” of the new park.
“And as part of that process we're going to be reaching out to not just Aspinwall community, but all the surrounding community to talk about what can be and what will be part of the park,” Baxter says. “There will be a lot of opportunity for public involvement.”
The marina will be converted into a mixed-use parcel, and will feature an extension of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Susan Crookston, who created the initial business plan last year, says the Aspinwall marina will now become “the community treasure that it was intended to be.” She says the rapid rate of fundraising, done in just over six months, has been an incredible experience.
“It's just been a kind of miracle, and just a testimony to the power of an idea and the power of the generosity of our community,” Crookston says.
Friends of the Riverfront signed an agreement of sale on the marina in January, and fundraising for the purchase began immediately after. Those efforts included t-shirt sales, parades, various parties, and major gifts from private donors. Two young Boy Scouts collected over $15,000 by mowing lawns, and a young girl delivered $144 after a month of lemonade stands.
“This would have never ever happened without all the people taking the ownership and making it happen,” Crookston says.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Thomas Baxter; Susan Crookston