State gives $25 million for Point State Park work

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The state will invest $25 million in Point State Park to improve the green spaces, recreational opportunities, historical installations and outdated amenities of the park at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis announced the grant from the state's capital budget this afternoon at a news conference at the park.

The goal is to restore the park to its one-time splendor and re-establish it as a symbol of the city that reflects not only the site's history but also the new recreational opportunities afforded by cleaner rivers and its location at the nexus of major hiking and biking trails.

"This facelift will give people who visit Point State Park the opportunity to connect with the great outdoors by biking, rollerblading, strolling and interacting with the water -- all in the heart of the city," Mr. DiBerardinis said.

Among the improvements planned for the riverside of the park, on the west side of the highway underpass, are a seating area around the fountain, a restored promenade along the rivers with steps into the rivers, information and concession kiosks, rest room renovations, new pumps for the fountain, a causeway and dock tie-ups for boats, and new connections between the park and the bicycle trails that run along the rivers.

Today's announcement of the grant came just a day after Gov. Edward Rendell announced he would funnel $11 million to the redevelopment effort in the nearby Fifth and Forbes corridor, Downtown.

"Point State Park has something for everyone -- tourists, downtown workers, history buffs, nearby residents," Gov. Rendell said. "Our $25 million investment will make it even more attractive as the symbol of Pittsburgh and the city's renaissance, a valuable regional asset, a place to reflect on history and a great way for people to connect to our rivers."

A master plan for the park calls for renovation work to occur in two phases. The first phase, concentrated on the city side of the highway overpass that bisects the park, will start soon and is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.

A schedule for the second phase, where the $25 million will be spent, has not been determined, according to the DCNR.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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