Flower business property focus of presentation

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Pittsburgh Cut Flower had a rich history emanating from its lush expanse of land in Richland. Now, a group interested in giving that property an equally vibrant future is seeking public input on its shape and vision.

The past, present and future of the property will be the focal point of a presentation at 1 p.m. Saturday in Northern Tier Library in Richland. The program will explore the history of the property with a talk and a presentation of artifacts collected from the site as well as a discussion about the future of the land.

The 180-acre tract is the object of a preservation effort by the community in partnership with the Allegheny Land Trust in Sewickley.

Roy Kraynyk, land protection director for the trust, said the property is significant because of its substantial size and its location at the headwaters of the Montour Run tributary to Pine Creek -- one of the cleanest tributaries in the watershed.

The land trust wants to see the majority of the property kept green and open, a way of ensuring that the tributary remains unpolluted and that the public has an opportunity to enjoy unrestricted green space in a territory that is largely developed.

The property, with its old greenhouses on Bakerstown Road, has been unused for some time. It is owned by Legacy Landings LLC in New York. The business had been established around 1910 and had operated there until 1990. Pittsburgh Cut Flower is still in business in the Strip District.

Mr. Kraynyk said the most significant step to be taken is raising money to buy the Richland property, and that effort is proceeding well. About $675,000 has been raised toward the $1.4 million purchase price and $1 million site cleanup.

He said the land trust is interested in hearing ideas at this week's library program for the sale of the 30 acres where the greenhouses are located.

"We're thinking that the part of the footprint that already has structures can be recycled into the economy," he said. The proceeds would be used as collateral to close the land deal.

Mr. Kraynyk also expects to receive additional grants and donations toward the work.

Meanwhile, the community has raised about $50,000 of a $140,000 goal that was set in late summer.

"I think we've been so successful in raising [donations] because of the community interest and partnership in this," he said.

Dustin Shilling, director of Northern Tier Library, said he's expecting a crowd for the program.

"There's been a lot of interest. We're kind of anticipating up to a hundred people," he said, including a former Pittsburgh Cut Flower employee who lives in Florida.

Mr. Shilling said the program is distinctive because it will be more than just informational.

"There will be the fascinating part of looking at this business's history. That's a part of it for sure. But, it's also about envisioning a future, too. It's exciting to be a part of that," he said.

Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the land trust for the benefit of the project. Information: 412-741-2750 or www.alleghenylandtrust.org.

Information about the program at the library: 724-449-2665.


Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.


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