Multi-colored-balloons were released into a slate-gray sky on Friday to celebrate the beginning of the tri-community revitalization project designed to create an "urban boulevard" through Scott, Heidelberg and Carnegie.
The ceremony marked the announcement of public bids for the $2.4 million federally funded project.
The bids are expected to be opened on Nov.29, with project awards made shortly thereafter. Construction is expected in 2013.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, who shepherded the funding through Congress, spoke to a group of about 25 local officials who gathered near the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church on Third Avenue in Carnegie to mark the occasion.
"A lot of people worked on this project," Mr. Murphy said. He thanked PennDOT, Trans Associates (the design firm for the project), local, state and county officials, as well as a private business owner.
"Phil never gave up," he said, referring to artist Philip Salvato, owner of the Third Street Gallery. His gallery was badly damaged in the 2004 flood caused by Hurricane Ivan when five feet of water inundated his building, but Mr. Salvato has since rebuilt his business into a thriving center for local arts and entertainment.
"Phil refused to leave," Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek said.
"The church was part of it, too," Mr. Murphy said, thanking the Rev. David Poecking, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who oversaw the recent reconstruction of the former St. Luke's worship center after it, too, was devastated in the 2004 flood as the new, consolidated home of the entire St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish.
Since the flood, Mr. Murphy said, $4 million was spent by the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the creek bed, remove sediment, and make other repairs to the Chartiers Creek Flood Control Project.
"This is a prime example of what we can do together on an intergovernmental project, said state Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson.
The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County in February awarded the three communities a $250,000 Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund Grant for safety and other sidewalk improvements.
In conjunction with the streetscape improvements, the state and Allegheny County in 2014 will launch a $2 million deck replacement and repainting of the Chartiers Creek Bridge 6, connecting Carothers Avenue in Scott with Third Street in Carnegie. The state-county percentage split of the costs for the bridge repair will be 80-20.
The revitalization work will occur along a 1.5-mile stretch that is identified with different names in each community -- Route 50 in Heidelberg, Carothers Avenue in Scott and Third Street in Carnegie.
Heidelberg Mayor Kenneth LaSota, an early advocate of the project, said it will be "a seamless walkable urban boulevard" with similar design amenities incorporated in all three communities.
Those will include new street lighting, sidewalks, green space and shade trees.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy through its TreeVitalize program has already helped Heidelberg plant 25 new trees along Route 50, and plans are in the works for Carnegie to receive shade trees in the spring for the Third Street leg of the project.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org