Allegheny County's Redevelopment Authority on Friday accepted a $500,000 donation from the Sports Legacy Foundation, the nonprofit organization that assembled most of the land for the new Montour Run recreation area.
The foundation is liquidating its assets and going out of business, authority members learned.
The money will go toward engineering and construction costs for the first playing field to be built at the new recreation complex, Dennis Davin, the county's economic development director, said. The foundation had donated the land to the Redevelopment Authority in 2008.
The 78-acre Montour Run recreation area will be constructed on former rail yards near the banks of the Ohio River in Coraopolis, Moon and Robinson. The site adjoins the "Mile 0" trailhead of the Montour Trail and will be linked to the popular biking and walking path.
Current plans call for developing the site with rugby, soccer, Gaelic football and lacrosse fields. Montour Run, a trout stream, cuts through the property, and part of the area will be maintained for fishing.
The redevelopment authority will hold a public meeting to discuss proposals for the new park and take comments from county residents, Mr. Davin said. No date or location has been set for that meeting.
"We can't thank the Sports Legacy Foundation enough for its work," Mr. Davin said. The foundation also paid for much of the initial environmental clean-up of the brownfield site. The site is bordered by Route 51, the Coraopolis Bridge, CSX Railroad tracks and residential areas. Most of the land was once owned by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad.
No formal name has been chosen for the new park, which eventually will be added to the county system.
Development of the area is meant to be a public-private undertaking, and the redevelopment authority plans to seek financial sponsors for individual fields. The tract is large enough for 15 to 20 athletic fields, opening the way for the county to host major sports tournaments, Mr. Davin said.
The price tag for the project is about $15 million.
Much of the land is in a flood plain. Development there would be limited to grading and landscaping to create large open spaces that would be little damaged by periodic flooding.
Three or four fields planned above the flood plain would have artificial surfaces, Mr. Davin said.
Groundbreaking for the first field should take place sometime this year.
Len Barcousky: firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-772-0184.