Scenic setting: A team effort seeks to restore Allegheny Landing

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Every homeowner knows the importance of routine maintenance. Public lands demand the same attention to upkeep, and it's time to refurbish Allegheny Landing on the North Shore.

The narrow strip of land that runs along the riverfront behind office buildings, between the Clemente and Warhol bridges, was one of the first urban sculpture gardens in the country when it was installed 29 years ago. Now, the park facing Downtown is ready for a $2.5 million renovation that will be coordinated by Riverlife and will include replacement of a dock, upgrading of the surfaces around its plaza, installation of new LED and solar lighting and improved landscaping.

The Carnegie Museum of Art will be responsible for restoration of three sculptures that were created specifically for the site. The orange "Pittsburgh Variations" by George Sugarman, which has been defiled by graffiti, will be removed, repainted and reinstalled. Two mosaics, "Piazza Lavoro" and "Mythical Source," are crumbling and cracked; they will be refurbished by their creator, artist Ned Smyth.

Just as in remodeling a home, it will take many hands to bring this project to fruition. The foresight and commitment of Friends of Allegheny Landing, Riverlife and the Carnegie Museum are supported by the Port of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh City Council, Allegheny County, various state agencies and local foundations.

There's so much activity on the North Shore now that it's hard to believe that, in 1984 when Allegheny Landing was new, it was one of the few scenic access points to the Allegheny River. When its makeover is complete, it will reclaim its position as an innovative setting for art and recreation.

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