Penn-American facility in Allentown will become city's newest garden spot
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Even residents who pass it daily might not know that the small brick building on a triangular island at Knox and Arlington avenues in Pittsburgh's Allentown section houses a vital link in the region's water supply.
Pennsylvania American Water's Arlington Booster Station, which has undergone $1 million in recent renovations, will become a garden spot in the Hilltop neighborhood as well, starting today.
Water company personnel, joined by two community groups and city Councilman Bruce Kraus, will plant flower beds on the site this morning. Penn-American spokesman Gary Lobaugh said the hope is that they eventually will bloom into another of the spectacular community gardens that the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy plants every spring.
"This really looked like an old-school industrial site with barbed wire all around it" before the renovations, Mr. Lobaugh said. The barbed wire has been replaced with a decorative aluminum fence built closer to the building to free up more green space accessible to the neighborhood.
The Hilltop Alliance and Allentown Community Development Corp. will help install the new beds.
The garden will help beautify one of the neighborhood's busiest intersections "and assist us in our goal of regenerating one of Pittsburgh's most historic and treasured neighborhoods," Mr. Kraus said.
The booster station allows Penn-American to draw water from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority system in emergencies, senior engineer Jay Lucas said.
The renovations made the facility safer by converting from gas chlorine to liquid chlorine for water treatment, he said.
The work is part of an ongoing $101 million project to improve Penn-American's intake, treatment, storage and transmission facilities that serve a wide swath of Western Pennsylvania.
First Published May 11, 2012 12:00 am