Last piece of Carrie Furnace puzzle in place
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Construction of a $10 million flyover ramp from the Rankin Bridge to the former Carrie Furnace property is "the last piece of the puzzle" needed to begin redevelopment of the site.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, announced Monday the county has received a $10 million grant for the ramp under the Department of Transportation's TIGER program. The ramp will provide access to a 168-acre development site along the Monongahela River in Rankin, Swissvale, Braddock and Pittsburgh.
The county bought 137 acres of the site for $5.75 million from Cleveland developer Park Corp. in 2005 and has been preparing it for development since it was added to the state's brownfield development program in 2007. The county has completed environmental remediation and installed new sewer and water lines at the site, where it wants to build a flex office/light industrial park that could provide 1,000 permanent jobs.
The land previously housed steel mills operated by U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel. Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area owns the actual blast furnaces at the site and is trying to develop a tourist attraction there. It is across the river from the highly successful Waterfront shopping, entertainment and housing complex.
"This project exemplifies innovation and demonstrates a true understanding of the importance of public and private partnerships in the region ... ," Mr. Doyle said in a release. The ramp "will allow for unparalleled access to the site, utilizing a holistic approach to address issues pertaining to safety and the utilization of existing infrastructure."
A similar ramp from the Homestead Grays Bridge helped development at The Waterfront.
Mr. Casey said the grant will give the county "the resources needed to make this project a realist and add family-sustaining jobs to the community."
Former County Council President Rich Fitzgerald, who becomes county executive next month, called the grant "great news."
The project is particularly important to Braddock and Rankin, two of the poorest communities in the county. The area lost a major employer when UPMC closed UPMC Braddock just after it renovated its entrance with state funding help as part of the run-up to redeveloping the Carrie Furnace site.
First Published December 13, 2011 12:00 am