allegheny landing project

Ground has broken on a key piece of Allegheny Landing that will complete the renovation of Pittsburgh’s oldest riverfront park. Representatives from Riverlife, Carnegie Museum of Art, City of Pittsburgh, and Friends of Allegheny Landing gathered to celebrate another key step in bringing back one of the first riverfront parks in America.

allegheny landing groundbreaking
Breaking ground on the reconstruction of the lower trail on Allegheny Landing. Pictured: Caryn Rubinoff of Friends of Allegheny Landing, Lynn Zelevansky of Carnegie Museum of Art, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Vivien Li President and CEO of Riverlife, and Ray Gastil, director of City Planning.

Allegheny Landing is the area along the Allegheny River between the 6th and 7th Street bridges near PNC Park where the riverfront trail winds around several small public art plazas.

The complete lower riverfront trail will be rebuilt and green infrastructure will be added, including a rain garden area and native plantings. This work follows the complete re-do of the boat dock and fishing pier that was completed in 2014. Following the boat dock, Ned Smyth’s Piazza Lavoro, pictured below, was relocated and restored.

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The Piazza Lavoro was recently relocated and restored at Allegheny Landing. Photo by TC for NEXTpittsburgh.

“We are a city that embraces art and culture,” says County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, about the key public art pieces that anchor Allegheny Landing. “It continues to enhance and beautify the riverfront and be a key part of Pittsburgh’s quality of life.”

Over the years the area had fallen into disrepair, and an effort was started six years ago by Friends of Allegheny Landing to begin the restoration of the park. “Sometimes public art needs to be revived,” says Ray Gastil, director of City Planning.

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We caught Vivien Li, executive director of Riverlife, with her hands full the day before the groundbreaking. Photo by TC for NEXTpittsburgh.

Allegheny Landing was dedicated in 1984 by then-mayor Richard Caliguiri, as an effort to recognize Pittsburgh’s riverfront potential. Public art, owned by the Carnegie Museum of Art, was installed in the park.

“In 1984 there were no stadiums, no Alcoa building, no riverfront connections here to the vast front yard of the city,” says Gastil. “This was an experiment that showed Pittsburgh’s riverfronts could be part of a new vision of Pittsburgh.”

Construction will take place this summer with a detour posted for trail users, and work should be wrapped up by this fall.

This portion of the re-do will cost $305,000 and is supported by the Heinz Endowments, National Endowment for the Arts, Pittsburgh Foundation, and Allegheny County Infrastructure and Tourism Funds through the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and Senator Wayne Fontana.

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.