People in Mon River communities have waited for the development for years, Baraff says. “It’s been mostly talk until the last couple of years and now it’s really starting to happen,” he says. The ramp and new road have made the property user-friendly.
“It’s important that this site is recognized as being a destination and an important site. It is not an abandoned site; it’s an active site, it’s a relevant site,” Baraff says. “The county doing their work and what we’re doing supports that. Where does it go from here? It’s all about bringing jobs to the region, sustainable jobs for the communities that surround it.”
Rivers of Steel continues to try to raise money to restore the blast furnaces and develop trails on its acreage, which includes a refuge for “the Carrie deer” and other wildlife.
“It’s an ongoing project,” Baraff says. “What we have found over the course of the last 10 years, as we’ve been reactivating the site, there is not a great desire on the part of the public or the organization to make it look like it’s 1950 again.
“What is important to do is to reflect the industrial history of the site, as well as the post-industrial history. You want to reflect all those eras because they’re important to the complete story. Time didn’t stop there in 1978.”