Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Allegheny Land Trust Working To Protect One Of Largest Remaining Green Spaces In The South Hills Near Pittsburgh

On May 21, the Allegheny Land Trust announced it is working in cooperation with the municipality of Bethel Park and other partners to acquire and permanently conserve one of the largest remaining green spaces in the South Hills by the end of 2019.
Near the busy intersections of Route 88, Connor Road and Valley Drive along the municipality’s northwest border with Castle Shannon, this heavily wooded 40.5-acre property offers a green reprieve from an otherwise densely-populated area.
The site is crisscrossed by an informal network of walking trails frequently used and cared for by neighbors and is both a relic of the area’s industrial history and a testament to nature’s ability to recover if allowed the opportunity to do so.
Mollenauer Mine #3, once located directly across Route 88, used this site to discard dirt and rock tailings from its mining operation from the mid-1890's through the early 1940s.  Since that time the site has been left dormant to recover on its own while residential developments and commercial enterprises sprung up all around.
“This project is an excellent demonstration of nature’s ability to recover -- the once dominant mine tailings piles dumped there early in the last century have been almost completely reclaimed by nature,” said Tom Dougherty, ALT’s Vice President of External Affairs.  “Couple the site’s industrial past with the neighbors’ current enjoyment of the site and we see an opportunity to support both the environment and the community.”
Protecting this green space would ensure that the flora and fauna reclaiming this site have permanent habitat, save steep slopes from development, absorb rainwater at the head of the flood-prone Saw Mill Run watershed, enhance property values by offering protected trails and open space, and provide opportunities for historical and environmental education.
“We recognize that green space like this is a true asset in some many ways, and we’re really excited to work with the Land Trust to protect it forever for current and future residents and the greater benefit of the community,” Bethel Park Municipal Council President Tim Moury said.
Bethel Park Ward 5 Councilman Don Harrison concurs, “I’m very familiar with the property.  There have been many different proposals for its use over the years, but this one provides a lasting benefit to Bethel Park and I believe will make the nearby residents happy.”
The land is currently under contract to close by the end of the year, contingent upon ALT's ability to raise necessary funding. Currently, ALT has outstanding grant requests along with several additional funding sources identified for portions of the project funding.
A community campaign will be launched in the coming weeks to raise awareness and matching dollars for the project. The municipality of Bethel Park has pledged its support for the project.
To donate or find more information on this project, visit the ALT’s Bethel Greenway Project webpage.  Questions should be directed to Tom Dougherty by email to: tdougherty@alleghenylandtrust.org or call 412-741-2750 x211.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Allegheny Land Trust website.
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