A Closer Look at The Big Plans For Pittsburgh’s Riverfront Parks
Riverlife announces renovation projects for Allegheny Landing, Allegheny Riverfront parks to create “river rooms” for all to enjoy.
It’s time to complete the loop.
That’s the 15-mile stretch of Pittsburgh riverfront between the West End, the Hot Metal and the 31st Street bridges. It’s adjacent to 15 neighborhoods and home to more than 40,000 people.
The nonprofit Riverlife announced this week that it’s launching the next phase to fill in the gaps in this loop. The centerpiece of the effort is the Sister Bridges Experience, which will transform two riverside parks — Allegheny Landing on the North Shore between the Roberto Clemente (Sixth Street) and Andy Warhol (Seventh Street) bridges and Allegheny Riverfront Park between Stanwix Street and Fort Duquesne Boulevard in Downtown’s Cultural District.
One key element of the plan is the concept of creating river rooms – “the stretches of riverfront that access across river connections where visitors can gather and explore together,” says Matt Galluzzo, president and CEO of Riverlife.
“So think overlooks and playscapes and world-class parks and floating barges and festivals.”
Riverlife has secured lead capital investments for both parks, including $2 million from the Richard King Mellon Foundation for the renovation of Allegheny Landing and $1.5 million from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to restore Allegheny Riverfront Park. This all will be added to other funding from public/private partnerships involving the city, Allegheny County, state agencies, Cultural District and other organizations.
Both of these parks “have been loved to death,” Galluzzo says, and need major overhauls.
The improvements are being made as Allegheny County completes a project to add decorative lighting to the three Sisters bridges, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. More than 600,000 color LED lights are being added on the suspension cables and towers; the project aims to enhance the connection of the bridges between the Cultural District and the Warhol Museum’s Pop District on the North Shore.
With initial work underway, these projects are expected to be completed in 2025:
- Restoring Allegheny Riverfront Park
- Redesigning and restoring Allegheny Landing
- Expanding Artwalk on the Allegheny, a project of Riverlife, Allegheny Regional Asset District, and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, a collection of immersive public art installations along and across the Allegheny River
- Producing cross-river activation programming at both parks and across the Sister Bridges
Riverlife, with funding mostly generated through the Waterfront Development Tax Credit program, already has restored Allegheny Landing’s public boat dock, which was destroyed by an ice floe in 2018. The dock is open and ready for the summer season.
To help celebrate the initiatives, Riverlife will hold its first Pittsburgh Riverwalk & Chalk Fest at Allegheny Landing park over Memorial Day weekend. More than 20 chalk artists from 13 states, as well as two visiting artists from Ukraine, will create interactive streetside murals at the free event. The murals will provide a pit stop along the North Shore on May 28 as part of BikePGH’s OpenStreetsPGH event.
Completing the full loop is expected to take 10 years. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who spoke at this week’s announcement, says he has enjoyed bicycling the 13-mile loop at Presque Isle State Park in Erie. Pittsburgh eventually will offer an even longer uninterrupted route.
Says Galluzzo: “Rivers bring joy and the moves that we make today and tomorrow, the moves that we made years ago, were designed to bring joy and that joy accrues to us, it accrues to our children and it accrues to our grandchildren. That is our impact.”