Brackenridge Councilman Dino Lopreiato said a new half-mile walking trail through the borough will do more than create recreational opportunities.
“It will showcase some of the nicest river views in Western Pennsylvania,” he said.
“People will be able to walk or ride a bike, and, hopefully, it will encourage residents to get out and enjoy our beautiful park.”
Work kicked off this week on the trail segment, which is part of the larger, 33-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail operated by the nonprofit Friends of the Riverfront.
The $445,000 project is nearly seven years in the making.
Stretching from Mile Lock Lane to Morgan Street, it will link other pending trail sections in Harrison and Tarentum.
When completed, it will be part of the path from Erie to Pittsburgh.
Construction will be paid for by three grants: $100,000 from the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund; $60,400 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and close to $285,000 from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
Crews have begun marking and digging the portion of the walkway that will be built along First Avenue on the grassy side of the guiderail.
Work is expected to take about two weeks.
An asphalt trail will be complemented by a split-rail fence for added safety, and native plants will be added.
A second phase of work will create a designated path through Brackenridge Memorial Park.
Both sections of the trail are expected to be completed this year.
Courtney Mahronich Vita, director of trail development for Friends of the Riverfront, said that while the trail is relatively short, it carries a mighty role.
“Building out the Three Rivers Heritage Trail Network in Allegheny County is challenging, but every foot and half-mile addition makes a difference in closing the gaps,” she said.
“Friends is excited to see this trail segment become a reality.”
Work in Brackenridge will someday link with other planned trails, stretching the path onward to Freeport in one direction and Millvale in the other.
Borough officials said they favor the idea of urging walkers and bikers to use the trail and not the road.
Lopreiato said he believes the trail will draw a wider audience to town.
“I look forward to walkers and riders traveling through town and discovering it,” he said.
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