Pittsburgh City Council has taken a preliminary vote to take control of some key forestland on the backside of Mt. Washington. The land will help to expand what has become known as Emerald View Park. It is a greenway that connects several smaller parks overlooking the West End and wrapping around to the back of Mt. Washington overlooking Rt. 51. The ordinance allows the city to accept the 29-acre parcel from the Allegheny Land Trust. Trust Executive Director Roy Kraynak says the trust will maintain a conservation easement on the property. “We hold all of the development rights in the conservation easement so a subsequent city council could not decide to develop the property in some shape or form, we also hold the timber rights,” says Kraynak.
Kraynak says this is a key parcel to preserve given it high scenic and environmental value and its proximity to downtown. It can be seen from Greentree Hill, Sawmill Run Blvd. and Stueben St., says Kraynak. He says there was a potential for the parcel to be developed and not only would the city lose the green hillside but he says such development could lead to landslides and harmful water runoff.
The trust will close on the parcel Thursday and the council will take a final vote next week. The deal is expected to run the Allegheny Land Trust about $212,000. About $20,000 of it came from individual small donors. The work was done in conjunction with the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation. It is the second chunk of forest in the greenway that the trust has handed over to the city. The first was 11 acres in size. Kraynak says there are more parcels to add to Emerald View Park and fundraising efforts will begin soon.