The Sports and Exhibition Authority opened a large plaza on the Allegheny riverfront today, connecting Point State Park and the Strip District along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
The 3,000-square-foot plaza is expected to be used as a public green space, a mooring site for boats, and a gathering area for city events. The David Lawrence Convention Center walkway leads directly to the plaza, which looks out onto other developments on the opposing riverbank.
But Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato says the plaza does more than just link the Strip District riverfront trail to Point State Park. Onorato says projects like this increase quality of life and spur private investment.
“We figured out years ago that we had a chance to take back these waterfronts, and make them recreational waterfronts, and get people to enjoy a great asset that, for a hundred years, was really just the industrial backdoor of this region,” says Onorato. “Now it’s the front door of this region, and we’re using it to drive the economy here.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says the $9.5 million plaza is an important piece of the city’s Allegheny Riverfront Master Plan as well. That initiative is meant to cultivate private investment along the banks of the Allegheny, from Highland Park to the Point.