Aspinwall Riverfront Park is a unique and innovative park focusing on water and how it shapes our lives. As a learning environment, it will teach about the ways water affects the landscape and human settlement. As an active play environment, it offers people of all ages a place to let loose and get moving. As a contemplative environment, it is a place to pause and let the natural beauty of this region’s river valleys and ridges inspire and relax. As a social environment, it will offer expansive recreation opportunities and areas for public events. Because of its location along the bus line and only a few miles from very different communities, the Park brings diverse groups of people together, improving the quality of life for all.
The project has three major elements:
(1) West Park development (this is the more natural area)
(2) East Park development (this area will be for active recreation)
(3) Access improvements and parking
Our first priority has been to develop the property into a park with sufficient amenities to enable it to be used by the public. As we raise more money, we will be able to add more features to enable people to have better access to the river and enjoy more recreational opportunities.
- Nature’s beauty and complexity is the primary inspiration for West Park.
Here, we have the opportunity to create and preserve a unique ecosystem – providing an opportunity for generations of people to fall in love with nature.
The three and a half acre raw space is extraordinary. Huge stone pillars, and the rail lines above, form two sides of a triangle as they make their way to the Allegheny River. Visitors will be able to see the theme of the Park’s design – “Raindrops to River” – played out as landforms ripple out like a raindrop to the Allegheny. A level quarter mile trail will lead visitors through plant communities found along Pennsylvania riverfronts.
- West Park is ready to be transformed into a refuge from everyday life. It will be a place to enjoy a concert, ride a bike or walk in an area free from car exhaust and asphalt.
- This is our opportunity to create a natural area like nothing else in this region. Imagine a river of flowers. A woodland path in dappled light. Birds singing. The feel of a gentle breeze blowing up from the river.
- Dramatic Architecture: The trestles and bridges of West Park will become a stunning frame showcasing nature’s beauty in every season.
- Woodland: We’ll plant understory trees and shrubs, such as pagoda dogwood and blackhaw viburnum, to establish a woodland, complete with a woodland floor of wildflowers and ferns. The trail will enable visitors to experience plants thriving in a natural space at close range.
- Meadow: Located at the center of West Park, the meadow is nature’s ever changing impressionist painting; waving grasses move with the breeze, sporting seed heads to delight the birds.
- Amphitheater: This multi functional space offers best view on the property. Built from rubble of the house and large concrete parking lots formerly on the property, it can be enjoyed year round: as a sled riding hill in the winter, a place to relax on the grassy hillside and listen to music or a lecture in the other seasons. From the top, there’s a view of the river, and you’ll be able to see the landforms in the natural part of the Park roll out in front of you like a rippling raindrop. The stage will be a graceful extension of the boardwalk in West Park.
- A place to discover sled riding and bird watching: For hundreds of kids, West Park’s amphitheater is the only place they can walk themselves to sled ride. From top, it will be a quiet spot to watch the birds soar in the sky or the sun setting over the river.
- Wetland: This is the innermost point of the West Park “raindrop” and the centerpiece of our sustainable design. The wetlands plant community will help filter storm water before it infiltrates back into the soil, reducing the strain on the storm sewer system. Wildlife on the property will be attracted here to drink. Irises and grasses will showcase the ever changing seasonal palate.
- Wetland Boardwalk: Bisecting and encircling the wetland, these features are the perfect place to enjoy West Park’s lush environment. The boardwalk is designed with two tiers: one for walking and one for people to sit and let their legs dangle as they observe the natural cycles of water as it moves through the Park. Layers of river rock gabions encircle the wetland, echoing the theme of our design “Raindrops to River," while providing a natural habitat.
- Pycnanthemum muticum or mountain mint in the Woodland Garden. Great plant for pollinators.
- Liatris and Rudbeckia in the meadow garden.
- One year later our meadow is thriving.
- Blue and silver garden under a matching sky. Stokesia or Stokes aster on the left.
ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS AND PARKING
The current entrance to the park property is less than ideal because it is:
(1) Not aligned with an intersection.
(2) Located across an active, at-grade Norfolk Southern railroad line. While there are warning lights at this crossing, there is no railroad arm
(3) Visibility is limited because of the overhead train trestle in this area
Our goal is to make the entry to the park safer and more easily accessible to vehicles, pedestrians and bikers. To do this, we would like to:
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- Move the entrance of the park to Eastern Avenue
- Install a crossing armEvents Calendar