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Ray on 7/13/2010 9:39:10 AM:
Sandcastle nearing bike trail agreement
Last link in Great Allegheny Passage
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Allegheny County and Sandcastle Waterpark are expected to announce an
agreement within days that will allow completion of the last missing piece
of a biking and hiking trail linking Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

"I really expect we'll have a formal announcement in the next couple days,"
said James Judy, vice president of operations for Palace Entertainment,
owner of the park.

"I believe that is probably going to be the case," agreed county spokesman
Kevin Evanto.

The deal would cap years of negotiations aimed at finding a way to
accommodate the trail on the park's narrow strip of land between a railroad
line and the Monongahela River.

The roughly one-mile stretch is the last link in the 150-mile Great
Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., where it connects to
the C&O Towpath to Washington.

When all is complete, it will be possible to bike about 335 continuous,
mostly flat miles from Pittsburgh to the nation's capital without
interference from motorized traffic.

The former owners of Sandcastle for years resisted efforts to build the
trail through the park, saying there wasn't enough room.

"The next time you visit Sandcastle take a close look at the tight access
road and try to visualize a 10-foot-wide trail running between the road and
the railroad tracks. I hope you will conclude that not having the available
land wide enough for a trail does not make us stubborn," said Peter McAneny,
then-president of Kennywood Entertainment, in a 2008 letter to the
Post-Gazette.

Mr. McAneny and county officials announced later that year that a deal was
close, but the talks got sidetracked when Kennywood Park and Sandcastle were
sold.

"We're thrilled to be on the trail," Mr. Judy said in a pho

 
Ray on 7/13/2010 9:40:38 AM:

"We're thrilled to be on the trail," Mr. Judy said in a phone interview from
California on Monday. "It's been a very high priority for me to get this
done." He said the park owners did not want to be the only missing link.

The site is accessible by a narrow two-lane road and has limited parking,
which fills to capacity several times a year, he said. "It's been an
extremely tricky piece of property to work with."

The county helped to design a plan that would minimize the impact on parking
by re-striping the lots. The trail will run parallel to the access road, Mr.
Judy said.

The trail developers cleared another major hurdle last week with placement
of two bridges over railroad lines in the Mon Valley. Crews hoisted
prefabricated bridges over active freight lines in Whitaker and Duquesne
along the Monongahela River.

That cleared the way for construction of a 21/2-mile section linking
Duquesne and The Waterfront retail complex. That piece is expected to be
completed in January.

No construction timetable has been announced for the Sandcastle section. An
agreement with the water park would keep the county on track to meet county
Executive Dan Onorato's goal of completing the entire trail by "11-11-11" --
Nov. 11, 2011.
Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit "The
Roundabout," the Post-Gazette's transportation blog, at post-gazette.com.

Read more:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10194/1072356-455.stm#ixzz0tZ7MLp64