Photo by Lynne Deliman
Before heading south for the winter, geese swimming on the Ohio River head toward the Chartiers Creek where ALCOSAN plans to purchase an adjacent McKees Rocks property.
By Jamie Wiggan
After Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) officials confirmed plans to acquire the former Crivelli Chevrolet dealership property late October, McKees Rocks Council President Paul Krisby issued a strongly-worded letter Nov. 25 threatening legal recourse if the two parties cannot quickly agree on plans for the site.
The letter blasts sanitary authority officials for failing to consider the borough’s preference for several nearby sites put forward by the municipality as possible alternatives.
“ALCOSAN has ignored the borough’s offer and efforts regarding identifying alternative sites,” the letter states. “…We intend to pursue all legal means available to prevent the demolition of the structures and ALCOSAN’s intended use of the property.”
Krisby said authority officials indicate the Crivelli lot may be used as a laydown area for long-term construction projects around the region, but he also believes they may simply sit on the property for several years before committing to any particular use. In either outcome, Krisby said he and other local stakeholders see the property as an important strategic point for developing the town’s business district.
“Our future relies on this,” he said. “It’s worth the fight.”
Developer Craig Rippole, whose firm Trinity Commercial Development manages the adjoining shopping plaza, also shared concerns about the plans for the site.
“The Crivelli property is a key component of the retail corridor and a critical gateway to the redevelopment occurring on the former P&LE railyard,” he wrote in an email. “A change of use that's inconsistent with the C-1 Commercial zoning and/or no use at all will be detrimental to the community's revitalization."
Efforts, led by Trinity, to redevelop the former P&LE brownfield tract rely in part on a planned access road connecting the site to Chartiers Avenue at the corner of the Crivelli lot. Krisby said this road, being built with several hundred thousand dollars from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, might be hampered indefinitely if the Crivelli site is used as a laydown area by the sanitary authority.
Joseph Vallarian, ALCOSAN communications director, said exact plans for the site have not been finalized, and declined to comment further on the contents of Krisby’s letter.
“The opportunity to purchase this piece of property, that is in close proximity to our existing infrastructure, was a great opportunity for ALCOSAN as we continue our Clean Water Plan work,” he added.
A deed recorded by Allegheny County’s Department of Real Estate shows the sanitary authority closed the sale Nov. 30, paying up $2.05 million for the property.
The Clean Water Plan refers to a $2 billion overhaul project required to bring sewage infrastructure in the authority’s 83 communities up to federal environmental standards.
After refining plans for more than two decades, the authority submitted a final proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year. Work throughout the region is expected to last until 2036 and beyond.