Costa Secures Funding to Complete Great Allegheny Trail
Leaders Say $750,000 Grant Provides Final Push to Completion
Harrisburg, December 30, 2010 — Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa is pleased to announce $750,000 in state redevelopment assistance grant money has been awarded to complete the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) project. Until now, a one-mile long gap in the trail in West Homestead and the City of Pittsburgh has been a missing link in the 135 mile trail.
“We’ve worked hard to revitalize the area that was hit so hard by the departure of the Homestead Works. These efforts are paying off, and completion of this trail is a huge win for the folks who work and play here,” said Costa. “Not only is this a valuable resource for those who will be able to spend quality time outdoors, but the economic impact this trail has on the area can’t be understated. It attracts over 700,000 visitors every year, who spend millions of dollars and help to fuel the area’s turnaround.”
It is estimated that over $40 million in indirect spending is seen in trail towns annually. 88 businesses have been created over the past several years because of GAP.
“The completion of the Great Allegheny Passage is a transformational moment for our region, both economically and recreationally,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “This trail has been improving the economy and quality of life in towns throughout the Laurel Highlands and Southwestern Pennsylvania, and now its benefits will spread north through the Mon Valley and into the City of Pittsburgh.”
“I want to thank the Commonwealth, especially Governor Ed Rendell and Senator Jay Costa, for continued support of this project. With the help of our generous foundation community and enthusiastic trail users, we have come a long way toward the completion of this incredible trail. But, we wouldn’t be on the home stretch without the state’s support.”
Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, was enthusiastic in her thanks to the Governor, Senator Costa and Allegheny County for this important funding. “Only one mile remains to finance to complete the Great Allegheny Passage” she stated. “There will be a significant jump in traffic once the last link to Pittsburgh is completed. The trail is truly having an economic impact in the communities through which it passes, and we look forward to revitalization in the Mon Valley communities. Pittsburgh will truly become a biking Mecca. We are thrilled to have this commitment through RACP to jump start the campaign for the last mile.”
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 135 mile hiking and biking trail that will connect Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. The trail system has been 35 years in the making and funding has come from individual trail users, local governments, private foundations and corporations, and state and federal grants.
Work is expected to be completed, offering hikers and cyclists full use of the facilities in January 2012.