Riverlife’s 2016 Year in Review

By December 21, 2016Blog
Rachel Carson Bridge shines with colorful Energy Flow lights as fireworks explode.

“Energy Flow” on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Photo by Larry Rippel.

2016 was a big year for Riverlife.

Here are some highlights, made possible with your support.

Riverfront improvements here in Pittsburgh

Our ongoing work to fulfill the vision of Three Rivers Park included restoring older projects and working on new public spaces, trail connections, environmental rejuvenation and amenities for riverfront visitors.

Encouraging waterfront development across PA and WV

Our support of the creation of the new Pennsylvania Waterfront Development Tax Credit, along with our River Towns work in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, helped drive new waterfront projects across the region.

Connecting with people who love our rivers

Through recreation, special events and art on the rivers and expanding our Headwaters Circle and Young Professionals groups, we’ve loved growing the Riverlife community this year.

We worked to bring these projects to life:

North Shore Habitat Restoration

Riverlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District have teamed up to study the North Shore to see how a natural riverbank ecosystem could be integrated into this bustling neighborhood at the headwaters of the Ohio River. Read the report and watch a video about the project.

A new chapter for Allegheny Landing

This year Riverlife broke ground on a renovation of the lower trail and landscape at Allegheny Landing on the North Shore. Construction wrapped up in October and we can’t wait to celebrate this riverfront park and trail improvement with you in the spring.

A vision for the Strip District riverfront

The Strip District is one of Pittsburgh’s most unique destinations but many people forget it’s also a riverfront neighborhood. Earlier this spring, Riverlife and a coalition of public and private partners released a vision plan for expanding public open space and amenities along the Allegheny Riverfront in the Strip.

And we had a great time with you:

“Energy Flow” made the Rachel Carson Bridge shine

27,000 colored LED lights and sixteen wind turbines create an environmental art installation on a historic Pittsburgh bridge unlike anything seen before on the Allegheny River. Riverlife and our partners were proud to make this dazzling work possible as part of the Pittsburgh Bicentennial celebration.

Youth art and poetry told a story under the Fort Duquesne Bridge

A special group of Pittsburghers made their mark on the city’s waterfront this year. Riverlife’s ongoing “#tbd” project to enliven the riverfront area under the Fort Duquesne Bridge included a special display of art and poetry by students at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School.

Party at the Pier was a smashing Rhapsody in Blue

Riverlife’s annual fundraiser at the beautiful riverfront amphitheater at Rivers Casino on Friday, August 26 was a smash success! Almost 900 guests raised a record $300,000 for our work to reclaim, restore, and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. See more photos of that dazzling night.

With your help, next year will be even better.

We’ll continue to push for high-quality development.

Riverlife works with planners, developers and property owners to help make new riverfront real estate projects top-notch with amenities everyone can enjoy. In 2017 we’ll also continue to support the City of Pittsburgh’s riverfront zoning updates that help maintain our city’s bustling, diverse waterfront uses.

We’ll fill missing links in the riverfront park system.

A long time in the making, the Mon Wharf Switchback ramp to connect the Smithfield Street Bridge to the Mon Wharf Landing is expected to begin construction in the spring. Riverlife and our partners are also advancing new riverfront connections at Grant Street, the Strip District and Point State Park.

We’ll work to keep Pittsburgh’s riverfronts vibrant.

Pop-ups, placemaking, activation…you may not use these words as often as we do, but you know fun when you see it! Riverlife is working on new initiatives that will continue to draw people to the riverfronts for art, events and new hangouts. We’re also working with property owners and authorities to create maintenance strategies that keep the riverfronts clean and safe.

Students strike a pose on the deck of the Gateway Clipper boat.

Photo by Maranie Rae