There’s no denying it: Pittsburgh has got it going on. And I’m not talking about the Steelers.
Anyone who visits The City of Bridges these days encounters a vibrant, bustling city with tons of creative energy, strong local businesses and a powerful tourism scene.
The way the riverfront area is organized and smartly developed has a lot to do with why the city feels like a good place to be, whether you’re a local or a visitor.
Does our own fine city of Fairmont have this same feeling, of energy and human activity along it’s waterfront? No, it doesn’t. At least not yet.
For Pittsburgh, it wasn’t always like this. Even just a few short decades ago, Pittsburgh was doing a pretty good job of living up to the less generous moniker that many West Virginians used to describe the place.
Pittsburgh’s vast improvement was no accident.
The good news for us here in West Virginia is that we can learn from how they did it, and replicate what they did.
Riverlife is a nonprofit advocacy organization that has worked for the past 17 years to transform Pittsburgh’s riverfronts from industrial zones to thriving, mixed-use communities, complete with trails and riverfront parks.
On November 2, Riverlife and the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center hosted a workshop in Fairmont to support ongoing riverfront efforts in Marion County, such as the Palatine Park upgrades, and to help locals identifying sticking points or road blocks for individual projects where Riverlife’s past experiences with planning, fundraising, and implementation can help.
They also introduced folks to the new Pennsylvania Waterfront Tax Credit, which could be a good model for West Virginia to emulate in order to stimulate better waterfront development.
If you’re interested in learning more, email Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center Redevelopment Specialist Kate Greene at email@example.com.