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October 06, 2010

Council Considers Renzie Park Expansion

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Renziehausen Park could grow by more than 10 percent under a plan submitted to city council by Mayor Jim Brewster.

Under an ordinance to be considered tonight, the city would annex to Renzie the so-called "Palkovitz property" along Eden Park Boulevard, keeping the 27-acre parcel rural but extending the park's existing walking and fitness trail.

"This is a dead piece of property that isn't being used for anything," Brewster said Tuesday. "Why would we not take advantage of it?"

. . .

A portion of the property was to be used for a new elementary school, but that plan was tabled by McKeesport Area School District while the school board considers other locations.

The property, formerly owned by the Palkovitz family and once used as a trash dump, was taken over by the city in 2009. City, school and county taxes had not been paid on the parcel for "at least 25 years," City Solicitor J. Jason Elash said.

Expanding Renzie would not preclude the city from setting aside the part of the property for a school, if the plans are resurrected, city officials said.

. . .

The expansion also would not prevent the city from leasing the mineral rights to drilling companies trying to access natural gas in the Marcellus shale deep underground.

More than 30 individual pieces of property --- many of them donated to the city --- make up Renzie's existing 205-acres. Drilling was forbidden in those parts by the donors in covenants written into the deeds, Elash said.

No such covenant is attached to the deed for the Palkovitz site.

. . .

If the parcel is added to Renzie, Brewster envisions extending the Charles D. Lickert Memorial Nature and Fitness Trail through the area.

At a council work session Tuesday, Councilman Darryl Segina questioned whether the city should be expanding the trail when existing portions need repair.

"There are parts of that trail right now that people can't walk side-by-side through because of the weeds," Segina said.

. . .

Segina also asked whether people would be willing to walk a trail through property that's wooded and undeveloped.

"Parts of that trail frankly would be kind of desolate --- spooky --- and I'm not sure people would want to walk down there by themselves, especially women," he said.

Brewster suggested a more rustic trail would appeal to a different audience --- namely younger people --- than the existing fitness trail, which passes through the improved and developed portions of Renzie. He pointed to the trails that criss-cross Pittsburgh's Schenley Park as an example.

. . .

"I agree that we need to fix and maintain the current trail," Brewster said. Expanding the trail wouldn't need to happen right away, he said, and could wait five years or more.

But, the mayor said, the Palkovitz property presents an opportunity to improve Renzie, which he called "an important asset," at little cost.

Council is expected to vote on the proposal at 7 p.m. tonight during its regular meeting in the Public Safety Building, 201 Lysle Blvd. at Market Street.

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Feedback on “Council Considers Renzie Park Expansion”

I certainly would not walk up there. Even with two people. The world isnt what it used to. 30 years ago there were flashers up in the woods and red dog path. We need an ice skating pond or some type of recreation center. A place for families to go. A place to feed the ducks. Oh wait, there are ducks there and didnt even die.
Kula - October 06, 2010

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