Pittsburgh, October 7, 2016 — State Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) today served as master of ribbon cutting ceremonies as officials and community leaders marked the opening of the new connector streets in the city’s lower Hill District.
“Reconstructing these streets (Element 1 of the project) that were once vibrant arteries to the Hill District will help spark a new wave of investment and development in the community,” Fontana said. “I am pleased to have played a role in acquiring financial support for this promising effort.”
Element I of the Lower Hill Infrastructure Project includes a new Fullerton Street that connects Bedford Avenue to Centre Avenue, and a new portion of Wylie Avenue joining new Fullerton Street to Crawford Street. During urban renewal of the 1950s, construction crews tore out all of the streets on the 28-acre Civic Arena site. This infrastructure project is aimed at reconstructing those streets to provide modern, walkable streets with sidewalks to reconnect the Hill District to downtown Pittsburgh.
Fontana, who chairs the city’s Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA), said $11.5 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding and $1 million of Transportation Alternatives Program dollars were dedicated to Element 1.
He said that Element II roadway construction is now underway, and will provide a new Logan Street connecting Bedford to Centre Avenue; Wylie Avenue continuing to the new Logan Street; and a new intersection at Logan Street and Centre Avenue. Fontana said work on this second phase is expected to finish by next summer.
Fontana took part in negotiations that led to the development project. He credited numerous partners for working cooperatively to “make the project happen.” In addition to state support, he credited the US Department of Transportation, county and city officials, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Lower Hill Working Group.
“There was a time when the Hill District was a cultural and entertainment hub,” Fontana said. “I am confident this revitalization infrastructure work will open up that historic and scenic neighborhood to the kind of diverse economic investment that has helped downtown Pittsburgh flourish.”
The Brookline lawmaker said the new street grid creates mixed-use development parcels that are expected to include 606,000 square-feet of office space, over 254,000 square-feet of commercial space, a 150-room hotel, 1,191 residential units, and 2.8 acres of public green open space and. He said private investment is estimated at over $379 million in the project, creating jobs and spurring additional interest and development.
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