For the first time in Etna's +150 year history, Etna has a public space on the Allegheny River. The Etna Riverfront Trail and Park officially opened on October 22nd, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured speeches from state, regional and local officials. The history of the site and its journey to becoming a park was given by its biggest champion: Etna Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage. She highlighted the long and often arduous journey from turning what was once an industrial brownfield into a beautiful green oasis along the Allegheny. The success in creating the park was truly a collaboration between a large number of organizations, officials and community members that began less than ten years ago! Mary Ellen recounted the harrowing tale of taking on the railroad to get the public right of way to cross the train tracks, and thanked the numerous funders who helped to bring the park to life. The result is a wonderful space to enjoy and reconnect with the river.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony wrapped up, a celebration was underway for neighbors to enjoy the new park. Jazz singer Kea Michaels serenaded attendees who took in the park's features, including back-lit artwork, a stage, pavilion, rain gardens, educational signage and more. Food and beer vendors D & L Handcrafted Deli, Smoke’d and Grist House, were on hand as residents enjoyed views of the river from the trail that will eventually connect to the Three River Heritage trail and connect Pittsburgh to Erie. This is just the first of many events that will help Etna to redefine what it means to be a River Town.
If you were unable to attend the grand opening, be sure to make the trek down to the park, which is located under the 62nd Street Bridge. (You can follow the newly installed orange "Riverfront Route" signs to navigate your way.) At the park you can take in the educational signage created by the Western Pennsylvania Audubon Society and the perforated steel artwork that tells the story of Etna's history along the riverfront, created by Environmental Planning and Design, who also designed the park. If you go on a sunny day, you will be dazzled by the sunlight hitting the water as you take it in from the elevated viewpoint. Bring a friend, pack a snack, and stay a while as you reconnect to your riverfront!