Ribbon Cutting of the Charleroi Magic City Riverfront Park on June 22, 2022
Charleroi, PA, June 22, 2022 – The Mon Valley Alliance Foundation is pleased to announce the completion of Phase I of the Charleroi “Magic City” Riverfront Park. This project was made possible by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, along with the Washington County Commissioners, and Washington County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Promotion Agency.
Spurring the redevelopment from the start was a donation by the Charleroi Area School District of its former football stadium property to the Mon Valley Alliance. The approximate five-acre site, which at one time was a glass factory, was selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as a Brownfields to Playfields Pilot Project, providing a $157,250 grant as a result.
“DCNR is extremely pleased to support this project and its mission of taking a once blighted property and turning it into something the local and regional community can enjoy outdoor recreation,” DCNR Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh said. “As the statewide leader in outdoor recreation, we are always grateful to communities that look for unique and innovative ways to expand outdoor recreation opportunities of this nature. Thank you to all of the partners who have made this project possible and we look forward to seeing its lasting impact.”
The Washington County Local Share Account provided funding in the amount of $252,000 to demolish the former football stadium that has sat idle for the past couple of years. “The Charleroi Area School District played a major role at the beginning of the project as they rejected offers to purchase the parcel and instead voted in favor of a donation to the Alliance, without their support Phase I of this redevelopment would not be possible” said Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey-Vaughan.
Phase I of the redevelopment project designated one acre of the site for improvements to complement the adjacent public boat launch. The upgrades made to the one-acre parcel included revamping the existing boat launch for easier public access; expanded and repaving the parking lot; and installing landscaping, improved lighting and public safety cameras.
“Together, these affiliates worked to remove an abandoned riverfront property, creating an area where people can enjoy recreational activities on the river while supporting the conservation of our waterways. This project will serve as a starting point for further redevelopment within the Borough of Charleroi” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi.
The project received unprecedented multi-municipal support from Fallowfield Township, and the Boroughs of Charleroi, North Charleroi, Speers, and Twilight in 2018 to begin the project. “I applaud the multi-municipal cooperation utilized in this project. Most of the activities affecting citizens do not follow municipal boundaries -- a variety of issues, needs, and economic development projects transcend municipal boundaries” said Washington County Commissioner Nick Sherman. “Also, having this cooperation, makes seeking funding more realistic and affordable for funding entities because it benefits a larger group of municipalities and residents. Multi-municipal teamwork for Charleroi Renaissance Phase 1 was true ‘Magic.’”
The Washington County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Promotion Agency provided a $10,000 grant that aims to attract visitors from outside of Washington County to participate in the local economy. “Tourism in Washington County is an over $700 million a year business and employees over 6,000 people in our area. It is a major economic driver. However, tourism is also personal as it is based on individual interests and hobbies. That is what makes this project important. Whether it is a family fishing trip to the riverfront, using the improved boat launch facility, or welcoming kayak enthusiasts from a neighboring county, Charleroi and the Mon Valley now have a destination asset that will benefit the local economy as well as individual interests,” stated Jeff Kotula, President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Promotion Agency.
The Borough of Charleroi has accepted ownership of the newly developed 1-acre site from the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation, “This project is living proof of the power of partnerships and collaboration. I envision this phase of project completion serving as a catalyst for additional and bigger community and economic development projects in the future as recreation is a key component to improving upon the quality of life and healthy living. As we continue to build upon our existing assets, Charleroi is well positioned to thrive in the Mon Valley and serve as a regional destination in the future. And to think, we are just getting started,” states Matt Staniszewski, Charleroi Manager and Chief Operating Officer.
The Mon Valley Alliance Foundation’s Board of Directors contributed $35,408 toward the project and provided project management throughout. “The Foundation is pleased to provide financial and administrative support for this project through the continued support of the Mon Valley from Governor Tom Wolf, State Senator Camera Bartolotta, State Representative Bud Cook, Washington County Commissioners Diana Irey-Vaughan, Larry Maggi, and Nick Sherman, and all the local officials have made a difference in leading the progress in Charleroi,” said Jamie Colecchi, CEO of Mon Valley Alliance Foundation. “As Phase I of this project is now complete, the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation will continue its partnership with the Borough of Charleroi and the Charleroi Community Park Trustees to explore the best possible use for the remaining 4-acre parcel for Phase 2”, said Colecchi.
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More about the Mon Valley Alliance and Mon Valley Alliance Foundation:
The Mon Valley Alliance and Mon Valley Alliance Foundation were formed in 2016, with the merger of the Mon Valley Progress Council and the Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association. Its mission is to bridge our industrial foundation to a future of economic growth in the Mid-Mon Valley region. The MVA is a Certified Economic Development Organization and is dedicated to improving the economy in the Middle-Monongahela Valley of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Through the Mon Valley Alliance Foundation, it provides grant funding and research, municipal support, and program leadership.
For Additional information:
Mon Valley Alliance / Mon Valley Alliance Foundation (724) 565-5641 firstname.lastname@example.org