Connellsville, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has submitted a final report to the Community Foundation of Fayette County’s Fayette Community Growth Fund with concept design drawings of three local initiatives that are outgrowths of the community design workshop held a year ago as part of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative.
A design concept for the area between the Amtrak passenger-rail station and downtown was chosen as one of the focus sites after Amtrak indicated that it plans to build a new station because of increasing use of passenger-rail service.
Currently, the area around the train station is barren, unwelcoming and does not lead people from the train into the downtown, where businesses and other activity are located.
“Our drawings illustrate how the train station and adjacent area can invite visitors into the downtown, where they can spend money on their way to the Great Allegheny Passage or other destinations in the Laurel Highlands,” said Don Welsh, PEC President and CEO. “The idea is to create a landscaped plaza that invites people getting off the train into the community to eat, find lodging and spend time and money.”
The design-development drawings include a classier façade for the station; bike racks and a 550-foot passenger-loading platform to accommodate trail users; a civic plaza to beautify the gateway and direct visitors into the Downtown; infill development where new businesses could locate to serve train and local customers; and a scenic bridge treatment and overlook from the other side of the river.
PEC is working with the Trail Towns Program and the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority to encourage Amtrak to proceed with the improved train station and to bring about the beautification and functional aspects of the plan, such as the bike racks and plaza.
The CFFC Community Growth Fund grant enabled PEC to contract Studio Three of Muncie, Ind., to expand on the opportunities that came from the public design workshop or charrette a year ago. The charrette was supported in part with funding from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which created the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative. The initiative is working toward sustainable economies built through links between communities and natural resources such as Laurel Ridge and the Great Allegheny Passage.
In addition to the passenger-rail station, two other design concepts were developed through the grant.
Design development drawings were done for the former Youghiogheny Train Station, which houses a designer-glass retail outlet. The building will soon be offered for sale. The Trail Towns Program is using the drawings to attempt to attract a restaurant and possibly a culinary school to the station.
In addition, the design team provided four possible schemes for enhancing the streetscape consistent with Connellsville’s current character.
The design drawings are available at www.pecpa.org/Laurel_Highlands.
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The Fayette Community Growth Fund, a targeted investment of the Community Foundation of Fayette County, strategically supports and enhances community revitalization efforts in Fayette County. Pre-development funding is currently available to five communities including Brownsville, Connellsville, Ohiopyle, Point Marion and Uniontown. For more information, contact the Foundation Office at 724-437-8600 or visit the website athttp://www.cffayettepa.org/.