The pot of money to buy the former Pittsburgh Cut Flower property in Richland Township just got a whole lot bigger.
The Allegheny Land Trust—which is under contract to buy the 180-acre property on Bakerstown Road in Richland Township—announced this week that it is the recipient of a $509,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
ALT contracted with Legacy Landings LLC, the current owner, to buy the property for $1.4 million and already has raised thousands of dollars toward that goal.
The land trust plans to permanently protect more than 80 percent of the property, which is made up of ponds, streams, meadows and woodlands. About 30 acres will be used for a variety of economic development projects; initial plans included a solar farm.
"The project has a lot of momentum and enthusiasm from the community which will only be propelled by the announcement of this DCNR grant," ALT Executive Director Chris Beichner said.
"The Pittsburgh Cut Flower property has a rich and memorable history, and thanks to DCNR, we are one step closer to being a part of what we hope is a rich and rewarding future."
For 90 years, Pittsburgh Cut Flower produced millions of roses on the property, which were distributed throughout the East Coast. It sold the property decades ago.
The property fell into disrepair and was declared a blighted area in 2012 by the Richland Board of Supervisors.
Township Manager Dean Bastianini has been working closely with the Allegheny Land Trust.
"The award of the DCNR grant provides both a boost of energy and the luster of credence to Richland Township's partnership with ALT to transform this once thriving property, which today has fallen into blight and decay due to hard economic times and neglect, back into an asset which complements the surrounding properties and once again makes the community proud," Bastianini said.
Rep. Mike Turzai, R-28th Legislative District, said that acquiring the property fits "perfectly with our goals of conserving lands in Allegheny County for recreation and engaging communities, families and children."
"Through its grant program, DCNR helps communities realize their vision for protecting and enjoying their natural and cultural assets," DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said. "We are always pleased when our investment leverages local and private dollars to accomplish these goals."
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