It's official: The deteriorating property with crumbling greenhouses along Bakerstown Road in Richland Township that was once owned by Pittsburgh Cut Flower is a blighted area.
The Richland Board of Supervisors made that pronouncement Wednesday night when it unanimously passed a resolution saying as much, opening the door for the nonprofit Allegheny Land Trust to apply for federal funds to improve the 180-acre property.
The land trust's mission is to conserve and steward lands in and around Allegheny County that support the scenic, recreational and environmental well being of local communities, according to its website.
The 10 acres of greenhouses that once supplied flowers to retailers across the country have evolved into dilapidated structures of broken glass and frames, with native trees poking out of the roofs. Disturbed asbestos used to insulate water pipes also creates an environmental challenge.
The Allegheny Land Trust's vision is to clean up the 10-acre brownfield portion of the land by tearing down the greenhouses and replacing them with a solar farm that could generate power for a small commercial area, which might be located on 20 acres across the street.
About 150 acres would be permanent green space.
The resolution passed Wednesday declares the Allegheny Land Trust as the official agency to administer development of the land, which authorizes it to ask for Community Development Block Grant funding to help implement a plan to elminate and prevent blight.
In addition, the Richland supervisors passed a second resolution that enables the township to apply for about $27,000 in grant money to tear down two structures on the former Pittsburgh Cut Flower property, explained Township Manager Dean Bastianini. Those structures are off West Fenn Drive, close to residential properties, he said.
Also, the township already has about $21,000 in funding approved to demolish three vacant structures on another part of the land, closer to the greenhouses.
The cost of tearing down the greenhouses is expected to be substantially higher than the $21,000 already approved because of hazardous materials—such as asbestos—that are in that portion.