A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, according to Shakespeare.
But a rose at this Friday's homecoming activities at Pine-Richland High School will be called a donation that goes toward buying the former Pittsburgh Cut Flower property and transforming it from an eyesore into a solar farm and green space.
Allegheny Land Trust volunteers will sell roses outside Pine-Richland Stadium when the Pine-Richland Rams take on Kiski. Festivities start with a 6:30 p.m float procession; the game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
The roses will be sold in batches of 1, 3 and 6.
In its heyday, Pittsburgh Cut Flower grew millions of roses at the 180-property on Bakerstown Road (Red Belt) in Richland Township.
Back in the 1980s, Pittsburgh Cut Flower was "one of the country's largest rose growers, producing about 5.5 million rose blossoms a year from 250,000 bushes," according to a 1985 Los Angeles Times article that quoted then-manager Steve Slatton as saying cheaper foreign imports were hurting American flower businesses.
Pittsburgh Cut Flower purchased the Richland property in 1901 and operated there until 1990. It has been in business for more than a century and still has locations in Pittsburgh's Strip District and Erie.
The property was sold and Allegheny Land Trust has a contract to buy the land at 4136 Bakerstown Road on the northwestern part of Richland Township for $1.4 million. The land is owned by Florida-based Legacy Landings LLC.
The Allegheny Land Trust's vision is to clean up the 10-acre brownfield portion of the land by tearing down the dilapidated 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.
This type of project is new to Allegheny Land Trust, explained Land Protection Director Roy Kraynyk, because the trust usually works to conserve and act as a steward for pristine properties.
Since it was incorporated in 1993, the trust has conserved about 1,500 acres in Allegheny and Washington counties.