Duquesne and EACC team up on Cedar Avenue project


When community groups face off with corporations on neighborhood issues, it can end in hostility, argument and sometimes even lawsuits.

But that wasn’t the case in a recent agreement reached by Duquesne Light and the East Allegheny Community Council who found a compromise that served Duquesne Lights technical needs and assisted with the development of Cedar Avenue in Historic Deutschtown.

The East Allegheny Community Council received an $80,000 grant from Duquesne Light to help improve Historic Deutschtown’s Cedar Avenue and rehab two adjacent homes that will be made into a single family residence and will also include a small cooling station near powerlines.

“We’re really happy that both sides and all stakeholders got something positive out of this,” said Duquesne Light spokesperson, Joey Vallarian. “It was a nice donation to help them with the renovation.”

“This is the biggest [grant] we’ve ever received,” said EACC Treasurer, Ed Graf.

When it was announced several years ago that Duquesne Light needed to put in a cooling station somewhere along Cedar Avenue, they originally proposed Allegheny Commons Park.

The state of the art valve control station is part of Duquesne Light’s program to upgrade its transmission lines throughout the city of Pittsburgh.

“We were somewhat concerned to hear it was going into the neighborhood, but we have two engineers on the council who looked over it all,” said Ed Graf, who said electric lines will be nowhere near the device and the oil that it will be cooling is just mineral oil.

When parks organizations and the community showed concern, a compromise, that came to fruition this month, was made between EACC and Duquesne.

Duquesne bought two homes at 726 and 728 Cedar Avenue that were built sometime in the 1840s along to rennovate into a single home that could house one family and cooling system.

The pump will take up a 20 foot by 20 foot space on the property of the rehabbed homes where an unused garage once stood.

Graf said that as well as bringing new residents onto Cedar Ave., the project will help improve the appearance of the street, which has been an ongoing goal of the EACC.

He said much work on the project has been done by private enterprise and homeowners and businesses who have independently improved their street, which sits blocks away from Allegheny General Hospital.

Property sales on the street have been improving, and Graf mentioned that a bed and breakfast would soon be coming to the street.

Graf anticipates that the home will sell quickly, and that several buyers have already shown interest because the property is across the street from the park.

“We’re kind of getting along the way to our dream, which is to make [Cedar Avenue] look like Central Park properties in New York,” said Graf.

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