In the wake of the June 20 flood that devastated parts of the South Hills, some businesses that had to close are back in operation.
“They reinvested, and they’re committed to staying in Bridgeville,” said Michael Tolmer, the borough’s council president. “We’re really happy with our local businesses and the way they stuck with us.”
He was among the speakers at South West Communities Chamber of Commerce’s recent Community Outlook 2019 event, which also featured administrators from Carnegie and Heidelberg boroughs, and Collier, Scott, South Fayette and Upper St. Clair townships.
In Bridgeville, severe flooding caused the closure of the Railyard Grill & Tap Room, which had replaced the former Tambellini’s restaurant at the corner of Railroad and Baldwin streets.
This year, the Railyard reopened, and a new establishment, Ragtop Bar and Grill moved into the building on McLaughlin Run Road that housed Shelby’s Station until it also closed following the flood.
Regarding commercial establishments along the borough’s “main drag,” Washington Avenue, Tolmer invited Community Outlook attendees to visit for Bridgeville Day on the Avenue, June 15.
“It’s a great opportunity for our businesses to showcase themselves,” he said. “We do sponsorships with the businesses there to allow them to be part of the community.”
South Fayette offers similar opportunities, according to township manager John Barrett.
“With the residential boom that we’ve seen in the township, we want to have ways to bring the township together to try to garner a sense of community,” he said. “And one way to do that is through things like Community Day and other special events, and offer sponsorship opportunities to the businesses to be part of this.”
Community Day is scheduled for Aug. 24 at Fairview Park, and applications are being taken for sponsors and vendors.
In the meantime, South Fayette continues to grow, with more new residential developments in the pipeline and plenty of commercial space available. Barrett complimented Andrea Iglar, the township’s director of communications and community development, on her work to establish connections.
“She does a tremendous job of reaching out to businesses and trying to understand what their needs are and finding creative ways to partner with you,” he said.
Residential and commercial growth also is spreading in Collier.
“Since we were here last year, probably the most exciting commercial development we’re looking at is bringing a Sheetz in on Route 50,” township manager Kyle Thauvette said, with accompanying improvements to the road near its intersection with Interstate 79. “If you travel that any time of day, you know there’s quite a bit of congestion.”
Also coming to the township, according to Thauvette, is the Millvale-based Grist House Craft Brewery, bringing its canning and bottling facilities.
“We’re probably still a year or two out from them officially opening, but we’re excited that type of regional and national attraction coming into our community,” he said.
In Upper St. Clair, the limited area for commercial development still allows for new business opportunities.
“Very often, we’re dealing with redevelopment of commercial space as opposed to new development,” assistant township manager Mark Mansfield said, explaining the community development office assists with business-related efforts. “We have recently worked with a couple of different groups to expand the definitions within the zoning districts to allow certain things to happen.”
On the horizon for the township – and for neighboring Bethel Park, in which part of the parcel is located – is Life Time Athletic, a 120,000-square-foot facility at South Hills Village to feature indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Renovations are planned at the mall for the former Sears space.
Among the coming attractions for Scott are some expansions. St. Clair Hospital is constructing the Dunlap Family Outpatient Center on property split between the township and Mt. Lebanon.
And Providence Point, a 32-acre senior living campus operated by Mt. Lebanon-based Baptist Homes, is adding apartments.
“Because they are a nonprofit, they do not have to submit the taxes to the local community,” township manager Denise Fitzgerald said. “However, to be good neighbors, they negotiated with the township and entered into a pilot agreement, where they will be submitting payment in lieu of taxes to the community for police, fire and things of that nature.”
In neighboring Heidelberg, some new businesses are on the way for vacant buildings on Route 50, and a borough landmark has bitten the dust: The former Heidelway bar and restaurant, the triangular building at Washington Street and Oak Way, was demolished in mid-May.
“They were able to take some things out to be donated to the borough so that we can have it on display in our community room,” borough manager Janice Adamski said. “But it definitely changed the look of that area.”