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Landmarks Funds Land-Use Study: Preservation Seeds Take Root

by Jack Miller, CFRE , Director of Planned Giving
March 1, 2009

 A Landmarks funded land-use study conducted by LaQuatra Bonci in 2003 has played a key role is preserving 161 acres of farmland at the Boys Home complex in South Fayette Township.

The Boys Home, located on Battle Ridge Road, housed troubled youth and orphans until it closed in 1972.  The property was left vacant until purchased by the Township in 1987.  In 2003, the Township approached Landmarks for recommendations on how to cost-effectively develop more than 200 acres of farmland while maintaining its rural character.  Under our Farm Preservation Program, we looked upon this opportunity as uniquely valuable.

Landmarks appointed LaQuatra Bonci, Pittsburgh landscape designers, and Landmarks Design Associates, architects, and worked a number of months and had several community meetings to ensure that the outcome would address the residents’ priorities. 

The resulting study recommended preservation of the farmland and open space.  This February, the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board approved the Allegheny County Agricultural Land Preservation Program purchasing the development rights to 161 acres of Boys Home acres for $1.5 million, assuring that the land will continue to be farmed or left untouched in perpetuity.  Another 57 acres will be developed as a park.

The Township and Landmarks’ Rural Preservation Program, using funds from a Richard King Mellon Foundation grant, split the $50,000 cost for the land-use study. 

“This is a major accomplishment by this municipality in preserving open space and letting some of its current uses continue, said Landmarks President Arthur P. Ziegler. “We were pleased to be able to assist in the effort and hope that other local governments follow South Fayette Township’s lead.”

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633