By John Shumway

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Riverlife is looking for ideas of what to do with the area under the Fort Duquesne Bridge downtown.

It wants to turn the walkway between Point State Park and the Cultural District into something special.

With the Allegheny River lapping at its side, the section of the wharf under the Fort Duquesne Bridge and its ramps is a critical link for life along the south shore of the Allegheny.

“You have this beautiful section of trail along the cultural district and you then have beautiful Point State Park,” says Stephan Bontrager of the Riverlife Task force.

But to get from the Point to the convention center, Bontrager says tourist must, “pass through this very unloved section underneath the Fort Duquesne Bridge.”

“It’s always felt a little bit creepy,” Bontrager said. “There are a lot of blind corners. It’s felt a little bit remote. It’s dark.”

Gary Adams fishes on the wharf all the time and says the solution is easy.

“Put some color on the walls, it’s drab!” he said.

Gary says you would be surprised how many world visitors come down this path every year, not to mention the locals.

“Put some color down here and put a bait store down here,” he said. “Yeah, bring some people down here so they can enjoy the North Shore.”

“It could be a bait shop, it could be a public art destination,” says Bontrager. “It could have furnishings.”

Bontrager says there is no limit to the ideas.

“Well, the sky is the limit for this space,” she said.

In its search for ideas, the Riverlife Task Force is calling on designers, or teams, to send in their qualifications, samples of previous work and a bit about themselves.

“We want people to explore this space and make it their own,” Bontrager said.

The initial submission of identify and qualifications is noon Friday, Dec. 1.

In January, three finalists will get $5,000 each to finalize their plan. The winning plan will be chosen in February, and the designer allotted $60,000 to have the plan constructed in place by June of next year.

Bontrager says by next summer, “We want it to look loved. We want it to look cool.We want it to look wild and crazy. We want it to be a destination where people come and snap that selfie.”

Submissions should be directed online to: riverlifepgh.org/request-qualifications-temporary-installation-tbd-ft-duquesne-bridge/

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