PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The site of the old Rave Cinemas in McCandless Township will go back being a green space after a deal was struck with the the Allegheny Land Trust.

The site includes 33 acres, 4.6 of which was purchased earlier this year by the Port Authority to expand its Park and Ride.

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Once Cinemark opened with its digital movie offerings down the road at the McCandless Crossing development, the clock started ticking on the old Showcase Cinema property, eventually taken over by Rave Cinemas.

There was talk months ago about possible retail or residential use of the land. The township says it put out some feelers, but not much ever came of it.

“The yield wasn’t really that great cause a lot of the property, virtually all of the property, is in floodplain,” said Tobias Cordek, McCandless town manager. “Some of its wetlands; but by and large, in fact by the latest FEMA maps, that’s the Federal Emergency Management Agency maps, the entire property is floodplain.”

So, the township negotiated a sales agreement with the Allegheny Land Trust to turn the property into a park, returning the land to the wetlands it once was.

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“The plan is to put the property back into a natural condition, create a wetlands park, which is a pretty unique opportunity for us. Even though it is in a commercial-type of zone along a busy corridor like McKnight Road, it still presents a great opportunity for better flood control for the immediate neighbor which is the town, just downstream, and neighbor’s further downstream,” said Cordek.

Meantime, the Port Authority has already begun the process of purchasing the acreage for the Park and Ride lot, leaving about 300 spaces for commuters intact.

A public hearing on the proposed deal for the nearly 27 acres is scheduled for next Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at the McCandless Town Hall.

The final sale requires the approval of the Allegheny Land Trust Board and the McCandless Town Council.

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